Quick Blog: caught up with some old friends, met some new ones. Crossed into North Carolina, climb my highest peak, crossed the 100 mile mark, had my longest hike. Got sick and hanging out in Franklin, NC. On a personal note…I am burning calories out here but I look chubby cheeked in my “self portraits” please note that I am using a fisheye wide angle lens! 🙂

3/7 – Day 11
Nice and sunny out today, good day to be back on the trail! Hiked the day with Brad and was trying to get my mountain legs back, being laid up in town for 2 days didn’t help. Planned a short day for today and made it to Plum Orchard Shelter around 2:30 and who do I find…Heart Rock, his dad and Tory (I had not seen her for about 5 days), her trail name is Heartburn. I also learned that Foodwalker and Tracey McG or up ahead at the next shelter! They are such an inspiration!

“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God…” Leviticus 19:32

Planning a 12.5 day tomorrow with a lot of climbing. The summits continue to get higher hitting 4500 feet tomorrow. I know that relative to the Rockies that is nothing but I’m climbing up and down about 3 or 4 of these a day. Note, that when I say “down” I don’t mean to 0…usually it is to a gap somewhere around 1500 to 2000 feet down from the summit.

I will also cross into North Carolina tomorrow…

3/8 – Day 12
Made my 12.5 today as planned and got into Standing Indian around 4:00 after a quick lunch break at Muskrat Creek shelter. I ran into Foodwalker and Tracey McG at lunch and they are plugging along! Along the trail I crossed into North Carolina and I finished the hike with City Slicka who hiked the trail SOBO and the yo-yo’d and is heading back to Maine. A girl named Jugs (not what you think) came in and set up a tent…she is young and did the PCT last year. Brad made it in and another dude named Jack.

The 4 miles from Muskrat to Standing Indian was really rough, there were rocks that ranged from the size of a fist to the size of a cooler, they were everywhere. It made hiking difficult and was rough on the feet! The weather was sunny and stayed around 45 degrees. We also saw what we are pretty sure were bear tracks (according to City Slicka).

3/9 – Day 13
Three things happened today: Longest day, 16.2 miles, most difficult and highest climb and 100 miles on the trail. I got a good start out of Standing Indian and had a decent climb, North Carolina believes in switchbacks so instead of going straight up and down a mountain you zig-zag up and down. The weather was great with temperatures in the high 50’s and sunny.

I was making pretty good time and hit Mt. Albert, which was pretty much straight up climbing 500 feet in less then 1/10 of a mile! There were places where I had to climb with my hands. I had already hiked 12 miles and was exhausted, it was a tough climb but God saw me through!

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:29 – 31

The view from the top (5250 feet) was well worth it. I had 4 miles left to go and God lighten my steps and I made really good time despite how worn out the climb had made me!

I met 3 guys hiking together: Cien, Footloose and Double Tap. They are fairly young and moving well. Made it to a brand new shelter called Long Branch, which is funny since there pretty much no branches to bear bag from and no bear cables!

There is an older guy here named Sunny, he is wayyy overpacked, carry about 50 pounds and going very slow…he actually got on the trail in December but had to drop off because it was too harsh.

Tomorrow I head into Franklin North Carolina to restock, do laundry and get a shower!

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

3/10 – Day 14
Woke up in the middle of the night feeling very dizzy and hot. I managed to get some more sleep then got up and hiked 4 miles to Rock Gap to catch a ride into Franklin NC. Now I’m just chillin’ at the Budget Inn watching my room spin every time I move! I got a text message from Agent D, he spent 2 days in Franklin drying out after getting stuck in the snow storm (that I sat out in Hiawassee).

3/11 – Day 15
Still at the Budget Inn, vertigo is better but not 100%. Went into town with the shuttle and got some meds (saw Foodwalker on the shuttle). My older brother did some research and also talked to my older sister and figured out it was probably a sinus issue putting pressure on my inner ear. Got some decongestant and anti vertigo meds and will take tomorrow off to make sure I’m not dizzy on the trail! So just hanging out with my buddy Brad again in another motel!