Date: March 23, 2012
Day number: 11
Wake info: 0550h @ The Microtel Inn in Franklin, NC
Start Mile Marker (MM) & Time of Day (TOD): 109.8 mile @ 0815h at Winding Stair Gap (US 64)
Pain scale AM (1-10): 2
Happiness scale AM (1-10): 9
Hunger scale AM (1-10): 2
Start weather: Cloudy, wet, cool.
End MM & TOD: 124.4 mile @ 1648h at Burningtown Gap (NC 1397)
Approximate miles covered today: 14.6 miles
Pain scale PM (1-10): 3
Happiness scale PM (1-10): 7
Hunger scale PM (1-10): 4
End weather: Cool and wet.
Resting time: 1:45
Where slept: in a bed @ the Microtel Inn in Franklin, NC
Money spent: $0
Trail conditions: Wet and muddy, but not very rocky.
Shoe conditions: In good shape but without rain pants they got wet in the rain.
Liters of water consumed: 6 Liters
Approx fuel burn time: 0 minutes
Approx. pack weight: 13 lbs
Number of river fords: 0
Number of paved road X-ings: 1 (Wayah Road)
Number of road miles: 0
Number of named mountain summits: 2 (Siler and Wayah Balds)
Number of wrong turns: 0
Number of times I stubbed a toe: 7
Number of times I've fallen: 0, but almost did once!
Number of bugs swallowed: 0
Songs playing in my head:
- Put One Foot in Front if the Other - a song from the children's Christmas special, "A Year Without a Santa Claus". (I know I'm losing lots of cool-points here, but I gotta report the facts!
Happenings at home: I learned that Archer's hurt arm us, in fact, broken.
Companions (TH for thru-hikers): My brother, Gy, was my constant companion on today's hike; the miles just rolled by! I did see Applesauce, April Showers, and a number if others at the Wayah Bald Shelter taking shelter from the rain.
Trail Magic: Dad and Beanie slacking me and putting me up in a hotel!
Flora: Something is killing a large number of trees of all varieties along the Trail here. Moss and lichen growing on the trunks and branches seem to stooping the growth of the trees' leaves, which I assume is killing the trees. Very unsightly and depressing.
Fauna: More birds are visible and making more noise.
Vistas: The first part of the hike had some nice views of flowing streams and the mountains surrounding Franklin, NC. But the only thing I saw between Wayah Gap and Burningtown Gap (actually between Burningtown Gap and Wayah Gap since we were heading southbound then) were the heels of Gy's shoes because the heavy rain was preventing me from looking around. Actually the view and tower at Wayah Bald were neat.
Attractions: Wayah and Siler Balds
State of body: Feeling pretty good for my first day of slack-packing. Knees feel about the same as usual, however. Shoes got wet.
State of mind: Happy to have a hiking companion in Gy.
Lessons learned/confirmed today:
- I was starving last night when I got to the hotel and gorged on a steak dinner. This morning I took advantage of the hotel's breakfast buffet and ate a lot then, too. Now my stomach hurts and I'm bloated. The lesson: when your appetite kicks in sometime in Week 2, don't go food-crazy when you get to town, and it's best to avoid big slabs of meat!
- No rain, no Maine!
- When slack-packing, be sure to carry your pack cover!
- Slack-packing is when someone transports the bulk of your pack's contents ahead up the Trail. You hike with a much lighter pack, which is easier on the body and allows you to do more miles if you wish.
- Within the first few steps of today's hike, I had completed 5% of my thru-hike!
- I had a really good hike with my brother, Gy, today. He didn't slow me down (in fact, he wad moving to fast for me for a whiled) and never complained even though I know he was freezing in his rain-soaked jacket, tennis shoes, and cotton T-shirts.
- After my big meal of meat and potatoes I wasn't feeling great at the start of today's hike. I've never had indigestion or gas pain like this before (that wasn't due to hernia surgery). Gy forced me to lay down, after which I felt much better.
- Just as we got to Wayah Gap it started to rain pretty heavily. Moments later, Dad and Beanie pulled up with with a car full of Subway sandwiches and ionized water! Talk about Trail Magic! We put our packs in the back of the car, but I left my dirty hiking sticks propped on the side of the vehicle. As we were eating I suggested that we all drive to Burningtown Gap together to insure Dad's car could make it up the dirt road. So we promptly drove off without my hiking sticks. Thirty minutes later we arrive at Burningtown Gap (the road was fine) and I get another idea: why don't we hike southbound from Burningtown Gap to Wayah Gap . So we get out of the car and I realize the hiking poles are on the roadside pull-off where we ate lunch. Dad raced back and found the poles just where they had been before e'er drove away, no worse for the wear. (I do love the South!) And I actually had an okay hike without them. The downhills would have been easier with them, but I was fine without them.
- I gave Gy my rain pants and wide-brim rain hat to help ward of some of the rain. Consequently, my socks soon became saturated and the inside of my boots became damp. Thanks to Hydropel, my feet didn't become waterlogged and develop and blisters. My toes didn't even shrivel! That is some great stuff!
- Gy and I chatted the entire time about his job, comedians, movies, TV shows, and played Trivial Pursuit (Gy's made-up questions) for miles. I had a great time and it really made the long, wet miles fly by.
- Hiking southbound was interesting. Going against the grain we saw a ton of thru-hikers, some of my acquaintances looked perplexed as if they had been the ones going in the wrong direction. I liked how Gy quipped, "Well, Chris, now you can say you hiked the AT, uphill, both ways!"
Droid Phone Notes: Nothing of note here; recharging every night in the hotel room.