Date: March 24, 2012
Day number: 12
Wake info: 0701h @ Microtel Inn in Franklin, NC
Start Mile Marker (MM) & Time of Day (TOD): 124.4 mile @ 0830h at Burningtown Gap
Pain scale AM (1-10): 2
Happiness scale AM (1-10): 8
Hunger scale AM (1-10): 1
Start weather: Cold, breezy, wet, mostly cloudy at the start but sunny most of the morning, 50s.
End MM & TOD: 137.3 mile @ 1702h at Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC)
Approximate miles covered today: 13.5 miles (extra miles to water, shelter, views)
Pain scale PM (1-10): 3
Happiness scale PM (1-10): 9
Hunger scale PM (1-10): 2
End weather: mostly sunny but the last hour was in a soaking rain.
Resting time: 2:20
Where slept: Bed @ the Fontana Village Lodge
Money spent: $0 (thanks, Dad!)
Trail conditions: In the morning, the Trail was muddy in places, but mostly dry. Lots of roots and a good amount of rocks all day. Very muddy, of course, during the rain. Around the Jumpoff the Trail became very rugged with massive boulders requiring careful, slow navigation, often employing hand-holds.
Shoe conditions: In good shape. Stayed dry even after an hour of steady rain!
Liters of water consumed: 10 Liters
Approx fuel burn time: 0 minutes
Approx. pack weight: 14 lbs
Number of river fords: 0
Number of paved road X-ings: 1 (NC 1365 @ Tellico Gap)
Number of road miles: 0
Number of named mountain summits: 3
Number of wrong turns: 1. This one cost me less than 10 minutes time and 0.2 miles.
Number of times I stubbed a toe: 6
Number of times I've fallen: 0. But I almost busted it twice today! Very slippery.
Number of bugs swallowed: 0
Songs playing in my head:
- Good Day Sunshine - The Beatles
- Rockin' Down the Highway ? - Three Doobie Brothers
- One ? - Three Dog Night
- Yellow Submarine - The Beatles
- Jet - Paul McCartney and Wings
- Singing In the Rain - gotta stay positive even in inclement weather!
Happenings at home: Archer's broken arm is healing; Josie is waiting on him hand and foot. (We're such lucky parents to have such sweet kids!)
Companions (TH for thru-hikers): Wolf, Super Wolf, and three other thru-hikers whose names I didn't catch.
Trail Magic: Dad and Beanie slacking me and putting me up in a hotel!
Flora: Spring is about to pop! Green leaves are beginning to show on trees at the lower elevations. However, something is also killing a large number of deciduous trees of all varieties in this section of the Trail. Moss and lichen seem to be strangling entire mountains worth of trees. Pretty depressing.
Fauna: Throughout journey I keep hearing a deep, barely audible, low frequency sound that vibrates the ground with a "whomp, whomp, whom, wh, wh, wh, wh," and I'd sure like for someone out there to tell me what it is. It sounds like something is banging the ground, like a jackrabbit. The sound is too deep to be a woodpecker.
Vistas: Great views today from Copper Ridge Bald, Rocky Bald, and especially from the observation tower at Wesser Bald. I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but I actually Skyped with Archer from atop the Wesser Bald observation tower; I just wanted someone else to experience it with me! (I hope the video below plays!)
Attractions: All the vistas above and finishing at the NOC.
State of body: Despite the long descents today I'm feeling pretty good. Of course, having a light pack helps!
State of mind: I'm feeling really positive. Happy to be able to spend time with Dad and Beanie.
Lessons learned/confirmed today:
- Every day brings pain and sore muscles. But every morning I'm feeling better and ready to go again. This pattern is not abnormal.
- Massaging the feet and sore, stiff muscles really aids the healing process.
- Today's descents were excruciating. I thought the one from Rocky Bald to Telico Gap was bad enough, but the last 5 miles (from the Jump Off to the NOC) was wicked! Imagine walking down one continuous flight of stairs for 2.5 hours. Then imagine that every so often 6 or 7 steps are removed and you have to clamber down. Then imagine that every so often there are no steps but rather a slick, smooth incline of rocks and dirt and leaves. Oh, add to that an hour of a good, soaking rain. That is what the end of my day was like.
- The signature dessert of ice cream, granola, cranberries, caramel, and chocolate at the Riverside Restaurant is a must have treat!
Droid Phone Notes: Nothing of note here; recharging every night in the hotel room.