A couple of things first…

Sorry for the lack of photos in day 5 and 6. I had a problem with WordPress when I was last in town. I’ll try and get it fixed ASAP.

Cell reception along the AT has been rubbish. I have just been 4 days with no connection at all. Now I am on weak WiFi and I’m not going to be able to do all the updates I was hoping to. I have so many videos I want to share but they are taking literally hours to upload. “Remaining time 52 hours.”

I’ve had so many lovely messages coming through but I just don’t have time to reply to everyone. I read them all so please keep them coming and I’m sorry if you don’t get a reply right away. If something is important then WhatsApp is best.

I am aware that my site might be loading really slowly. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about this while I’m on the trail.

There may be a delay in comms until I get to the next town and connect to some decent WiFi. For now I am half way through a family sized pizza and 2 sodas down after a very long day.

Thank you for your patience and understanding! On with the show…

May 15th 2018
Plumorchard Gap – Carter Gap shelter (mile 93.3)
19.8 miles
Total miles 102.1

There was no rain overnight, but I had zipped up my fly in anticipation of it. Therefore it was really warm in my tent last night. I lay on my back with my legs draped over the sides of my mat so I could feel some coolness from the ground, and I had my sleeping bag loosely over my body. I seem to be favouring lying on my back which is a bit unusual as I’m normally a side sleeper. I find it difficult to lie comfortably in any direction at the moment, when I’m on my back my heels are sore where they are resting against the mat. I wake up early. I set my alarm for 6am. I wake up at 5:58. I turn the alarm off so it doesn’t wake the others and close my eyes. When I wake up again it’s 6:30.

When I get out of my tent I see someone had left their bear canister right next to my tent (on the right) and Sniffles tent (on the left). The bear canister doesn’t belong to either of us. Pretty sure that’s not the point of a bear canister, just leave it by someone else’s tent! But we didn’t seem to have any bear visitors so we were ok.

I get packed up while everyone else is still in their tents and set off at 7:15. I’m not sure why I took so long this morning but there you go. I was excited to cross the state line and get my first state ticked off.

It was cold this morning but it was certainly cooler than it has been. There were some clouds and low temperature light wind. It was so much nicer than it has been. But of course with a climb straight away – to As Knob – I was really sweaty straight away. It was only about 4 miles to the state line, but it was quite up and down so I was a sweaty mess by the time I got there.

It felt really good and also really weird to be finishing a state so quickly, it takes months to get through California on the PCT, and this feels a bit like cheating anyway because you haven’t walked through a state, you’ve just walked a tiny bit of it. But it’s still a milestone.

I was there alone so I set up my tripod and got a picture of myself with my 7 day unwashed hair. I have no idea how some girls hike with their hair down around their faces. It annoys me so much. I rarely wear it down. If I was brave enough I would just get rid of it all, shave it all off. How easy that would be to look after. The biggest thing stopping me is probably the stigma that gets attached to it – people assume you’re ill.

Anyway, I shovelled down a twix bar in celebration, gathered up my things and set off into North Carolina. Today was a bit of a struggle because I had really bad wind (or gas as they call it out here) it was that kind you can feel bubbling up inside you and then it makes you feel sick when you smell it. You know there’s something wrong when your own farts make you feel a bit ill. I’m not sure what caused it. I have three likely suspects. The sour patch kids. The imitation Doritos. The cheesy bread.

At one point I was starting to feel a little nauseous with it and I was worried I may have picked up something gross, but I powered on through and the nausea disappeared and the farts continued.

I stopped at Muskrat Creek shelter for a spot of early lunch and then went on my way.

There was a bit of a brutal climb up to Sharp Top, it’s just mountain peak after mountain peak on this trail, and then the trail mellowed a lot and I was able to get a decent, consistent pace going. Today was the first day I didn’t see that many people. I passed a couple and then I saw a couple of guys at a trailhead. One of them offered me cold water but I declined and he told me that this is a much more normal temperature for this area at this time of year. The nice lady at the hostel yesterday told me that a couple of nights ago they recorded the highest nighttime temperature for the last 60 years or something like that, all to say – it was too hot!

