Felt a little sore after the 26+ mile day. It's great to have done a marathon day, but I think it's even better to realize that it's not about pushing high miles for me. Some days there are reasons to aim for more miles than others, but lately I've realized that I'm out here to enjoy this. If that means I do high mile days, great. But if that means I only do 15 miles and call it a day because there's a view I want to camp at or something else enjoyable along the way, I love it. There are many things I'd like to get back to "the real world" for, but for the meantime, I'm here to enjoy this. The AT.
The miles seemed to melt away as we hiked yesterday and I was taking my time and enjoying a comfortable pace. We came across some rock climbers and somewhere around that time on a descent, my left knee started with a shooting pain when stepping down. It lasted for about a half hour. It somehow ended after I was horsing around on some rocks and "going horizontal" on them (see pics). Also came across a lot of blowdown. Wonder if it's leftover from last year's hurricane Irene. When we got near Pine Loop Trail, I was starting to feel like I just wanted to be done hiking for the day. Then we came across a serene setting with the trail running right next to a creek that had a lot of small waterfalls along it. I stopped for a few minutes just to soak it all in and really be thankful for having the opportunity to be out here and enjoying the beauty if nature.
We got to Caesar Brook Campsite, about 3 miles further than we had planned to go. We did 18 miles and set up camp. Nice spot in the middle of pine trees, and near a brook. I met Byline for the first time and we all sat around and made dinner and hung out. I attempted to rinse my clothes in the brook. Hopefully get some of the nastiness out!
The evening cooled down and it was feeling like a good night of sleeping weather was upon us.