13.8 miles, 40,139 steps, from Black Gap shelter to Cooper Gap along the AT.
After having a potent reminder that cold water takes a while to boil (and thus more fuel), I realized that I might need another canister for the entire loop. Joan and I decided to do the AT loop portion first so I could purchase some reassurance at Mountain Crossings. After saying goodbye to Susan, we continued up the approach trail.
Today was a day for nostalgia, from the summit of Springer, to having lunch at Long Creek Falls where Joan and I had first talked about the PCT during my first night on the AT, and look at us now! Another dream is rapidly becoming a reality. Unfortunately for my thru hiker ego, stuck in the past 3 months, I had to re-learn pacing to regulate my breathing. So funny how my muscle memory thinks I should be going faster than my current conditioning allows. Also, Sassafras is still a nasty mountain to climb. In other words, I’m out of shape for climbing mountains and was huffing and puffing up the hills. It’s been a while since I’ve had to hike tree to tree! However this is a big motivator to rededicate myself to training. After all, I’m not a thru hiker yet this year!
Gear shake down notes from today:
1. I miss my platypus water bladder. Badly.
2. I love my toe socks! Rain test tomorrow.
3. A consequence of the bulky bear canister and a 50L pack is having to carry my tent on the outside of my pack in the sleeping pad straps. Not liking this, it fell out. Thinking a 65L of the same model may be the way to go for the bulky carries along the PCT. Hoping someone has a used one for sale.