April 6, 2018 / Comments (16)

RTK Extra: The First 30 Days on the Trail (AND SOME NEW PICS)

Random Thoughts & Observations after a Month on the AT & some new pics below–

1. I always thought .3 miles was not that far.

2. Wildlife has been all but nonexistent. (Presumably due to the constant, bitter cold weather.) I saw 6 or 7 squirrels, the white tail of a deer running away, and the miscellaneous bird.  (Recently, after Day 30, spring seems to be trying to arrive. I saw a garter snake and many more birds.)

3. It’s been very cold most days. (We cannot sit and have breakfast or take breaks for more than 5 to 10 minutes because the cold will set in, particularly with respect to the hands.)

4. I have not used my mind time well. (On a related matter, to quote a fellow, thru-hiker: “It seems like we have all the time in the world and we have very few things to do, but somehow we use all the time we have to barely accomplish the few things we must do each day.”)

5. I have been blessed with remarkably good health. I have had no internal (G.I., etc,) problems or injuries, and other than the items below, just general muscle soreness. I had a couple of small blisters that have been resolved; a sore hip, seemingly resolved by two days of rest; a sore lower back, also seemingly resolved by a day off the trail. My knees have not hurt at all.

6. Although it is THE omnipresent, main staple of thru-hiker diets, I have only had one Snickers bar.

7. While hiking, where I’m headed is rarely where I’m going. (If I’m going to the top of a mountain on a given day, a very common destination, when I look ahead towards where the trail is taking me, it’s rarely where I’m actually going. This might be one of those “you need to be there” things.)

8. There is danger out here: we have had a 65-year-old slip and do a face plant into a log knocking him almost unconscious and opening up a sizable (and heavily bleeding) wound; we have had a young twentysomething hiker who had inadequate equipment get so wet and cold, become hypothermic and had to hold up at the shelter and get some gear from friends to keep him warm (and then hike into town the next morning). (There has even been a rumor on trail radio that a teenage section hiker died of hypothermia during my first two weeks.)

9. Trail magic: I have not had any organized trail magic.

10. I have not been particularly hungry. I have probably lost over 20 pounds.

11. Most notable DIFFICULT climbs/hikes:

– coming down off of Blood Mountain

– climbing up Albert Mountain

– coming down Unicoi Gap

– climbing out of Bly Gap

– climbing down from “Jump Off before the NOC

– Jacob’s Ladder

– last half mile up to Cheoah Bald


12. Most memorable fun hikes:

– the Approach Trail with Cheryl

– two days hiking with Brooke

– the first 4 miles after Springer Mountain

– the 1.5 miles between Fontana Crossing and Fontana Hilton

– the hike between Davenport Gap and I-40


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Last modified: April 6, 2018

16 Responses to :
RTK Extra: The First 30 Days on the Trail (AND SOME NEW PICS)

  1. Keith Hurley says:

    Any idea when you’ll be around Rt 60 and it Rt 56 in Va?

    1. rtkchallenge_w2dqin says:

      Let me check schedule.

  2. Donna Parisi says:

    Hi Bruce – I am watching and listening. Spoke to Tracy Schwarzschild the other day and he told me he is going to try to catch up with you. You are awesome! Keep hiking and be safe. Donna Parisi

    1. rtkchallenge_w2dqin says:

      Thanks so much. I hope all is well.

  3. jeffrey sabin says:

    Bruce, we missed you and Cheryl at the wedding but reading your blog as you make your trek is much fun and joy. On 6/5 I have will have surgery to replace my right hip and hope rehab makes me able to join you later in july or august on a portion of your trek. Safe travels and good luck!

    1. rtkchallenge_w2dqin says:

      We really were sorry to miss. Congrats though. Good luck with hip. Still hoping to see you around NY/CT.

  4. Jim says:

    Hi Bruce:

    Keep of the hard work and good luck. Stay safe and enjoy as much of the journey as possible. Sounds like you certainly have had some difficult days with weather at times. I hope that they weather continues to improve.

    Take Care,

    Jim H

    1. rtkchallenge_w2dqin says:

      Looking forward to seeing you and your gang in CT.

  5. Margie Ann MacDonald says:

    Hi Bruce, we love seeing the pictures and hearing about your adventures. We are happy to hear you are doing so well. It has been a very unusual spring here near central Canada with cold weather and high winds many days. We will continue to follow your progress and wish you all the best as you hike and enjoy spring in the mountains. Prayers for safe travels, Margie Ann and Rannie from Ottawa, Canada.

    1. rtkchallenge_w2dqin says:

      I can’t thank you enough for following and for the prayers.

  6. Jamie says:

    Keep m truckin’, Bruce. Good stuff!

    1. rtkchallenge_w2dqin says:

      Thanks for following and encouraging.

  7. Laurie Potteiger says:

    It’s been great following you, Bruce. Your photos are wonderful! Thanks for what you are doing to support the protection and preservation of the Appalachian Trail.

    1. rtkchallenge_w2dqin says:

      Much appreciated

  8. Mike McClellan says:

    Love the Podcast! I’ve really, REALLY enjoyed all episodes. Must say, well done on your preparation. Stay safe, happy trails…..Cheers!

    Mike Mc from VA

    1. rtkchallenge_w2dqin says:

      Thanks Mike. Sometimes preparation pays off. Thanks for following.

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