Our hiking group today went from four active hikers to two. After waking early and making us coffee, Joslyn drove us all to Washington State Monument. From there, I continued north with my friend while the other two shuttled back to Dahlgren campsite to spend two days, shuttling in and out to local tourists spots. There were plans to reconnect further up the trail to continue hiking.
My heart and soul belongs on the trail. I traveled to the Appalachian Trail expecting a difficult trail, despite the trail section being boasted as the easiest to moderately difficult part of the Appalachian Trail. There is a reason why people train physically and mentally for years to thru-hike. It is a mountain range and is to not be under estimated.
I did not have much of an appetite this morning and I actually had to force myself to eat. I started off with roasted chick peas and eventually beef jerky. Later on I had a Cliff bar and a Pop Tart. I honestly felt quite tired today.
We decided to adjust our schedule and lower our miles. The heat and humidity was quite draining. If I can be completely honest as well, I was becoming increasingly frustrated by what became of the group hike.
I have writen often about proper communication between group members when it comes to physical abilities, goals, and desires. I did a lot of research on the trail and knew it would kick my ass. Unfortunately, a group member had a pre-existing foot injury that I did not know about and was overall unprepared for what the Appalachian Trail hands out to hikers. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh but it is the reality of what transpired.
All that being said, I actually enjoyed the lower miles day with my friend. Ten miles a day on the prairies of Manitoba is very realistic but on a mountain range in the heat, the goal was too much. I believe that if the weather was cooler, we would have been able to keep close to our original goals.
The lower mile days allowed for more reading time in my hammock. In addition to no appetite and frustration, I was quite tired all day too. I fell asleep in my hammock for an hour and or so. My hammock turned out to be my favourite piece of gear and it will always accompany me on hikes from now on. Laying between trees and reading embodies so much of who I am as a hiker and camper.
My appetite returned for dinner and I obliterated dehydrated honey lime chicken and wild rice. I like most of the chicken and vegetarian backpacking meals I have tried. The beef ones weird me out so I didn’t bring any along.
I retired to my tent for an early night where I read for a while and video chatted with my husband and daughter. Throughout my trip, I texted my husband on breaks and always had a phone call or video chat at the end of the day. I chatted with a thru-hiker and he said the only state that had unreliable cell coverage so far was Virgina.
I drifted off to sleep, relieved that the day was over yet eager to begin a new one to see where my feet would take me.