What a day this was! I woke up this morning in a bed for starters. That’s always a plus unless you actually like sleeping in a tent? I have to say, I like both. My tent is much more peaceful than sleeping in a room with three other women. But I was glad to have a shower, flush toilets, and a fully-stocked kitchen. Truly a great place to spend the night.
I was dropped off at the trailhead just after 10am and started climbing. Today my pack is loaded down with five days of food. My feet and back were feeling it. After hiking with little food the last day or two, it’s a shock to the body to have an extra ten pounds.
The first few miles were lovely. It seems that Spring has sprung and there is green on the trail. The trees are starting to leaf out, there are more shrub and brush in the low lying areas and it’s much prettier. The trail is still tough however. There were steep uphills and steeper downhills. At one point, as I was leaning to go uphill, I actually went down on my knees! I jumped up, making sure no one saw me, dusted myself off and carried on.
The group I’ve been hiking with made plans to meet at the Shelter for lunch. It’s a grand idea being there’s a picnic table and plenty of space to sit and take your shoes off. I ate the heaviest food I had: hard salami, Parmesan cheese and English Cucumber. Everyone else was doing the same thing. There were the two Irish gals and they actually packed out a can of garbanzo beans with avocado and spinach. That’s some serious weight.
Bittersweet was already at the Shelter and had spent the night trying to recover from an overuse injury. She’d been hiking with a couple of men and was trying to keep up with them. I met her a few days back, and yesterday talked to her about hiking her own hike instead of killing herself trying to keep up with these two guys. After a 12 mile day, her foot swelled up and she could barely walk at all. We all shared with her our stay at Around the Bend Hostel. She made a phone call and they plan to pick her up tomorrow on a forest service road only 1-1/2 miles north. She was thrilled. Hopefully I’ll see her again. Another hiker from Slovenia decided to end his hike today because he hurt his shoulder. His pack weighed in at 50 plus pounds and he couldn’t bare carrying this heavy load any longer. Several of the hikers I’ve been with for the past week are already going home.
Backpacking is not for the faint of heart. It is handwork strapping on a pack everyday, climbing up and down mountains and ridge lines, dealing with the ever changing weather and doing this day after day, week after week, month after month. But there is something that is so satisfying about doing the same thing daily, seeing incredible scenery that most people only hear about, and feeling like you are truly right where you are suppose to be. Don’t get me wrong, I was having a tough time of it today. It was hot, the sun was directly overhead, there was little relief, the water sources were fewer and farther away, but I still have to say, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
God and I had a moment today. When I was praying for his supernatural power to help me get through some of the tough climbs today, he had me right where he wanted me. I felt as if he is refining me, making silver into gold, knowing I have some areas that need addressing. I just let him lead me up and over these mountains, guiding and teaching me . And before I knew it, I was passing through Georgia and made it to North Carolina! One state down and only thirteen to go. What a hoot-hoot I let out when I passed into N.C. I kissed that sign, took my pic and headed to camp.
Thank you Lord for guiding me through the fire and into the furnace, refining me and giving me the wisdom that will carry me through this trail. It may be painful at times, but I am excited to learn the lessons who have planned for me and what you intend to teach this hiker.
“Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”
Proverbs 8:10-11 NIV