July 20th 2018
Hemlock Springs campsite – RPH Shelter (mile 1430.1)
23.1 miles
Total miles: 1450.7

It was so hot last night it was difficult to sleep. None of us had hung our food because there were 3 dogs around camp and dogs seem to be a pretty good deterrent. About 1:30am the dogs kicked off. Lots of barking, and I thought, it’s ok the dogs have got this, I’ll go back to sleep. One of the others said they stayed awake worrying! 

So we were all fine and nothing came and snatched our food from our tents. But at 5am, and a couple of times in the night, the train came through blaring its horn. The train was down below the Hudson bridge but we had only hiked about 2 miles away from it and most of it was uphill. The 5am one woke me up and that was it. I was awake. 

I lay restless until 5:30am and then I started to pack up. No point being restless in my tent when only 3.5 miles away is a deli that’s open 24/7 365. So I’m off at 6am and only Pony Boy has shown any signs of movement and is out of his tent. 


The walk wasn’t hard but it was already hot, or it never cooled down, and I was sweating already. I noticed that with every step it felt like someone was pushing on my legs where I had fallen over yesterday. The bruising was appearing. I also noticed that I had strained muscles in my inner right thigh and right butt cheek and right arm. It was a little uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t call it pain. 


The light was beautiful on the way down. I should get more early mornings in. I made it to the Appalachian market before 7:30am and I got a breakfast sandwich. An egg and cheese with a hash brown and some tommy k in a roll. This might be my new favourite breakfast item. The addition of the hash brown is what transforms it. And the bread, the bread continues to get better and better. 


I was going to sit on the picnic bench but they were all soaking wet so I sat on the ground outside instead and looked a lot like a homeless person. The others eventually joined me and got themselves breakfast things. I went to the toilet. It’s a great toilet. There is a tv in there and it was playing the weather. So I sat and watched. Nice for today and tomorrow and then rain for the next 5 days. Bummer. 

I got some resupply, a bag of chips, some Twix and candy and some breakfast bars. And I got a chicken Philly cheesesteak roll to go. 

At 9am I hiked on and the others soon caught me up. I stood aside to let them go by and resigned myself to a day on my own. But I’m not sure what happened after that. I was keeping up with them and I found myself hiking behind Shred and then all the others were behind me, aside from Bryce who walked fast ahead. 

We hiked together for the next 14 miles, walking in a tight line and having to reform the order if someone had to stop. We talked the whole way there and we ended up playing a movie game for over half of the distance. Name an actor, say a number and you have to as a group come up with that many films that actor has been in. Simple but really makes your brain think and sparks conversations about movies and all sorts of stuff. 

So as a result I didn’t take any pictures, other than the one of Shred which was my view for the whole day, or much video. I just walked with people, which was nice. And it was nice, especially after the way I was feeling about being in a group yesterday, but I couldn’t hike like this everyday. I also feel like Shred slowed his pace down a lot to accommodate me because I was finding the pace quite pleasurable and I know he can really shift if he wants to. I don’t feel like I missed much by not taking that many photos. It was a day of being in the trees. 


We stopped for lunch around 12 and Professor had caught up and he brought with him a guy called Hamster. He was just out for the day but he enjoyed getting involved in the movie game and hiked with us to the lake. I intended to eat half my roll now and save some for later but it was so delicious I had to eat the whole thing. 


The lake was our first goal and after hiking a little side trail we got there at 3:30pm. I had really enjoyed the hike there and the conversation and the games and the company. At the lake it was hot and there was a huge beach. There were a fair amount of people there too. Bryce and Pony Boy were already there. 


We went to the concession stand and some of the group got burgers and fries but I wasn’t that hungry so just got an ice cream sandwich. I was unsure about whether I wanted to go in the lake but I found myself feeling exhausted and nearly falling asleep at the picnic table so I decided to go in and wake myself up. 

I hate these situations. Where I have to walk around in public in my tatty knickers and sports bra. I don’t have a lot of body confidence. There are lots of things I don’t like and I tend to try and shrink in on myself to hide it. I should be so proud of my body. It has carried me nearly 9000 miles on foot. My body is incredible. And yet the media tells me I should be ashamed because I have hair growing in places my body naturally produces hair. But I’m not ‘beach body ready’ and I feel self conscious. Especially next to Peaches and Jukebox who are really thin and toned. Plus I have some residual chafe marks and stupid tan lines! The chafe is so much better and I benefited massively from having a shower and being able to wash my clothes. It was definitely the build up of salt causing the problem. At the end of the day, no one is looking at me and I should care less even if they do. But I still feel self conscious. 


I got in the lake but only up to the bottom of my sports bra. I didn’t want to deal with it being wet. The others went off to play some volleyball. It was too hot for me and I haven’t played volleyball for about 20 years so I sat it out. They would have had an uneven number with me anyway. The people they were playing with were really nice and when they left the guy, Kevin, left us a bag full of cold sodas and fruit. That soda was so good.


We eventually hiked on after 2.5 hours at the lake. We remained in formation, and Bryce hiked on ahead. We chatted again and it made the time pass by more quickly. The trail has been much easier today than it was yesterday and the uphills were short and not often so I was able to keep up. 

The shelter we got to is small but there was lots of room for tents. We had been chatting about this during the day and seeing as the shelter is next to a road, the pizza place and the Chinese place will deliver. We got over excited about the Chinese food. I got over excited, I’m not even a big fan of Chinese food. I somehow managed to order chicken and broccoli with rice. 

While we were waiting for the delivery to arrive Pony Boy comes over and asks if we want to help him finish the pizza. I take one slice and that would have been enough for me, I really didn’t need that chinese. I eat as much as I can and I appreciate the amount of broccoli they give you, I left about 4 spoons of rice but I ate everything else and now I feel too full and really stuffed. I have to stop eating so much and I need to stop spending so much money. This part of the trail is costing a fortune!! 


Now it’s 10:20pm and I can barely keep my eyes open and I feel so thirsty I could drink a gallon of Gatorade. 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 73