Day 33 – Erwin TN

I heard a joke today that rings pretty true…. What’s the difference between an AT thru hiker and a bum? The thru hiker wears Gore Tex. This is mostly accurate from our outside appearance after five days in the woods.

I’m at Mile 340. I’ve been really pushing it to see how many miles I could crank out in a day. I did a 21 miler, then another 20 miler in a crazy storm and the stickiest mud you can imagine, followed by a 16.5 mile day to get into town. I think I found my limit and will probably be doing more like 12-16 every day.

I’m still feeling strong but my body is definitely feeling it…. Something different every day… My right knee or shin, the blisters on the top of my feet. Point is I need to reduce the mileage a bit. Just to be clear lest I get worried calls from home, my aches and pains are minor…. Ie my shin starts hurting after walking ten miles.

So I am sitting on a bench outside Azteca Mexican restaurant in Erwin TN enjoying my day off. I spent the night at Uncle Johnny’s Hostel last night and did a work for stay today. Basically I get to tent for free plus $20 for cleaning the cabins and emptying the trash. The bigger motivation for me was just to have something productive to do during the day while I took it easy.

This church group put on a trail magic event for lunch near the hostel which was awesome. I continue to have much gratitude for all the generosity I’m stumbling upon on the trail.

The thing about being up here is you’re totally independent. For instance, I toshuttle ironing shuttle into town today from the hostel to a little deli. I missed the pick up from the deli. They were headed to the post office next. So I walked 2 miles to the post office. What do you know – they were still there. I hopped on and avoided a 6 mile walk back to the hostel. There’s no helplessness out here – everything is walking distance over a long enough time period.

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