Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Site Maintenance

Just a quick blurb about this whole process of blogging while on trail.

#1 Multiple Posts are uploaded on the same day. I'm trying to put date stamps, but they may out of order as they appear.

#2 Missing Posts are stupid. I've been getting very frustrated with the blogger platform losing some of my posts. I may go back someday and rewrite them based on memory.

#3 Its tough to keep this going some days. I apologize for shorter posts somedays, or the lack of pictures sometimes. I try my best to take at least one photo per day, and to write something even if its really short. This may not always work out, but im trying my best to be consistent.

#4 If there are typos, misspelled words, grammatical errors, or combinations of words that make absolutely no sense, I apologize for nothing. Feel free to point it out in the comments section to help me out. I'm sure you can figure out what I'm trying to say.

#5 Sorry for the inconsistencies in the site, pictures overhanging, or not completely filling up the element. I don't have the time right now to polish things up.

#6 I love everyone of you out there. Thanks for reading.


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A14 Fucking Hungry

Today was tough and it didn't need to be. It was a sixteen mile day to Kincora. The terrain was gradual. I made my goal with hours of daylight to spare.

I'm not hiking with anybody right now. I see familiar faces at the shelters, exchange a few words, and then spend the day alone on the trail.

I really miss Steph. I wish she was out here with me. It was such a tough decision to come out here. On days like today, I feel like I'm hiking just to do it, to say I've hiked the trail, but its without much enjoyment.

I need to get to Damascus just to break the routine. I need to start over and just say fuck it, stop trying to plan, and go with it. Enjoy the moments as they come.

I'm concerned about food out here, both what I have and what's to come. My food bag is dwindling and I have no money now to buy anything. I don't get to have the same excitement as other hikers. They run down the hills into town to buy pizzas and hamburgers. I can't manifest my desires. I have to wait for what just comes. I was so hungry today. Fucking hiking just starves you, and it would be so nice to come to town and gorge myself on whatever I can grab.

Right now I have a couple days of plain pasta and some lentils. Hopefully that will last the next three days until Damascus. I have a food drop coming from my friend Chris, so its not completely hopeless. My legitimate worry is that I'm going to eat a lot of food out of that box before I even hit the trail.

Its tough for me to watch hikers eating, even a simple package of crackers. Its like I have an impulse to just punch them and take their food. I'm moody right now, but I'm just hungry.

A20 Open Mic Round 2

Just three days after the last open mic, I threw another one. One of the big motivations for doing the 50mile death march, was so Turtle and I could put together another open mic for our group that just rolled into town.

So yet again, I spent another day walking all over town. It was maybe the 2nd best day of hiking on trail.

One cool little place I learned about was a cabin called Ruby's Rest. Its the best place to stay in Damascus. Its a one room cabin in someone's backyard. The price is very fair, and you're the only ones so you have the place to yourselves. Theres a treehouse, a chicken coop, a garden. Its a beautiful little place tucked back down a side street.

I stopped at Bobo McFarlane's, a restaurant that just opened a day or two ago. I asked the owner about the open mic and she got excited for a minute. The problem was, since they just opened they couldn't serve alcohol. She wanted to find us all a shuttle and pull the open mic fifteen miles to anothet restaurant they own. She said they could promote it on facebook. They could rig us up and pull in some othet musicians. It sounded super cool, but the shuttle wasn't going to work out.

We couldn't do it at Hey Joes again because it was closed on Mondays. I couldn't get gis phone number. And I was told he would probably want his day off.

We got permission to do it on the back porch of an inn called The Old Mill. It was a pretty cool venue because its right on the water. But they couldn't staff the event for us, so we had to behave ourselves and couldn't have alcohol.

Despite it being chilly, slightly rainy, bad acoustics, and no booze, we still had thirty people show up for the event. I'm really inspired by the camaraderie that comes together on these nights. And I do so very little to make it happen. I spark the idea, set a time, find a place and that's it. Everyone comes together to make it happen. Everyone promotes it. They might set up the chairs or clean up. Its really a communal effort to make theae nights happen.

And I love it.

A18/A19 50 Miles, No Sleep

Fidget and .com made a trail magic breakfast for myself, Burnout, Muddy Buddy, Fireproof and Animal. They gave those guys a 14 mile slack pack. And I got a ride back 50 mi. to Kincora.

I was very thankful that they offered a ride because I didn't know what I was going to do about that 50 mile stretch. I consuder skipping it because I've already done it. I thought I could maybe leave my stuff in Damascus and do a slackpack. But I was happy that I ended up going back and starting where I left off, still going north with all of my gear.

When I got back on trail, I was meeting all new faces. It felt weird. But I made a new friend at a shelter. Black Stag/Ethan/Ginger Christ started the trail without anything, no money, no gear. He's been piecing together his gear out of hiker boxes, using them also for food.

We connected possibly because we're close to doing the same style of hiking. We walked the first 9 miles together. At watuga lake, we stopped and had a meal. While we were sitting at a picnic table, Turtle and 45 got dropped off after going to town to eat gas station hot dogs. I was so excited to see them. And I met their new friend Atlas.

So the idea was thrown out to do a 50 mile day, having already gone 9, essentially walking through the night, not stopping until we got to Damascus. A loose agreement came together to actually go through with it.

