Limping into the No Business Shelter on May 7th my thoughts weren't about how to tame my blisters but how to crash for the night. AWOL's Guide said sleeps 6 without amenities. I turn the headlamp to red before poking my head around the corner. Someone noticed it and pulled her gear to the side. I threw in my pad and took the rest outside to shuffle. Though only 9:15 it's an hour past hiker midnight.
I grabbed the sleeping bag, hung my water on a nail, and left the rest outside. I peeled away my socks outside. Relived only to see hotspots not huge blisters. Next big Mile day I'll change my sock, I thought. I doused my feet, boots, and socks with foot powder till I ran out. I'd get more on my next Nero - tomorrow.
I'd come over from Flint Shelter. I passed friends I hadn't seen for weeks. I crossed amazing territory, climbed three big inclines, and wandered in the dark (with a headlamp) my last mile. I hit 30 miles. The day before I'd been at Rich Mountain Watchtower and made 24 mile. 50 plus miles in two days, crazy.
Why such big miles? To see if I could. To enjoy more terrain in a day. To make up for lost time. Many other reasons too. All valid, all meaningless. I just had a blast day tripping, enjoying the light as a photographer, and just enjoying scenery.
How then to hike a big Mile day? Easy be ready for it.
Prep yourself the day before.
Eat well, don't skimp the nutrition.
Drink lots of water.
Look at the territory. You want big elevation gains early, and losses late.
Set goals. Set some easy some hard with times to achieve like 10 by noon or 15 by 3.
Lay down so that the sun wakes you up.
Lay out the gear so that packing is fast and what is needed will be on top.
Get up. Enough said.
Pack quickly. Cutting time is good.
Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Eat and go. Go and eat throughout the day.
Hit the easy goals to gain momentum.
Take time to enjoy the views and people.
I am looking to keep going. I love the momentum. I will take time to rest as well.
Hike on. Hike smart.