Day 15: Mile 147.3 – Locust Cove Gap
It’s hard to believe I’m now over the two week hump! The past few days have been a blur, these days if you ask me where I slept two nights ago, I’ll have no idea…but it’s awesome to think each day brings a new place to walk and a new place to rest my head.
Yesterday began with the decent into the NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center) which was a brutal knee acher of 3,500ft in 6 miles. Although the knees would ache later, this ridgeline hike down was beautiful!
As per usual, the NOC sucked all hungry hikers in with a warm veggie burger and a pile of fries, and kept them longer with white water rafting. Plus, my ankle brace hadn’t arrived yet so yesterday quickly became a Nero (nearly zero day = <6 mile day), which my feet sure enjoyed!
A Nero day was all too perfect before this morning’s challenge. I’m officially calling it our “trail leg certification” although others were calling it the hardest AT day yet. The climb out of the NOC is notoriously hard, a climb of 4000ft in 6 miles….plus an additional 5 miles and 1500ft to get to camp. Typically AT hikers take 2-3 weeks to get their “trail legs” which is why today felt like graduation day. The climb was tough, don’t get me wrong, but I felt strong. My legs were always ready for the next dreaded peak, after peak, after peak. I definitely didn’t think it was the hardest of days but could tell that if I had had to complete today’s climb two weeks ago, hell, I couldn’t have made it in one day! I was so excited to feel the difference in my body and the strength I’ve gained in the last 15 days.
But hey, anytime your workout involves a rewarding view like this, it’s worth it!