Just walking: ATF (addicted to freedom) on the AT

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 19:
Showered, got around and went to the Pizza Buffet for lunch. Stopped by a library and bought the "Two Towers" cause they didn't have the Hobbit. I got a phone in the mail and hiked a short 4.5 miles to the shelter with and overfull stomach.
While hanging a bear bag I threw a rock up in a tree and had it bounce off the tree and come right back and graze off my head...fun times. Gonna get it going tomorrow. Strength rather than sitting alone in a shelter I might just keep walking. But in the short term, I am pretty sure Erwin has a movie theater and I have been waiting to see something for about a month now, I also heard there is a Pizza Buffet, and the hostel I plan to stay at tomorrow has 40 cents Snickers to go along with internet and a shower so I can stop smelling myself.
Gonna call it a night early and try to wake up early. My Ipod is dead so I have no clock, but it doesn't matter to much out here.

Day 20:
Hiking with a pack of people right now but I think I am going to gety ahead of all 7 of them tonight. I hiked 13 miles and I am at the shelter that they plan to stay at, but I feel that it is time to move on and I can make it the next 9.7 miles to the next shelter today. I might get in kinda late though. I'm just ready to speed up a little.
Over a 22 mile day! Longest ever.Got into the shelter just before it started getting dark. Gonna cook up some rice, read, and see if by some miracle I have a phone signal.

Day 21:
13 miles over the 6,000 foot mountain to the barn shelter. Stopped at a scenic overlook to eat a chocolate raspberry Luna bar thats made for women, but is so damn good.
Had a scenic and relaxing afternoon. When I got over Foam Mountain I hit a large 5,800 foot bald with amazing views. I took it slow and soaked it up. Then walked on, I passed 2 kids out of high school doing a couple day hike, then walked the last bit to the over mountain shelter which is an old barn made int a shelter between 2 mountains with an amazing view. Unfortunately, it is filled with boy scouts who are a little bit overwhelming. But there is a nice grassy spot next to it where I can sleep under the star with the mountain view in front of my, awesome spot. An owl just flew over me. Really cool.
So beautiful sleeping in the open. Another guy showed up and is camping out here too. the stars tonight and the sunrise tomorrow should be great.

Day 22: 
Had to get in the barn in the middle of the night cause rain was blowing towards us and my bad was covered in dew. How to score bacon on the trail...find five boy scouts with 25 strips of bacon. When they start arguing about how to divide is up, suggest a third party to resolve the conflict. :)
Another beautiful morning. Walking along balds, this is a  great spot for short term hikers.
    Being with the boy scouts made me remember long ago when I was a young scout. We had a backpacking trip as well, but all it was was a three mile hike to the campsite, then a three mile hike back out a couple days alter. After doing that I swore never to go backpacking again. I've come a long way. My head's been going places I just don't want it to be..Gonna throw on the headphones and continue. Got a phone signal at the road. Wipe the hell out of my battery, but I got through just before it died. 
    Hard day physically and mentally but I made it the 18 miles ad devoured a Snickers at the end of it. I'm realizing that I am pushing myself a it too hard. 15 miles to Hampton TN. tomorrow, then I will regroup. 
    Hit a waterfall at mile 16. That was fantastic. I never ended up watching a movie in Erwin so that craving has gotten even stronger.I just want to sit around with a big bowl of popcorn and an energy drink and watch two movies back to back, but reading the Lord of the Rings will be nice too. I left NC for good, just about to the 400 mile mark. 

Day 23:
Challenged again today, but made it to Kincora. Stayed with a nice guy at the shelter last night. College guy. Kincona is very homey feeling and has through hikers photos all over the walls. It is paid by donation and is just a nice place. I rad a book about PCT and can't wait to try that out. Plus got  a lot of general hiking knowledge from it, there's always more to learn. Buying food tomorrow, then probably heading out and feeling refreshed.

Day 24: 
Spent the morning and early afternoon at Kincora, relaxing and reading old backpacker mags and filling up with food. About to head out not at 2:00 to Wataga lake. 
    Met the vegan version of me which truthfully is not that similar, but were kind of alike. He was camping for a couple of days by  waterfall
    I bought a little bit too much food. Struggling with thoughts some about the fact that I'm not through hiking. So what I'm doing doesn't mean much. Others being the want for a girlfriend and a moderately normal life. Also worried about what I will do when I get off the trail. I'm just over thinking. I am trying to slowly push these thoughts out of my head and just walk. 
    Doing better, thinking about looking for jobs online soon. 10 miles in and just got to Wataga lake and it's beautiful...like really not what I was expecting. About to go for a swim. This is quite a treat! Who would have thought there would be a beautiful lake in TN, who would have thought TN is beautiful at all...guess I have a lot to see in the world.

