Day 34: On the Trail Again…

Day 34

Erwin, TN to random stealth camping spot

Miles Hiked: 1.8

AT Milage: 346.1

This morning I woke up at my house extremely tired from the night before. I was so slow getting all of my belongings together for the trail. We didn’t leave our house until 11am for the 7 hour drive back to Tennessee. I had to pack my backpack, pick out new food, shower, and run some errands like getting more cash.

My boyfriend drove my sister and I back to the trail the whole way! He was so patient with our many stops including one to Walmart so I could get shoe insoles. I bought some plantar fasciitis Dr. Schools shoe inserts for $12. I just wanted to try them out to see if they would help with my aching feet. I don’t think the trail running shoe I am wearing has a very hard rock plate in it so I can feel the middle of my sole (the sorest part) slamming on each rock.

Two other new things I am carrying with me on the trail this time include a small fish eye clip on camera lense for my phone and a legless chair. The camera lense will help me capture more depth in my images and make them look cool. The legless chair will allow me to have a seat with back support. These two items are considered “luxury items” since they are something that is completely unnecessary to be carrying. The chair weighs a little over a pound, which is a lot for a luxury item. I am a bit skeptical about how long I will carry it. I keep comparing its weight to a one pound peanut butter jar I carried around one week as dead weight that I never used. It may sound crazy or funny to worry about the weight of a few ounces or extra pounds in a pack but everything adds up quickly. The lighter your pack the easier your body can handle it, but the less comfortable you will be due to lack of items that may enhance your back country camping experience. As a long distance backpacker it’s all about finding a balance between comfort and pack weight on the trail. What comforts are you willing to sacrifice to carry a lighter pack? What items are worth their weight? Typically if an item is not being used everyday it shouldn’t be carried. The more uses a single item has, the more valuable it is to carry. A saying used on the trail is “ounces turn in to pounds, and pounds turn in to pain”. Some items I removed from my pack this week are my fleece pullover, pillow, hat, gloves, and back flushing syringe for my water filter. Sending home cold weather clothes is always risky. I’m hoping it is the right time! The last night I spent on the trail is the night my sister was probably hypothermic. I believe I still have all the necessary gear to get me through a coldish night but if it’s too much to handle I will plan on hiking a farther distance to be in a town with a warm bed.

We finally arrived in Erwin, TN after 7. It was getting late so we only hiked 1.8 miles before it was dark. This is my boyfriend’s first time backpacking. He is just staying one night (tonight) before he drives back home. I’m so thankful he drove us all the way down here and did something that is completely out of his comfort zone!

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