4-21-16 to 4-27-16 to Burningtown Gap hostel and then the End

The following is a brief summary and then collection of images added here on June 10, 2016. A few days later of both regular and slack pack hiking I found my ankle seemed doing better again at first and then quickly deteriorated into an injury causing both of my, already bad from the Army, knees injuries due to them trying to compensate for it.

I unhappily ended my hike hike and returned to the normal world where I took up renting for a while with a Delta House member and her roommate while I’ve spent a great vacation and gotten my passport squared away.

I can’t share any pictures from the vacation to Camp Crucible, unfortunately. But, among the normal highlights of Camp were meeting a great couple whose wife half has become my girlfriend and doing my first scene as a needle BOTTOM in a needle suspension. Yay!

Now a bunch of pics and stuffs up til my last bit of my Appalachian Trail hike.

 

Edit 6/20/16:  I found text notes I jotted down about some of these days, so will add that when get chance.

 

Edit 7/20/16:  Notes added as-were and others used to remind for me and expand on them what was going on those days.

 

Edit 9/2/16: Notes added and new pics, more tidying.

 

 

Apr 20

 

I slack packed from rock Gap to winding stair Gap.

 

Later, Twisted and I went back to the nearby outfitter I had gotten my shoes tried with the day before and bought a few items.

On the way back we stopped into a restaurant for dinner and wine. They were doing slow at that hour so let us try a number of them to figure out what we wanted, then let Twisted do so with a beer, too.

I ended up liking a Garnacha they had and stuck to a couple of glasses of that. Turned out, among other talk, that we also dug dubstep so would recommend stuff to each other.

Exchanged numbers that night. Was nice to make a pretty cool friend.

 

 

Apr 21

 

Seemed like it was finally going to rain and I wanted to get under cover before it began for the night and I’d made decent progress.

Hiked along looking for a spot and kept coming up with nothing.  Saw a little campground area that was tempting and seemed like maybe folks had used a couple spots at the edges of it before possibly, but it wasn’t for camping so I kept going looking for a real spot.

 

Zero luck and it kept getting feels-like-rain more, so I decided to risk it and turned around, hiked back to the little campground, and chose a little ducked in place that looked like might’ve been used and set all my stuff on a picnic table.

 

Made some Ramen.  Ate it.  Rain started just the tiniest dripping, so I put the tent up.

Don’t know why but I suddenly became Intensely tired and passed out in a nap in bed.

Woke up and had a second pot of Ramen for dinner lol.

Cozied out in my tent.

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Five pictures from slightly different angles of a great bridge over a lovely waterfall I had to cross today:

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Trail location marker slightly altered… because we hikers are a classy lot…2016-04-21 10.06.36

 

In the morning the rain started.

 

Apr 22

 

Woke up next morning and hiked to Bartram Trail Junction tent site in pouring rain.  It was very slow going but enjoyable with the slick mud and mud puddles.

My new rain jacket worked much better than the beloved one I sent home to Grant & Grace.

As always, saw some really pretty things.  However, I had to wear my snack and camera bag inside my jacket so that I could still eat as I went so I didn’t take many pictures…  Things I’d normally snap I repeatedly said, “nah” on when I con thought about getting out the camera.  I later put it in  my pocket and it has a protective case, but still.

It was solid, moderately cold, drizzly, miserable, awesome raining.

Some chose to camp up inside the tower.
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I arrived at the Junction camping area and picked a relatively draining spot where I wasn’t concerned about my tent ending up in a puddle during the night.

Totally self-satisfied that I set myself up fully in a steady rain without getting my stuff wet.  Got Skillz.

Also suddenly got very chilled with taking a long time for feet to warm up.

Said “fuck it” and cooked in my tent vestibule and then also didn’t bear bag.

Had a nap again and ate another pot of Ramen again, same as day before.

When it was getting time to sleep I went and threw my cooking water far off, but didn’t wash the pots.  Another “fuck it” and put them outside my tent, inside the vestibule (as I usually did, but usually after being cleaned).

As it got dark I heard a mouse messing with my dirty cooking pot before falling asleep.  Laughed in morning when I checked it and could see bunches of tongue marks all over the inside.

