Chimney Rocks to Birch Run Shelters
Miles Hiked: 18.4
AT Milage: 1094.3
Last night I slept okay, except from 12-3am I was awake. It’s better than a lot of other nights I’ve had on the trail. I started getting ready at 6:20 and left camp at 7:15 after doing all my stretches. My feet were feeling good and the terrain was nice minus the rocks so I was hiking pretty fast. I ended up making it to Caledonia State Park right at 10am. I was very motivated to get there because I heard they had a pool. Usually I would have stopped after the first two hours but I continued hiking one more hour so I could have an extra long break. Doing nine+ miles in under three hours really paid off because the pool was amazing. The water was a perfect temperature and there was an awesome water slide that I ended up going down 20 times. Yes, I counted 20 times. I was honestly pretty exhausted by the end of it. Flamingo and I calculated that if the slide was 30 feet tall, I did an extra 600 feet of elevation gain today. While I was swimming I ordered a salad and french fries to be delivered from a local pizza place with another hiker named Long Shadow. I didn’t leave the pool until 2pm, but before I did, I took advantage of the showers. It was such an awesome break to take in the middle of the day and I was so happy about the water slide.
After leaving the state park, I hiked uphill almost the rest of the day. I was moving a lot slower just because I was hot and exhausted. My feet started hurting so I sat down to take a break before I even hiked two hours. On my break I almost fell asleep, from being so tired so I got up and started moving again. It took me four hours to hike the last 8-9 miles with a bunch of small breaks. I tried not to get frustrated that I had to keep stopping to rest my feet for a tiny bit. I feel so strong, but my feet are holding me back so much. I arrived at the shelter at 6pm and Flamingo and I had it to ourselves tonight. There were bunk beds inside the shelter which were really cool so we each took one on opposite sides. Flamingo helped me do a pack shakedown as promised, but I didn’t actually remove that many items. Everything I’m carrying seems like I absolutely need it or I use it so much that is justifiable that I carry. I still felt better about the items that I am carrying. I haven’t analyzed everything in my pack since I started. Maybe my back won’t hurt tomorrow, but probably not.
I’m so excited to eat ice cream tomorrow and pass the halfway point. Flamingo thinks he can eat his half gallon of ice cream in five minutes. I definitely don’t think he can, so we made a bet that he can’t finish it in ten minutes. The winner gets a Gatorade. He wants to see if there is a record to break. Me on the other hand loves ice cream way too much to eat it that fast. I usually eat it pretty slow to begin with so I plan to take at least an hour.