Passed the 400 mile mark today! I’m staying tonight at the Vango/Abby memorial hostel. I hadn’t planned on staying here, just to stop in for a quick resupply, but my ankle blew out on me today. I was expecting ankle pain from day one, having had trouble with it since I was a kid, but it only came on today. I had planned some big miles in the next 3 days to get to Demascus (18 today, then 16, 23 and 20 the two days after), but I’ll have to baby my ankle for a little and will do 16’s instead.
The hostel is pretty awesome. It’s a budget, donation based setup about .3 miles off the trail. It’s incredibly peaceful here and I got to chat with the owner/caretaker for a few hours and he’s a great guy.
I want to get back out to the porch to enjoy the last bit of the sunset with my pizza and beer, so I’ll make this short, but here’s a quick recap of one month on the trail:
I’ve read that after one month, the thruhiker’s body is finally nearly acclimated to the trail. My muscles are stronger, visibly so, and my bone density has increased to better bear the brunt of my pack. The difference in home elevation and here is not huge, but my body has now had time to adapt to the difference. I’ve probably lost about 10 pounds of fat, but with increases in muscle weight, and the big meals I eat in town, it’s really hard to say. After lunch in Gatlinburg I weighed myself, then the next afternoon I did it again. The difference between the two weights was about five pounds.
Some miscellaneous trivia:
- I’ve eaten no less than 7 full jars of peanut butter on the trail and have another full one in my pack.
- I’ve taken three full zero days and three additional nero days.
- I’ve averaged 11.88 miles per day, including zeroes. My walking average (not including zeroes) is 13.03 miles per day.
- I’ve seen 2 groups of deer, countless birds and insects, but no bears.
- My average pack weight is around thirty pounds with water after leaving town. My base weight is around 23, although I haven’t weighed it, that’s just a guess.
- The only piece of gear that has failed (so far, knock on wood) is the most expensive one, my tent. The cross bar snapped due to poor design, but I expect MSR will replace it free of charge when I call from Damascus.
- My hunger has become nigh insatiable. Last night I ate for dinner one and a half 12 inch thin crust pizzas, a small salad, 10 silver dollar sized cookies, 2 400 calorie oatmeal cookie whoopie pies, and a small stack of pringles.