Today was another day that I did two workouts. Shortly after a light breakfast with coffee, I left my home for a jaunt over to the neighborhood park, Cooper Creek. My run today totalled 8 miles, two more than I had originally intended. The two extra were at an easier pace with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. After returning home, I got the hiking gear ready, loaded up the Explorer, and headed up to the Pine Mountain Trail at Roosevelt State Park. Before leaving town I again detoured by a nearby McDonald’s for lunch. I decided to purchase three burgers, one to eat as I drove, another to eat when I arrived at the east end of the trail near Warm Springs, GA, and a third to eat at some time during the hike. I also carried with me today a couple of energy bars and several mini snickers. Not wanting to stop and treat water, I took two 20 ounce bottles as well as a 32 ounce Gatorade.
For today’s hike I selected the 6.7 mile Wolfden Loop, starting at the eastern terminus of the trail. I opted to travel on the PMT at the beginning of the hike and finish the white blazed part of the loop last. The second mile of this loop challenges at times with several water crossings. Since it had rained substantially yesterday, there was more water to negotiate than there had been the last time I hiked this section of trail. When I arrived at Cascade Falls, just before the two mile mark, I stopped to drop my pack and take a few pictures. Having received a couple of emails while hiking, I decided to respond to both before resuming the walk. I also sent a pic to Alton, my good buddy who always emails me, “I hate you,” when he knows I’m hiking. I’m genuinely sorry that he’s still teaching rather than hiking with me, so I recently responded to said comment with, “Dont hate me; Join me.” He will on a weekend hike some time real soon.
Despite having tired legs, the hike went well today. I took one more break just before five miles and finished that last burger. Even though I snacked and drank almost continuously, I still felt hungry and thirsty after the hike’s completion. There is no way to over-emphasize the importance of caloric intake and water consumption when hiking the AT. I’ll have to use extreme caution to ensure that I don’t allow dehydration to become an issue.
As I neared the end of today’s walk, I spotted a solitary hiker with a dog approaching in the distance. I paused to chat for a several minutes with Kevin, a day hiker who said he had logged over 11,000 miles of hiking. He hikes daily on the PMT and stated that he had covered every square foot of trail numerous times. A former runner before knee issues, he too stated that he had at times had aspirations to attempt a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. Kevin said he hoped to maybe give it a try after his retirement. We wished each other well as I turned to head toward the parking lot at the TV tower and my SUV. All in all, it was a good training day. Yes, I’m tired, but fatigue is a state that I’ll have to learn to embrace as I make my way north on the Appalachian Trail.