As I climbed up and away from the dirt road I felt a drizzle of rain. Here we go! I waited until the drops were a bit fatter and I got my umbrella out. Finally I can put this to the test. It was still too warm for waterproofs but the temperature had taken a significant drop. It was on when you were moving but of you stopped your sweat made you cold. The umbrella worked a treat. It was a tiny shower and I made it to Standing Indian Shelter and took a break for second lunch and tweaked my umbrella set up a bit. I’ve moved it down a bit so the top of the umbrella is closer to my head. And I can now pull it from my pack with one hand so when it starts to rain I don’t have to take my pack off!

It rained quite heavily when I was in the shelter, and I amused myself by watching the little mouse running about, and I got moving again once the rain stopped. On my way out I saw the couple I passed earlier in the day. It was about 2pm and they were planning to stop there for the night. I warned them about the mice and they told me they hadn’t slept at all last night because they had bears sniffing around their tent. They could hear the bears snorts and he thought it was a bear with three cubs. That sounded terrifying. They said they kept still and silent because in the other tent was a couple with a tiny baby and they didn’t want to scare them. They packed up and left st first light. That sounds scary!

I carried on up the hill and it rained some more. I was so dry. I had a tiny bit of wet on my forearms but I rolled up my sleeves to my top didn’t get wet. My shoulders were completely dry and my shorts which I was expecting to get wet were dry too. This is great. It’s so nice not having water running down your head and rolling down your legs. I’m not sure why I have waited so long to join the umbrella club. The trees were mostly fine to pass and I was able to dip down a bit for some low hanging branches. There were only a couple of times a branch brushed against it.

The temperature varied between warm and muggy feeling, to a bit chilly where I was only warm enough if I kept moving. I may have been a bit premature in shipping back my waterproof trousers, but as long as the body is kept warm it’s ok. The trail became quite cruisy apart from a rocky section but it was a nice walk. The problem wind had even cleared up a bit.

I was able to put away the umbrella for the last 5 or so miles and I even saw the sun for a little bit which was nice. I aimed for a bigger day today, nearly 20 miles. By 18 miles I was really feeling it. I was feeling it in my feet especially. For the first time my heels and arches were hurting. I had to take a seat on a log and give them a rest for a few minutes. I ate some snacks, including some more sour patch kids, and the problem wind came back with a vengeance. I think it’s the sour patch kids.

I pushed myself to go on the last 2 miles and made it to the shelter. There were a whole bunch of people there, I said hello but none of them were that interested in speaking. There were a group of five which I assumed was a school outing of some kind with 4 teenagers and a grown up, but I later found out it was 2 dads and 4 adopted kids. They very much kept themselves to themselves. One other guy there was hiking a section and he was friendly. We hung our bear bags together, I probably wouldn’t have bothered had I been on my own. He said he was sleeping in the shelter and I decided to too because I had a feeling it was going to rain overnight and I didn’t want to pack away a went tent. I just hope there isn’t too much mouse activity.

I had to take a visit to the privy and I was in there a while. Things were a bit loose, and very gassy. I had to make that trip twice more. I’m hoping getting rid of it will make me feel better. Lucky for me it was a nice new non stinky privy! I got the sudocrem out for the first time this trip and used it to soothe my poor bottom which was a bit sore from all the passing of wind today.

I didn’t really bother with dinner as such. I just ate bread and chips, I wasn’t that hungry. It was still really early, it felt like about 9pm but it was only 7. I had to lie down. My whole legs were zinging and my feet were throbbing. I lay down with my heels hung off the end of the mat and remembered the cure for sore heels – hang them off the end of the mat.

It’s feeling a bit chilly tonight. I have full sleep clothes on and I’m fully in my bag. At about 8:30pm the rain came down and it’s pouring. Good decision not to pitch the tent.

Watch the YouTube movie!

So I’m trying this whole vlogging thing. Head over to YouTube to see today’s vlog

(there has been a delay in the vlogs because of crappy cell service and WiFi. Stay tuned! There are some crackers.)

Adventure with purpose.

785 million people globally don't have access to clean water. That's 1 in 10 people. In 2020 this is not ok.

I fundraise for Just a Drop in the hope that if I walk thousands of miles for clean water then the people who need to won’t have to. Find out more


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