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22 November 2008 no comment

(Savage Gulf State Natural Area – typed on the trail – Day 1)

Taking a break on the trail. Been hoofing it for about 55 minutes, and I think I’m about one and a half miles in. I’m not in the shape I thought I was. At least to be carrying forty pounds of gear. I have to spend some more money and go lighter-weight.

I’m eating pecans as trail “mix,” since I’m still on South Beach Phase One. I am seriously missing the carbs right now. There are some hills that make my heart do roughly 180 or so (I know because there’s a feeling I get when my heart beats that fast). Anyway, here’s the data:

N 35•26.680
W 085•33.580 at 1405CST

I’m starting to get chilly again; there’s a slight breeze, and I’ve been sweating, of course. More later.

Another break, this one mandatory

Holy cow. My legs are screaming. They want sugar. Now.

N 35•26.750
W 085•34.856 at 1540CST

This trail is harder than Long Hunter. I’m not going all the way to the camp I planned; I’m stopping at the Stagecoach camp. I can still just see the sun over the hill, so I have plenty of ambient light left. But I am ready to get the tent set up and crash for a bit. I hope there’s a fire ring, but the way this area is maintained, I’m doubting there will be.

My gear is performing well – so far, anyway. The tent will be the big question, although since the skies are sunny and expected to remain that way thru tomorrow, the tent won’t get a real workout.

Okay, legs are silent again. I’m off.

Addendum:  I sat still long enough to let deer surround me. When I stood up, I spooked a pretty big buck, and he was ANGRY. Amazing.


Well, I’m here. I got to camp at 4:30. Started gathering wood immediately, then realized its going to be too windy to build a fire in the ring. So, I put up the tent, and am now boiling water so I can have some tea. That should both warm me up and tide me over til about seven. I’ll make my chili and green beans then. I will probably read for a bit (brought TWO books), then crash and see how much sleep I can get. If I wake up before one or so, I have a snack prepared of Chicken Salad and black olives. And, I will (at some point) make a protein shake. I need those BCAA’s right now. Hopefully I sleep well; I tend to hear EVERY sound in the woods at night.

I think I made a mistake in choosing Chattanooga as my benchmark for sunset/dusk calculations. Chattanooga is on the western edge of the Eastern time zone. That means daylight is extended as late as it can be. I, on the other hand, am on the Eastern edge of the Central time zone, with the commensurate shift. It is way dark right now. So, I don’t expect to see morning twilight until about twelve hours from now.

Its getting cold very fast now. Its windy and noisy, too. This starts a twelve-hour period in which I keep telling myself that this was a GOOD idea. I kinda wish I could at least TALK to someone friendly. Oh well. At least nature is friendly, when you know what it’s saying.

Morning (day 2)

6:35. It is cold; 30• by my thermometer. Wind chill is much lower. I’m making tea in hopes that warms me up. It’s amazing how strong the wind was last night. Tent held up fine, although it let the occasional cold draft in.

Tea is ready.

N 35•26.863
W 085•35.633

I realized I forgot to put down the coords for camp. So breakfast is done; probably about 300 calories, with maybe three or four grams of carbs. That’s probably why my legs cramped like crazy last night. It took me three and a half hours to get here yesterday. I’m hoping for four or less back to the Jeep. Now its time to break camp. We’ll see if I have the mental state to type more on the trail.

Oh, and I just stepped out of the tent. It’s snowing.

Home, as it were

I’m in the jeep. I left the campsite at 8:00, and its noon right now. I’ve been sitting in the jeep just warming up. I’ve also cheated on my South Beach – I just had a Frappuccino bottle from Starbucks. 37 grams of carbs, but my body is screaming for it. I’m also about to have a diet Vitamin Water, and the second half of a sugar-free Rockstar.

Oh, warmth. I brought a change of clothes, but I don’t care right now. I’m going to warm up a bit more, avail myself of the toilet at the ranger station, then make my way back toward Nashville. I’m turning the ringer off vibe and onto loud so I hear the moment I pick up signal. I know my job all too well; there will be a shitload of emails. I will then ignore them for the moment and call my certainly-freaked-out wife.

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