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Re: [at-l] Beginner's 3-Day Hike - Day 1

Ray Jardine says camping on a slight slope is a good thing and the feet 
should be at the high end.  I get the theory about returning blood from the 
feet, but am still not sure I wan my head lowest.  Anybody got experience to 
share? jpj

>From: Delita Wright <delita@mindspring.com>
>To: at-l@backcountry.net
>Subject: [at-l] Beginner's 3-Day Hike - Day 1
>Date: Mon, 9 Aug 1999 20:37:52 -0500
>Of course I got to Hogpen Gap later than I had planned - but counted the
>extra 30 minutes spent eliminating the 8 pounds from my pack a good
>investment for the day.  At least I could now pick up my pack and put it on
>without straining too hard! ;-)
>My son and 1-year old granddaughter drove me over and saw me off.  She was
>not impressed with the layers of mountains disappearing into the distance
>but I was.  Without letting myself think too much more about it I headed up
>the trail about 9 AM with my too short ski poles working.  Felt odd to be
>finally doing it, but also felt right at home from all the *practice.*
>I think it was on the second uphill that I stopped, struck by the thought
>of all those who had *gone before.*  I took a moment and pondered -
>everyone from the thru-hiker legends to those whose journals I had read
>on-line to my own son who had just dropped me off.  What fun to be on the
>same trail hiking.  It was a perfect day for it.
>One concern had been the heat.  Because most of the AT is overgrown with
>trees I didn't carry an umbrella.  I learned years ago I had to use an
>umbrella to sit in the sun - and was prepared to bring one.  My kids talked
>me out of it and I'm glad they did.  With all those trees, the way I take
>breaks and drink water, maybe the electrolyte replacement stuff - anyway, I
>never needed help with the heat.  Truth is, as I say, I am finally getting
>better.  I am actually handling heat better this year - a lovely change of
>pace after 40 plus years of dealing with the problem.
>One guy passed me hiking south.  We said good morning and kept going.
>After another hour or so, a couple passed me.  All 3 of these people looked
>like real pros to me but I didn't ask them any questions - just exchanged
>greetings.  An apparent father/son team passed (and I later passed them).
>They asked me about my (Atlanta) Braves cap.  I felt for the young man who
>looked like he was having a typical teenage misery day - not the great day
>in the woods I feel sure his father wanted to give up.  But felt helpless
>to do anything about it and went on.
>Later a young guy moving fast passed me from behind.  He asked me how far
>to Low Gap Shelter.  I gave him my best guess (like I would know) 1.5 - 2
>miles, and he barely paused.  Flashing an almost empty bottle he sped on.
>"No water!" he said.  I thought about calling him back to offer him some
>but decided he probably was happy *chasing* it.
>I stopped everytime I thought I needed to - before I got tired, hungry, or
>thirsty - and took long enough breaks that I felt completely refreshed each
>time I went back to it.  Often, on uphills, I just have to pause for a few
>seconds, to let my body catch up with my I suppose.  But as long as I do
>all that I feel like I can go on indefinitely.
>I lost tract somewhere in there of how many ups and downs there had been.
>When I was on what turned out to be the last before the shelter, I wasn't
>sure if there was one more or not.  I was okay, either way - but that
>shelter sign was a welcome site.  I had only drunk 5 of my 7 liters of
>water - which I credited mainly to it not being so hot as it had been when
>I did my test run day hike.  I hadn't stopped for a real lunch - just
>snacks - and that was showing on my energy level.  I pulled into the
>shelter about 4:40, 7 hours and 40 minutes for 4.2 miles.  Felt good but
>ready to stop.  I think the reason it took me that long was the due to my
>many good breaks - the hiking itself did not seem too strenuous.
>The father/son team were in the first campsite and waved.  The young man
>with *no water* was there at the shelter along with 2 other guys hiking
>south together.  I was acutely aware of being *brand new* as this was my
>first hiking shelter experience.  Turns out we were all pretty new and
>enjoyed swapping stories on what brought us here - although we never did
>exchange names.  Next time, I'll start. ;-)  One more couple came through
>and went on while I was setting up my tent.
>We all fixed and ate dinner and got our water centered around the picnic
>table and then drifted off to camp in our tents.  The only glitch in my
>plans were that I forgot the salt and my dinner needed it.  I bummed a pack
>of salt from the Boy Scouts had by that time some come in.  They were nice
>but were a little overwhelming, loud and otherwise.  I was in bed in my
>tent before dark, washed off and in my silks, made sure I had everything I
>needed for the morning - and then tried to get to sleep.
>I say tried because the tent was on a very slight slope and I spent the
>night fighting gravity in my new fleece bag sliding off the 3/4 Thermarest.
>I changed directions a couple times and put my pack under my legs.
>Everything seemed to help and I did get to sleep - repeatedly.  I was
>afraid it might feel hot in the tent but it cooled off just enough to feel
>great.  It was a good night and next time I will take a slight slope a lot
>more seriously! ;-)  LOVED my new homemade fleece bag!!
>At some point I realized I hadn't thought about my feet all day.  This is a
>good thing - have to guard against inflammation getting started that can
>build heels spurs.  I must have slept about 10 hours (with lots of breaks).
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