Return of a footsore Idiot

As I think I have said before, I am not sure one can really go walk-about if they are not doing too much walking. Now that I have survived the most recent pass through the forge as I turn myself into whatever tool I will be, I decided to start taking some control back. Winter is approaching, which means that it is a good time for nomads to stay put for a while. Plus it would be good to replenish the coffers. Gotta start paying back money I owe, resupply, and ensure I actually survive the winter. Since me becoming a wealthy award-winning author seems a very slow process, this means some temporary work. I consulted the digital genies and immediately found a new bar opening up only a couple of miles away. Walk-able, and in many ways ideal. Food service is good for flexibility of schedule and occasional cash in hand.

Being the excellent planner that I am not, I checked routes on Google. To the bar; from THAT bar to “MY” bar … er … um … office. Filled out an online application, got an email saying come in for a talk, and the process was started. Of course in my usual perfect timing, this day it decided to snow. Oh well. Walking in a light snow can actually be quite refreshing. I walked to he potential job site, actually FOUND it with only slight difficulty, had my ten minute canned interview (stay tuned for results), then began the walk to the office to get some REAL work done.

Pause for sarcastic laughter.

deep-snowIt is one of the many ironies that govern my life that the more “civilized” and area is, the less capable I am of navigating it. Put me in the woods, and I will rarely get lost. Put me in something man-made, like say a city or a mall, and I will be lost for hours. I am glad (?) to say yesterday was no different. I apparently totally misread the map for my return journey. Add to that the lowering temperature, the increasing snow, and my tendency to go into the “zone” when conditions become less than comfortable, in no time I was … completely unsure where I was.

I am one who travels by landmarks. Like trees and rocks. Stock buildings, highways and advertising signs completely baffle me, especially when they keep repeating themselves. After a few, “I’ll turn here, it is bound to take me somewhere,” mishaps, I finally ended up somewhere that there was potential for warmth and better yet … directions. I shed what remained of my pride and … dun dun dun … asked. I may be remembering incorrectly at this point, but I am pretty sure the answer was, “You are in the wrong state.”

Finally I figured out where I needed to be, roughly 5 miles That-a-way. Fortunately it was now getting darker, colder, and snowier, ensuring I didn’t settle down in someone’s yard for a nap. So after a walking only about nine miles out of my way, I finally made it to the “office”, I stayed long enough to thaw out before I skied back to my room to crash for the night.

So basically I walked roughly 13 miles and got slightly hypothermic for a ten minute interview for a job I may or may not get. All in all a rather productive day.

We TRULY start.


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  34.666030, -84.136310

Day 1

Weather: mostly sunny, windy

Distance covered: 8.2 miles

Campsite: Hawk Mountain shelter


I am not sure how best to describe today. Interesting comes to mind, but that is kind of insufficient. We started the day with another visit to the local fire. A pretty good breakfast was has by all, with the exception of Maytag being attacked by a giant centipede.

Then we rushed to get the bags ready so we could join our Sherpa, only to find the Sherpa had a flat tire. So we met him at the registration center, where we registered and got our first passport stamp. Since I was the 711th registration, Seven Eleven was suggested as my trail name.

We drove up to our starting spot, getting quite a few useful tips on the process. Technically this spot is about a mile down the trail, so to truly start at Springer Mountain you to the summit, then come back. It must have been a grand site as we marched purposefully to our true starting point, (sans backpacks since the girls decided to stay with the vehicle) only to march back just as purposely 2 minutes later since we missed the trail completely.

A half an hour later, pictures taken and final goodbyes to Nucking Futs family (he decided to change his trail name at the summit), we were truly on our way.

We immediately started encountering fellow travellers, many also intent on going as far as they can. It quickly became apparent what a wonderful community we entered, almost a family. We moved along, enjoying the scenery, sometimes hiking alone, sometimes with others.

Around 5 miles or so, Jeff was starting to feel things, and I, due to poor water management and carrying 15 pounds more than I should because of my insistence on quality pictures, was cramping a little. I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but Jeff is in the third stage of Lime Disease, so chose to do the hike for the same reasons as Mark. About 6 miles in, he also had the same epiphany as Mark ( not to mention a few disturbing physical symptoms), that he simply was not PHYSICALLY capable of doing this dream. So he very reluctantly called it quits. He got in touch with our earlier shuttle driver, arranged a pick up place, and said a painful good bye and good luck to me.

At this point, every muscle below my waist was doing its very best to seize, but I was NOT going to let turning into a human cramp stop me. So despite the fact that I had no more water, and the next source was near the next shelter, roughly 3 miles along, I continued to painfully crawl forward.
That section of trail took me almost twice as long as the first part.

I finally made it to water, where I had to do battle with the stream guardian (basically an extremely drunk Bible thumping local). I managed to get enough water to lubricate the bod again, and FINALLY got to my destination (several hours after everyone else I had met on the trail). I set up my tent, recharged myself and my various electronics a little bit, met a few new friends, and after writing this did my best to fall into a coma. While the local Guard did training in helicopters overhead.

A few possible trail names came out of all this though. Mark suggested Cramp King. One of the new people greeted me with “You must be The Photographer.” And I thought of Giant or Gadget. I seem to have a few good choices. Feedback is welcome!

No autographs please!

I officially started the actual workout portion of my “no pain … you are doing it wrong” workout. I have already benefited greatly in just two days. For example:

  • I have found out that I actually have some muscles that I did not previously know existed. I am not quite sure how this will actually benefit me other than changing how I get down and boogie when getting down and boogie-ing is called for.
  • I realized that my ceilings are way lower than I ever noticed. No doubt something I generally don’t have to worry about unless I have a sudden growth spurt.
  • I have added a few rather expressive words to my vocabulary.
  • I now know how to look really tough in at least five different countries.
  • I have decided that if human sweat ever becomes marketable, I will be a billionaire in mere hours.

All of this and it is only day 2. I can’t even imagine what 60 days will teach me!

Before this horrendous torture premium exercise turns me into the Hercules in New York version of Arnold Schwarzenegger … you know before politics stole his body and soul … I figured I ought to post MY before picture. It IS only fair. So here I am in all my pregnant manly splendor:

Round is a shape

I could blame the belly on the apparent blurriness of the picture, but for some reason I don’t expect anyone to buy it. Ok, my duty is done here. I need to get back to building stock for the gift shop. Do we have any special requests?