So all five of us walked onward. We stopped at the dam and checked out the spillway. It was this real scary open pit thing that goes straight down to an abyss. The edge gradually sloped downward, so if you tried to hard to see the bottom you would just slip and fall to your death. It was cool, but creepy.

Sunset rolled into the adventure soon enough. We had enough energy to keep going so we just went with it.

And then there was night hiking. Ginger Christ almost ducked out at a shelter because he doesn't have a tent, not knowing if we would actually go through with this thing. We just took one stretch of trail at a time.

At 4 am, we took a much needed break. I zoned out while walking, I went the back of the group, slowed down, wanted to sleep so desparately. We stopped for a 1.5hr break. 45 and Atlas took naps; Turtle timed them and woke them up. We drank coffee. We ate a meal. I got in my sleeping bag to keep warm and really could of slept. I said, "I'm not trying to set any records." But I was awake when it was time to leave, so I kept hiking.

The comradery, the brotherhood, built up throughout the night, for a dumb and crazy reason perhaps. We felt awesome when the sun finally rose. We put our hands in and shouted, "Nike all Night," loud enough to wake anyone within five miles. But we still had a long way to go.

22 miles still to go, Atlas had to bail out because of wicked blisters. The rest of us were footsore and sleep deprived, but we felt we had passed a point of no return. If we passed out, we would essentially lose a day and not wake up.

In and out of weird mental states I hiked all day. Sometimes my brain simply felt foggy, I'd be talking to someone and I'd just blank out and forget what iwas trying to say.

Ginger Christ took off ahead of us. I got a little bit ahead of Turtle and 45, so I could take a nap and they could wake me.

I met a couple getting out of their truck. They weren't doing organized trail magic, but they gave me a bag full of food. The trail provides. I waited at the next shelter and we all split that bag of food. It was perfect, we needed to eat something, we didn't have to cook, we didn't have to think about it. It gave us a morale boost, much needed before the last ten miles in.

Making it to the home stretch, our last mental low came 7miles short of town. We were hiking through rain all day. And it just kept coming. We stopped, rigged a tarp, and took our last break. Turtle and 45 called some friends already in town. Knowing they were just in front of us gave us the excitement we needed to make the final stretch.

We stayed together until the Virginia border. Then we took each others hand, formed a line, and took one big step into the state of Virginia.

At that point, I pushed ahead. I was, hopefully, staying with Fidget and .com for the night. I didnt want to get in after dark.

I made it in, very thankfully said hello, I dropped my stuff for second, so I could quickly say hello to friends in town. I briefly walked around beforw coming back and passing out.

Slept like the dead.

A17 Open Mic Night

Today was the real promotion day for me. I walked all over town trying to gather people around for the open mic in the evening.

It was the best day of hiking so far.

Its fun to walk all over town, to see what hikers are here and stop and talk for a while. I've been getting to know the local business owners. Its like I'm actually doing a thing.

I stopped and said hello to a couple trail angels, Fidget and .com, who I met 2 years ago when they made a huge group of us pancakes.

The event turned out to be a huge success. We packed the place! Finn did the MC work because Turtle couldn't catch up, and I don't feel very charismatic in front of a crowd. He did a great job of keeping the night together and connecting people.

It was Soo Good (*Carbomb impression). Again, we had some awesome music from Hula. Aiden and Taylor played a spot on version of Tennessee Whisky, in addition to accompanying several hikers with some back-up music. Carbomb sang a trail song that he wrote. Just Matt and No Hat played, No Hat throwing his voice out there to get some notes, to the applause of the audience.

Rob Bird and Miss Janet graced us with their presence. Rob performed several songs, easily the most polished singer of the night.

So many good things happened.
Trail Magic.

*I might be able to pull some photos off of facebook. Too busy running the show.

A16 Damascus (Day 2)

Today was just a 2nd day of yesterday. I spent a little more time busking. I walked around dropping in on all of the hostels, seeing who's in town. I went back to the campsite early. We jammed a little and got a campfire going.

Feeling a bit of a vortex vibe, but I'm really looking forward to the open mic tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A21 Zero Day

I took a proper zero day. I ate food. I played guitar. I completely relaxed. Not once did I question taking a day off.

[[ I suppose it might be a good time to share a story that's travelled up trail. A hiker that I walked with for a couple days, (I won't publish his name openly on the net) he scared a lot of people at a shelter.

Apparently, he had a few xanax and may have had a few drinks. He left a pill on the bunk of shelter and then couldn't find it. He came back several times. He started yelling at everyone. At one point, he threw a knife into the floor and said he was going to cut everyone's fingers off. Luckily, someone found the pill next to them.

I maybe got a vibe something could have been off with this hiker when I knew him. But it wasn't enough to set off a red flag. There are many people who hike the trail to mentally deal with something.

Either way, a few of the hikers confronted him the next day. They told him he freaked everyone out and made him apologize to the group. Then another hiker confronted him, and punches got thrown around.

I haven't caught wind of this hiker still being on trail. I'm sure he got off.

As shitty of a thing as it was, I knew the guy. I mean he really opened up to me about some things. He's got some skeletons in the closet, some experiences he's been through that would be a burden on anyone.

I'm not justifying him freaking everyone out. I'm just trying to give the whole picture.

And I'm sorry for being purposely ambiguous. Once things are published, they're permanently stated and can't easily be taken back.]]