3 1/2 months sure came quick! The days and the miles are flying by and we've been out here for over 100 days... It's a long time to be living in the woods! It's weird how accustomed we are to this life already; sleeping in a tent on a thin pad, eating the same (not so good) foods every day, never being/getting clean, planning our days according to water sources.. Oh yah and hiking everyday all day long! The list goes on of how different this is from our regular civilized lives. The change is real but we have adapted and I'm sure if we were to be out here for a few more months we would slowly lose the desire for civilized customs. As of now we still do enjoy staying in a hotel/hostel where we can have a shower and a bed and the comforts of convenient food and water. Also the treat of relaxing and watching a movie!
Physical Changes and Challenges
Luckily we haven't really had any injuries since Silverbacks shin splints. His shins are doing well now.
I have been making sure I stretch every night before bed and every morning before getting hiking again. It has been helping a lot, my knees don't hurt as bad and overall I feel more ready for each day. Silverback has not taken the advice to stretch very well even though he sees the difference it makes in me... Stubborn Skinner.
Doing high mileage days consecutively has taken a bit of a tole on our feet, there isn't a day that goes by that our feet don't ache. Usually by about 10 miles our feet start hurting, but as long as we take a good lunch break then we can push out another 10 before we start hobbling around like a dog with a sore paw.
The last few states have been really dry and we have had a few days when we planned on camping near a stream/spring but it was dry so we had to move on. Luckily trail Angels have been leaving water caches near many of the roads, we're very thankful for those.
We've noticed that our sweat has started to smell of ammonia, which is a really bad sign. Apparently it means that our bodies have began to burn off muscle. To solve this issue we need to start eating more and focus on getting more protein and carbs into our diet. As you have seen in our last video we have opened a GoFundMe to help us afford more town stops in order to get more food in our bellies.
Some bad news is that Recon's feet never really recovered from getting plantar fasciitis and so although he was back on trail and catching up, his feet just weren't holding up. So sadly he had to say goodbye to the trail. We got to see him once more though on the 4th of July, he also sends us pictures of himself "checking in at 0 feet above sea level" (him on a beach)
Xena isn't too far behind us, she's been a real warrior with the trail. She's been sick and injured plenty along the way but she just keeps hiking! She had to get off trail for almost 2 weeks because she tripped and jammed her hiking pole into her shoulder causing a flare up of some serious tendinitis... So she was home for 2 weeks and then had decided she would just get to the halfway point and finish the rest next year but I guess the warrior princess in her just wouldn't let the hike go because she continued trekking her way north. Recently though she has sprained her ankle something fierce and has been stuck in Vernon, New Jersey.
We were hiking with Shade for a while but then she and some other hikers (Dirty Mike & The Boys) stayed in a hotel in Pennsylvania and we kept going. We recently heard from Shade and she has decided to get off trail, she actually made her way to Toronto to visit a friend! She beat us to Canada! Shade really impressed us and proved herself to be quite a strong hiker. Out of all of us she has done the biggest day so far at 27 miles. Dirty Mike & The Boys slack packed a 27 mile stretch and ended in town in a hotel and Shade decided near the end of our day that she wanted a bed and a shower so she went beast mode and did 27 miles as well, without slack packing! Although she is done for the year she plans to finish the AT next year and we hope we can cheer her on in her final trail moments.
We've been hiking with Dirty Mike & The Boys for a few hundred miles now. They're a hilarious group of guys, but they're slowly starting to disperse now. It's difficult to keep a group together out here no matter how hard you try. Our friend Pippin said it best: "You have to hold on to people with an open hand out here." Apparently the boys are right behind us so hopefully they catch up soon!
We've been leap frogging with Pippin for a few days. We actually met him almost 1,200 miles ago in Tennessee and have run into him many times along the way. We just caught up to him again in New York. Pippin is cool.
It would be nice to have the statistics on how many hikers out here have actually hiked the whole trail so far. We have met many who decide they don't feel like hiking a day or a section or a whole state and just hitch a ride up ahead. One of the big rules out here is to "Hike your own hike", we try not to mind the hikers who choose to yellow blaze but it really bothers us when they claim to be thru-hiking but yet have skipped hundreds of miles. We work really hard to get to where we're going and it's discouraging to run into people we have already passed hundreds of miles ago.
When people hear we are married they always say "The trail will either bond you or break you." And I think it's fair to say that since we have come so far already, the trail has bonded us. We have come 1,520.6 miles and have 668.5 to go! We have seen many people quit the trail so far but we feel determined to finish. Having two people obviously increases our risk of having to quit, but I think it also increases our chances of making it to Katahdin because we always have each other and never have to deal with the loneliness of the trail.
Since we have opened our GoFundMe account we have had many generous donations and we are very grateful for that. Just having the support of our friends and family is a tremendous motivation. Now knowing that we will be able to nourish our bodies more than we have been gives us a real peace of mind.
Thank you so much everyone. This is such an incredible journey and we are adamant on getting to Katahdin!
We rest in knowing that the author of all things watches over us.