One problem I seem to have with zero days is insomnia. I was up till 3am on the last one. Currently, I am camped out at the only public computer in this hotel, on my third cup of hot tea (self-serve mind you) but it’s bugging the hell out of the lady at the front desk. I’ve yielded my spot to anyone who needs the machine, but it’s safe to say I’m the only hiker still up in this place.
Internet access is beautiful! Just being able to purchase EXACTLY what I need, and having it shipped ahead, versus being at the mercy of local shops is huge. I missed a mail drop at the NOC, because for some reason I thought I sent it farther north. That’s okay. I’m going to try to get in touch with them tomorrow and have it bounced to Standing Bear Farm.
Fontana Village is a strange and beautiful place, consisting of the lodge, a couple of restaurants, and a general store with a laundromat. I had to resupply out of the general store, and while I’m glad I can get what I need here, the prices were so high I feel a complimentary bottle of lube would best complete that shopping experience…
My diet for the next seven days will consist of Snickers, Payday bars, Fig Newtons, Nutter Butters, Knorr Sides, a couple of freeze-dried backpacking meals, and danishes with a whopping 450 calories each. Sour cream and onion chips, pretzels, and oatmeal packets round out my extremely healthy, and balanced meal plan.
I’m mailing a bunch of stuff home tomorrow. In hiker boxes (a place to leave items you don’t want that other people might be able to use) I’ve ditched a few things. The case for my glasses was the first thing to go. At nearly six ounces it had to go. I only wear contacts in town, when my hands are clean, so they are on my face all the time anyway. At night, they go into a pocket in my tent. I also ditched my Inova flashlight, and a small pair of nail trimmers (my Leatherman Squirt does the job fine).
Tomorrow I’m mailing home the 10oz Nikon camera I’ve used twice, which cannot sync with my phone anyway. Uploading pictures off of it is too much of a chore. In addition I’m sending home my compass (GASP!) because it’s the AT. You can go one of two directions, and you figure out pretty quickly which one is North(ish). I’m ditching my mirror, my Sawyer filter (the bags suck, Aquamira all the way man!) and the back flush syringe for it. I picked up a nice Sea to Summit cup ditched on the trail, so I’m sending that home too. One pair of liner socks, my StickPic, and an emergency fire kit are going as well. Total weight, somewhere around one to one and a half pounds. That’s an extra day’s worth of food. I can’t eat my camera.
I’ve purchased some things as well. I bought a micro flashlight that weighs less than an ounce to replace the heavy Inova. I bought a 1-liter Platypus bottle, Aquamira drops, and a Sea to Summit 20 liter daypack for town stops/hauling water to camp. That day pack is a total luxury item, but at 2.4oz it folds down to a third the size of my fist. It’s a winner. I also caved and bought a pack cover… Yeah.
I’m toying with the idea of having a bokken shipped to me so I can practice Eishin Ryu on the trail. Spending time with my teacher after Maine is on my mind a lot. I’d really love to have access to my Iaito, but it’s really not practical and would probably freak people out anyway. Bokken are light and easy to carry. I compare it to the many musical instruments people take on the trail.
I met a guy named Greg (Flannel Heart) who teaches Kung Fu. He does his drills religiously before bed every night. I’d really like to do some suburi every morning, just to start the day a little more focused.
You meet really cool people out here. Some hike faster, some hike slower. You have to enjoy your time with them while you have it, because we’re all going our own pace. Going your own pace, and being okay with it is a huge challenge out here. We’re two weeks in and already people are obsessing over trying 20’s. Many have done multiple twenty-mile days, but really, to what end? It’s so difficult to leave the rat-race mindset and ego behind. Neither seem to have any place out here.
That’s it for this ramble. Maybe one more cup of tea before bed.