A wonderfully miserable rainy day of hiking and rain-safe night.

 

 

Apr 23

 

Hiked to Burningtown Gap and got picked up to hostel.  I broke 2.5 mph speed while babying an ankle injury and with a full pack from Bartram to Burningtown Gap.

Personal speed record made while injured.  I was excited and pleased with myself.  A lot of pleased with myself the past few days.

Stayed in a wonderful hostel and the dear wife of the couple who owned it made a vegan-safe meal for me since they normally make omnivore stuff, of course.  She worked with what she had around the kitchen… it was delicious.

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Arranged slack packing each day for a couple of days out of that hostel all the way to Fontana. Felt it would give my ankle some travel miles with minimal weight before hitting longer days in the coming Park.  Moving the joint gently to help it recover some.  Hoped it’d feel better with moving rest.

Must have Grant send me much food and much more junk food to take to get through Great Smokey Mountains Park.

 

 

Apr 24

 

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Apr 25

 

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And a laughing video over sliding down that ^ piece of granite as the only option in going down:

 

 

Apr 27

 

A pic of the sweet wife owner of the hostel I was using for my slack-packing.  With Grumpy Cat. 🙂

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Time to get back to full gear and head out.

 

Another video showing an uphill I’m doing during these last days, on the 27th.   Doesn’t do the angle and length justice, but it was hours of this angle of about 45 to more degree climbing, there were a coupla spots of having angles that required all-fours.  I took a downhill view but the vid didn’t come out clearly, unfortunately.

 

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Stills of that climb.  They sooo doesn’t show how steep, seriously ^, not joking or exaggerating.  45 degree or slightly steeper climb snaking for hours up that hill, then eventually climbed/hiked down to the shelter.

Helped morale, though, getting through this day that another hiker was leapfrogging with me due to our paces and he made comments about how they didn’t use switchbacks at all and such in line with my own thoughts… And more than once commented in different phrasings that if an Appalachian Trail Conservancy person came along in the next few minutes he was gonna beat them to death with his trekking poles.

 

I loved this.  Made me smile as after 3-5 hours of that angle with 30 lbs on back my thoughts and feelings were right there with him, I just was pushing them aside and not speaking them haha.

 

More pics gathered:

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Grumpy Cat and I need to fill my water bladder.  The terrain had become extremely rocky and this was what the water source was like to make it to the shelter.  On a hot-ass-day, too.  Through the above I’d ran dry for about an hour and when I arrived another hiker was filling theirs and talked about how he’d run dry, too.

You’ll see again the leaf-spout that was used a lot of places difficult to direct water into a nozzle that I had pointed out before in talking and pics.  Still love that.

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After the hiking days over this sort of terrain that followed, my body reached a point of my brain listening and my attempt at a Through-hike was over.

As you can see, though, my last couple of days were torturous but stunningly gorgeous.  That last picture was a mile or two of that.  Loved it out there.  So much.

 

My last Hike video is one of good fun.  Another try at a first-person view, this time of those climbs for a bit and ending with some later over what I called “Fuck this shit” campsite spots I’d find at the top or midway up serious climbs almost all the time   They made me giggle.

 

I took stock of myself and on next day made the hated/dreaded/known/avoided decision to pull my shit back and listen to my body and it was telling me to go the fuck home and heal that shit.  For real and serious this time, it was done.

I felt sad, humiliated, frustrated, a pain in my chest, yearning, longing, embarrassment, and a painful panic upset that no one was going to understand.

Everyone in my life that mattered hadn’t had really any change at all in contact with me.

Their lives had gone on as normal with its normal time.

Whereas on the trail there is this intense time distortion.  You quickly lose track of the date and for the most part you don’t bother to check anymore.  Often not the time for days, either.

 

Edit 9/2/16:  Watching back the video later now in finishing this up, that last vid is actually fairly decent at showing the angle of the loooong climb that day basically was.

The camera I did much better in mounting in my pouch so you’re not getting the tipped-down angle that I’d spoke about before on my first-person tries.  It was angled in line with my body and those hill angles are pretty accurate… that root section was an almost-all-fours one, not sure if it really shows or if it just shows enough it brings up the memory clearly for me lol.

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