Hey all,

Hope y’all’re well, I know I am! If you have been reading Jason’s blog you have heard a new thing hurts every day, but I say too each day is easier and better than the last.

We’ve had lots of small accomplishments in the past almost 2 weeks: mile 100, first state completed, first >15 mile day, and trail names got: I am “Boogerbear,” for the snore sounds my cold gave me that frightened my campsite neighbors early on. (My cold has even more mostly gone away now.) Jason, meanwhile, is trying on “Ya-ah[-ah],” for the sound he used to alarm me that my crocodrillo shoe was on fire from my stove (we all count on each other out here, heh). These may change- we’ve heard of people renaming as late as Vermont, and I’m naturally still open to those cute girls calling us “Chops” and “Chile.”

Most mornings are cold, but the walking warms us up quickly, and like Silas Stingy the dirt keeps us hot. We’ve passed through drippy, misty mountain clouds where the big lichen-covered boulders could be mistook for grassy hills, and on sunnier days looked out on miles of sleeping trees and dead needle-less pines spread on the mountains like unmoving waves.

We’ve stopped for showers and resupplying twice before this longer stay, a “zero” day, so called because we’re not hiking any miles, except to the laundromat and grocery (and bar). Each day brings new lessons and surprises, especially around routine and improving our gear choices. We’ve shook down and up once, and today are seeking the “shoe guru” to see if he’s all that or just a good salesman (so far he’s sold the same pair twice so we raise our eyebrows).

There are so many interesting people out here, and it’s neat to hear their stories and takes while spending time with them at camp or on the trail. The flow of folks as they speed up, slow, break, or quit has given us a couple groups we’ve paced with. There’s lots of alone time, too, of course. Even when we start and stop together Jason and I may walk hours apart, nearby or occasionally stretched, though the fog may make it feel further.

I haven’t busted out my mp3 player yet but I often think of music. I’ll list the songs usually stuck in my head here so you can follow along at home. I may make a Spotify playlist if enough of these are on it. Some of these have obvious reasons to be stuck I won’t note here, but it’s in my journal so you can bug my folks once they get it.

  • Waterloo Sunset (The Kinks)
  • Qualifiers (Open Mike Eagle)
  • Not Just Knee Deep (Parliament)
  • Cool Water (Sons of the Pioneers or Riders in the Sky)
  • Town Business (Das Racist)
  • Always Safety First (NRBQ)
  • Cecilia (NRBQ)
  • Romance Without Finance (Tiny Grimes)
  • A Chicken Ain’t Nothing But A Bird (Cab Calloway)
  • Potato Chips (Slim Gaillard)
  • Beef Rap spoken intro (MF Doom)
  • Five Bottles Mambo (Yma Sumac)

In less than a week we’ll be heading into the Smoky Mountains for some of our highest peaks and likely chilliest nights. We’ll might push pace a little, we’re currently hitting 8-12 miles a day depending on elevation extremity, but more important is that our legs and feet are well.

The trail is and will continue to be a magical experience but I do think of all you friends and family and of course miss y’all.

See you soon,
Patrick

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