A little over 2 days and 2 nights on the Appalachian Trail ~ Here are the stats!
- Number of times I thought I felt the earth move – 1
- Number of times the earth actually did move – 1 – Earthquake!
- Great place to be when the earth moves, which I wasn’t, but would have been if I hadn’t bailed out half an hour earlier – on an infamously steep slope of Appalachian Trail scree
- Animal sightings – Raccoon, 3 snakes, many deer, a wild peacock, peregrine falcon, chipmunks and squirrels out of control
- Number of not quite dead animals left perfectly centered on the trail – 2 – baby rats and a snake, all still clinging to a translucent thread of life (What is UP with that???)
- Number of miles planned – 42
- Number of miles actually hiked – 28.6
- Number of mountains over 1000 feet ascended and quickly descended – 1,242 – okay maybe not 1,242, but a serious bunch nonetheless..
- Biggest mistake of this particular trip – Not checking the elevation profiles beforehand
- Number of bear sightings – 0
- Number of entries read in hiker logs freaking out about the abnormally large amount of recent bear sightings – 7
- Times I pretended to be a bear late at night around sleeping hikers – 1, but not on purpose
- Biggest negative of the trip – Development of “bear-anoia” thanks to the hiker logs – I literally slept with a can of bug spray (that’ll get em) and my dome-chrome umbrella in my hands after hiking all of my food and anything that might have essence of food a half mile away from camp.
- Biggest hooray of the trip – Coyotes singing me to sleep every single night
- 2nd biggest hooray – the reinvigoration of my passion for voluntary night hiking
- 3rd biggest hooray – Spotted fawn came right up to me.
- All the zeros – zero rain – zero pain – zero bugs (where the hell’d they go?) – zero times lost – zero crowds – zero blisters – zero desire to leave
- Number of times I was standing in frozen shock and a little bit of anger at the frequency and steepness of the climbs on the Appalachian Trail when some over-chipper thru-hiker sailed past me with a big fat smile on their face smelling like swamp– 5
- Most missed piece of gear – trekking poles
- Number of text messages sent – 2 – First one: “Ahhh, the coyotes are singing me to sleep”. Second one, in response to a request to come into work: “I am currently on the Appalachian Trail on top of Ass-Bust Mountain eating a peanut butter sandwich, and the only way I’m going to climb down, hitchhike to Greenwood Lake, and catch a bus back to the city so I can be at work is if there is someone there whom I can repeatedly punch in the stomach without any consequences to myself.. Let me know as soon as you can cause I’m about to descend into a steep ravine and there’s a good chance my cell phone may get brutally pummeled by aggressive boulders there.”
- Days until I have to be back at work – one more
- Number of mushrooms spotted that I’m sure have come from outer space – At least 12
- Number of outrageously beautiful waterfalls – 1 – (see below)
- Number of times stuck in a crevice – 1 – free chiropractic care!
- Percentage increase of personal desire to do 6 month – 3 year long distance hiking excursion 5,888,808,009%
I began the hike at night and I’d like to share with you my absolutely most favorite part of night hiking:
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