Off and…

18 Sep

…well, shuffling. We did 51 miles in 35 hours. We are so proud of this!
After a zero mile day and wee too much wine on our zero mile night we decided to ease back into hiking with an easy 12 mile stretch and then sleep at a shelter. It was super nice because we were basically car camping. During the day we swapped off carrying a small pack with two Gatorade bottles and a water filter plus a few snacks inside. When we walked up to sleep at the shelter we only had to worry about our food for the night and the morning plus our sleeping necessities. Our packs weighed nothing! So after a warm meal of beans and rice we were off
to bed early in preparation for our two big days.
The first of the big days we were able to run most of the first 9 miles. The trail was friendly and soft. Unfortunately, after our big climb the terrain got too rocky and sporadic to bother with running, so we set a brisk pace walking. We arrived at the meet-up to eat lunch with Scott and to drop Bear off for the afternoon. We also met a couple of other SOBO thru-hikers! This was nice for we don’t get to see too many people on the trail and we were able to provide some trail magic from the car! Our new friends enjoyed ice cold Gatorade, potato chips, and peanut M&M’S. It felt great to be able to give something back to the trail.
After lunch we set out to finish the day. We felt good as we charged the rest of the hike. We did another 9 miles to the next meeting point and decided to call it a day at 23 miles. We set up at a nearby state park and enjoyed a picnic table to cook dinner on and flush toilets in a heated bathroom. Bliss.
Our original goal, as always, was to get up and on the trail earlier than the previous day. This never fails to seem like an impossible task come six in the morning. Our support crew, also known as Scott and Bear, took it upon themselves and made us a wonderful breakfast of oatmeal and pumpkin spice lattes. Perfect morning fuel for two long distance hikers.
After eating and enjoying the heated bathroom for changing clothes we were off to the trailhead. We had a much longer day ahead of us and were not planning on running so we decided to use our trekking poles to help us keep up the pace. We were doing just over 14 miles to lunch and then 14 after. With our late start we set a fast pace and held it without too much difficulty. We had both been fighting head colds so it was nice to have the poles to help propel us up the smaller hills.
At lunch we set a timer and were up and out of the lot 45 minutes after sitting down. Scott had gone to get us a Green Machine smoothie for us to drink at lunch. He knew we both were fighting colds and that we both needed the nutrients and the vitamin C. He also got awesome skull sippy cups for us to drink out of and to lift our spirits. It was perfect!
Bear stayed with Scott for the second half and we took off down the trail. The afternoon greeted us with nice trails and scenic views. Our terrain was a flat profile on a ridge line spattered with rocks and small boulders. We were thankful that we had decided on using the poles since our legs were starting to feel tired. With about six miles left in the day we came across Sunset pond. A very pretty glacial pond/lake. Sunset pond also marked our gradual six mile descent to the PA border. Our eighth state!
With just over three miles left Scott met us with Bear to help pace us to the end of our day. We needed it too! Having them there really helped us get through the last mile and a half which was a road walk over a very busy bridge on the interstate. It was super stressful. The traffic is deafening coming out of the woods and the speed of the traffic is quite scary. But, on that bridge we crossed into PA and at the other side we finished our longest day ever. 28.4 miles.
We are quite thankful for our support from Scott over the last few days. It was great to be able to give Bear some afternoons off from the faster pace, and to be able to walk without full weight. Without having to carry the extra weight of our full packs we were able to prove to our bodies and our minds that we are capable of doing higher mileage days. This is both good and bad news…now it is time to start upping the mileage!!

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One Response to “Off and…”

  1. southside November 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    You two are awesome, just found your website and read and read all with a huge smile on my face. Sorry to hear that you had to get off the trail but the photos told a story of a true friendship that not may people have. May is right around the corner and your adventure will continue. Give Bear a hug for me, he is one good trail dog………..southside

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