I’ve been trying to beat the Trail the last few days and she is winning. She always wins. In all of the AT books that I’ve read this is the most common theme. If you try to push through fatigue and hard days you will end up with nothing but injuries and burnout. We’ve had some pretty tough sections and weather recently so it’s time to take the advice and slow down. Don’t try to beat the trail but cuddle up and learn to be softer.
I didn’t just come up with this wisdom on my own. The Trail beat it out of me on this vicious climb that she threw on us right out of camp this morning. It was at the top of this beast that we started to get all philosophical about slowing down and enjoying the experience. It turned out to be a fantastic day to do it too.
After our big climb, the Trail opened up to a series of beautiful rolling fields on private land. We only had 12 short miles today so we decided to take an extra long break in a sunny field. I ate a big lunch, made a cup of coffee and enjoyed gazing across the field. I was finally thawing out and it felt amazing. When the Trail is good it’s real good.
A few miles after lunch we came across the 300 year old Keffer Oak tree. It is the oldest oak on the southern AT and she is a beauty. It has grown up in this sweet little protected valley and looks strong as ever. Ironically, 300 years ago there was a deadly pandemic of bubonic plague. It started in Marseille and was later called “The Great Plague of Marseille.” Resarchers estimated the number of deaths as 100,000. That depressing tid bit just popped up on Google.
After the Keffer, we had a hard climb onto the ridge line and then it was just a short distance to our campsite. We walked slow today and it felt great to be in camp early with plenty of time to get organized and really relax. It’s great to have so much time in camp to mess around planning our next few days of hiking and building a camp fire.
We just have one problem. We are dangerously low on Sour Patch kids so now we are down to ration sizes to get us to Daleville. Do you remember that scene from Airplane 2 when the flight attendant tells the passengers that they are out of coffee? YouTube it now. Funny, right? Yeah, that’s what we are trying to avoid. We can totally manage snow, ice, vertical climbs and all that but don’t ask to hike without Sour Patch Kids.