So I am here at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), one of the cooler places I’ve seen. The trail runs right through it, so it’s a difficult place to avoid luckily. I’m taking my first zero day today to get some rest and some good food. Me and Tangy Booch Magoo (his name changed) sat at a bar here last night and ate a ton of food and some good beers. It was delicious. Today and tonight we’ll probably do more of the same.
The walking finally caught up to me. My lower calves down into my achilles tendons have been pretty sore and a little swollen the past four or so days. I was expecting the aches and pains to come, but they came a little later than I thought, and a bit more extreme than I had hoped for. So taking the day off today, I’m hoping will be a big help. The trail is physically much more difficult than I thought it would be. There are some points where it’s like walking up huge steps (or down, which is worse). I understand why they say you can’t train for it now. It’s not just walking, you’re actively trekking, picking where each and every footfall should land. It’s a bit like trail running, especially when you’re moving a little more quickly going downhill. It’s fun, but it is tough.
Two days ago, me and Tangy made a wrong turn on the trail. We wound up hiking about 2.5 miles on this other trail called the Bartram Trail. It was terrible. We should have known we were on the wrong one, but we kind of ignored the signs. Anyway, 2.5 miles out, and then 2.5 miles back made for a long and terrible day. It was pretty frustrating, but I knew I’d have to roll with some punches. It’s actually pretty funny because we’re staying in a building called the Bartram building now. I can’t get away from that guy.
Yesterday included the most intense point of the adventure so far. I was walking along, and about six inches to the left of me, I saw the rattler of a snake. Needless to say, I got a bit scared and took a few steps backwards immediately. The rattle snake was probably about two feet long. Tangy came up behind me, and we began to plot how we can get around this thing. It was just slithering up the trail. After a couple of minutes, the snake got angry and started rattling. It was intense! Eventually he kind of went up the side of the trail, and me and Tangy ran past. It was a bit scary, but they are really neat creatures.
The past five or so days since the last update have probably been the toughest for me so far, mostly due to the aches and pains. But there have been mostly awesome times so far. I camped next to a waterfall one night, I met a few other cool people, I got interviewed by some kid for his class, I’ve ate a lot of ibuprofen, I saw that snake, and I passed a couple of huge milestones. Firstly, I made it out of Georgia! And secondly, I made it into the triple digits of mileage atop Albert Mountain. I’m currently at about mile 137 or so. So it’s been awesome, I just hope my legs start feeling a little bit better! 🙂 Here’s me at the Georgia/North Carolina border.