Day 5: Sore, Happy Hikers

Day 5

Need Gap —-> Low Gap Shelter

11.5 miles

Total AT miles: 43.2

Thump…thump…thump goes the blood in my head in rhythm to my heart. Thump…thump…thump. I stop at midday and cook some food. Someone stops and tries to talk to me. “Please, just go away.” I think. It hurts to much to listen.

I pack my bag and hike on down the trail. Camp is not far. Another few miles. I trudge on in a daze ignoring the pain. I cave and take an Ibuprofen. Vitamin “I” someone called it. The only vitamin worth carrying out here.

I took my first last night. Exhaustion overtook me and, with the pain relief, I actually slept. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a good nights sleep. Between excitement and anxiety before the trip, to cramping in the first 3 days, and now to pain.

I have arthritis in my neck you see. When I was 12, I fell out of a tree stand. It slipped as I was coming down. I fell and landed on my neck summersaulting down the hill in my backyard.

No-one was home when it happened. But there, suddenly standing on the concrete patio, was my Uncle Joe to take me to the hospital. Hours of x-rays and waiting revealed no breaks. Whew! I still had to wear a neck brace for a while and was in and out of physical therapy for years.

The only lingering effects are from the arthritis. It’s not a problem as long as I stretch. If I don’t, it feels like a jackhammer’s pounding away on my skull. I doubt it will last much longer though. My body just needs to adjust to the strain. Another few days, maybe a week, and I’ll be a pack mule.

This early in to the hike, most everyone is in pain. Knees are the most common complaint, but really, everything hurts. Shoulders, backs, necks, and feet. You name it and we’re feeling it.

Heavy rains woke my in the night; a good test for my tent. It has been around for a while now. A leak in the vestibule wet my pack. Time for some window sealant from the auto parts store.
Rain? Time to sleep in! Except I sleep in everyday. Let Early Bird have his worm, I’ll target mice with the night owls.
Hiking on in the misty fog. Really nice weather for a walk. Cool but slippery. 
Photo shoot on an overlook with Soccer Mom. Say hello to the go pro!
I love this Spring Breakers pack. I’m a sucker for hunting and living off the land. We ended up meeting at the camp. “Your the camera man in the crazy hat?!?
Daffodils! (Right??!)  First flower of the year though! I can’t wait for the rhododendron and mountain laurel to bloom.
Moonboots leads the way into the Mark Trail Wilderness in Chattahoochee National Forest.
Bambi: “Anyone want some salami?”
Canuck: “Heck yeah!” Now there’s a happy thru-hiker.



Shaggy lovin some Mac ‘n cheese for his third dinner. Right on my friend.






2 thoughts on “Day 5: Sore, Happy Hikers

  1. I hiked the At in 2012. I love reading trail journals and must say yours is one of the best I’ve read. Good luck with your hike.

    • I’m putting in a lot of effort and appreciate the kind words Michael. Thanks very much.

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