Day 43: Hurricane Mtn Shelter to Partnership Shelter

Today’s mileage: 19.7
Total mileage: 530.6

I think today is one for the record books. We didn’t put in our longest day yet. We didn’t hit any big milestones today. And no, not even a touch of trail magic. But, I didn’t have a single problem with my knees or my feet! This may seem trivial, but for me, it’s a huge deal. I can’t remember a day out here when a blister wasn’t nagging me, my knee wasn’t in pain, or my feet weren’t killing me. None of the above apply to my hike today and I can only hope there are more of those days ahead. Although my body decided I can’t get off too easy and so I had a headache the entire day instead. Oh well. I’ll take what I can get.

We didn’t start until after 9:30, but we made really good time today. I’m actually surprised at how quick we were hiking. We were doing about 3 miles per hour today, bounding down hills and propelling ourselves up mountains. I was shocked when we got to the next shelter 9 miles away in 3 hours flat. We’re not trying to be super speed hikers out here, but I was really feeling it today and with my feet and knees feeling good, I was on a hiker high. I think back to our first 19 mile day in the Smokies a few weeks ago and I remember how much my feet hurt and how tired and sore I was at the end of the day. Today, 19.7 miles felt like an average day. Granted, the terrain and elevation gain and loss weren’t bad at all, but the fact that I’m calling 20 mile days “average” is still bizarre to me. I had never hiked more than 18 in one day before the AT and that was only one time when I was 16 years old. It’s strange how your perspective can change so quickly. In only a matter of weeks. I think it’s also a testament to how amazing the human body is at physical adaptation. We are all more physically capable than we think we are; it just takes a little time to adapt.

For the first time today, I noticed that the trees were starting to bud. As we walked into a field midway through the day, we came upon crisp green grass and budding trees everywhere you looked. It was beautiful. Walking along the ridge line later, we looked down upon lush, green valleys dotted with farms and small houses. The weather was warm, but not too hot and patches of grass and small wildflowers lined the trail. Spring is most definitely here.

We made it to the shelter around 5 where we met up with some other hikers we had seen before. The shelter here is really nice. A double level structure with windows, a shower, and a sink. There’s also an indoor privy and a clothesline. This rivals the Fontana Hilton for sure. I forgot to mention before that we met Tincup, a hiker who works at the mill in Bucksport! Steve is his real name and he found us in Damascus and had heard from some people at the mill that there was a couple from Bucksport also thru-hiking. He’s a great guy and it’s funny to hear that we know some of the same people. He even ordered a couple of pizzas for all of us to share for dinner tonight! Did I mention that Pizza Hut delivers to the visitor’s center here? Amazing. It was so nice of him and we enjoyed talking about home.

We also met a SOBO hiker here tonight who started in late September and hiked through the winter. He said he enjoyed the solitude. I think his solitude is over now however as he will encounter a lot of hikers as he heads south. He said he’s met about 100 NOBO thru-hikers ahead of us. I’m really surprised there aren’t more than that.

We’re in the top level of the shelter and we could hear the older guys on the bottom saying that us younger hikers only care about the miles and don’t enjoy our hike and take our time to enjoy what we’re seeing everyday out here. Miles and I could only laugh. We may do some longer days out here, but I know in our case, we most certainly have stopped to enjoy it all. From cutting our day short to camp on beautiful Cheoah Bald to stargaze, extending our lunch break to hang out with ponies, and gazing upon the magnificence of the snow-covered Smokies from Wesser Bald. We laughed only because their statement was simply false.

16 thoughts on “Day 43: Hurricane Mtn Shelter to Partnership Shelter

  1. ya know, those “older guys” are just envious because you are “younger guys”?! someday, you’ll see how it is, you young-whippersnappers, you! 🙂

  2. We had a motto from Damascus to Katahdin, 10 by 10, 10 miles by 10 A.M. I just can’t figure how people would get the Virginia blues. It is magnificent. You guys rock.

  3. I can relate with those “older guys.” I have met a number young hikers who were “all about the miles.” I feel for them. They were missing out. But then I realized that us old farts can also be guilty of missing out as well but with us it’s all about the next step. We can fall into the rut of lowering our head and plowing on and end up seeing nothing but the path right in front of us.

    So keep on soaking in the scenery and the glory all around you. Enjoy the journey!

    I’m glad to hear that your knee is feeling better. Did the stretches I mention help?

  4. Hello, this is Caroline in Saratoga Spring, NY. Miles taught my son how to play baseball last summer. Please tell him Everett just hit a game tying double.

    Loving your blog.

    Safe travels!

    Caroline

  5. So glad you guys are doing well! We were getting worried about you! Great stories of the ponies…Grayson Highlands is one of our favorite places on the AT! You are are doing great!! Be safe and happy hiking!

  6. isn’t it Virginia where people get going too far too fast and injure themselves? I thought that is what you or someone said. I know you 2 are taking it all in. Not believing the old guys about that one.

  7. Your blog is amazing! I feel like I’ve been watching a series on netflix though, I read through your entire blog on this rainy afternoon. Now I have to wait on the next episode. I’m planning on doing a thru hike next year, like you did last year I’m reading as many blogs as I can. Keep up the great work and enjoy yourselves!

    1. Thank you! I got really hooked on a few blogs and trail journals last year and it was really fun to follow their journey through the entire summer. And super helpful for the planning process. When they finished their thru-hike, it was like reading a book or watching a movie: a happy ending for all.

  8. That is unreal that you met a guy from Bucksport, Steve aka tincup. Do you know what his last name is? My favorite tree in Virginia was the dogwood tree, and I had a ring with the blossom on it done in silver. I hope you catch their beauty in the mountains. Don’t get lost again, LCG!!!! Your 2 packages will be waiting for you in Pearisburg.

    Love you both,

    Mom

    1. His last name is Moser (or Mosher?) sounds like a cool ring. Do you still have it? Got our packages. Thanks for all of the goodies; especially the cookies!

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