Day 25:
Some people who just walked a mile in on the trail are complaining about the bugs and we just  well,complaining. I've been chilling here with no shirt for 12 hours and I'm fine. Just some morning entertainment. Got a late start again, been chilling all morning. Vander Bender has a beautiful view, but I heard water is a pain in the ass to get to and I'm almost out so I'm not sure what to do. A thunderstorm is about to blow by so I guess I got some time. 
    Just found out a couple of names I was following in the hikers log died a few weeks ago in the falls I just passed...yesterday. :'(
    I can't stop eating. At least 1,000 calories in this sitting. I think I started to get over it at about 1,200. Still hasn't started raining but there si a lot of thunder. Maybe I shoudl move on. 
    Walking in pouring rain and steps on a stick that came up and wacked mein the fae. I am lucky. Made it to the shleter cold, wet and along. Gonna coom up some ramen then read. HOLY CRAP I SUT SAW MY FIRST BEAR! I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and I thought someone was walking up to the shelter I was laying in, but when I looked up I went into complete shock for a couple seconds. There was a young black bear probably a little under 4 feet on all fours standing 10 feet away from me. It had come up behin the shelter and hadn't noticed me yet. After the few seconds of shock, I did what everybody says to do and yelled at it. It bolted about 50 feetbefore turning around to look at me, so Iyelled at it again, making it flee for good. I feel kind of beast that I just scared off a bear that was ight next to me. I kinda wish I took a picture, but I quess my instincts are to do the smart thing and that makes me feel safer.
I guess I wil be hanging a bear bag tonight...I wasn't planning on it. I think I will pee in front of the shelter too. Cool experience. I still want to eat!!! Maybe I should have hunted the ber. that would have filled me up. 
Somebody left a bag full of camp food here. It's gonna add a couple pounds to my bag for the next 30 miles, but its at least $10.00 worth of food so I think its worth the weight. :) Pop-tarts (strawberry flavored), oatmeal, Ramen and rice dinners. A gift bag. :)Or I could just feast! 

Day 26:
A big storm that scared the crap out of me rolled in around 3AM I was so glad I was in a shelter. In fact, I don't even know why I carry a tent, I don't even think about camping just shelters. I dreamt about trees falling down. Having a hard time getting the motivation to leave. It seems kind of pointless cause I'm not headed anywhere, but I'll get over it.Almost ready.
The first part of my walk today my mind has been stuck on what i will do when I get off the trail.I can't say exactly when that is, but it is coming up. I am almost 100% sure that I am going to try to move to the southwest following this. When I get on a computer next, I'm going to look up seasonal jobs, but I have been thinking today that I could be alright with a job as a waiter.  I will make a bit more then I have in the past, and it probably doesn't sound too bad right now because I am craving that social interaction. I am not sure exactly how it will all work out, but I'm going to make it happen. I just need a way to get on my feet when I get there. The I will buy a motorcycle!The trail went through a farm field and I had to move 20 cows out of my way and walk through their poop. With all the water last night, parts of the trail are rivers.
A couple of songs that keep popping up on my ipod are about heros. When I was a kind and the teacher asked me to write about my hero I never had one. I have been thinking about how this effected me and wondering if I do all I do because I hope to be the hero to some other kid in the future, or maybe because I have no hero's footsteps to follow, so I am creating my own path. All I know is not having somebody or something like a hero in my life affected me in some way. 
Somebody hiked in to talk to! I'm surprised people are hiking so late. Bugs sucked last night!

Day 27:
10 miles flat hike into Damascus Virginia. I hurried down the trail knowing I was close to some R and R and internet, and maybe a big burger in town. I had my ipod in one ear and was jamming when a loud crack caught my attention. Two baby cubs had just noticed me. One was starting to dart away while the other was frozen. I was freaked out a little thinking that with the cuteness of the cubs comes and angry mother, so I yelled and the little bear that as still there climbed p a tree to hide. I watched it for a second not sure what to do, then yelled again. It scurried down and ran way. 
I killed a jar of peanut butter in less then tree days!Got all set up to relax, then realized I was at some crappy emergency shelter a mile before the real one. It sucks so much here that I am not actually mad that I need to go further. 
Did 16 miles on ultra flat terrain, still a ton of walking, but no that hard on the body. My body feels pretty good actually. No aches and pains. Just a little chaffing cause I'm dirty. I feel in shape, my stomach skin is sagging so I've lost weight and I can just see the outline of my abs. I haven't pushed very hard the last 4 or so days, but I might change that after Damascus. 
It's my last night in TN and I had a big red bead and rice burrito dinner. And now some apple cider to celebrate. My pack definitely feels heavier with so much food, but it's good stuff! Gonna sit down and read till it gets dark. Then call it a night so I can wake up early and spend more time in town. Maybe a burger? Three nights alone in a row only seen three hikers in the past three days. Definitely an empty spot. Hope that changes soon!
Song of the day

Simple man- Shinedown
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Sheila LaRock on

Glad to hear you are ok...keep them bears away from ya...

dharmony3 on

Great Writer you are! We get to experience the landscape the weather the emotions and thoughts and the Burger Craves, too

sixpack on

Have you seen any Civil War battle fields on your trek? A lot of soldiers lost their lives in the woods and mountains your hiking on. Those Union and Confederate soldiers are happy for you!

trackingdj on

Not on the trail so far, i think they are alittle further north still. I am now visiting my uncle in Lynchburg though and while here i have gone to the house where robert e lee surrendered to grant thus starting the end of the civil war

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