Flat Tire Hike

Two days ago I took my bike out to Charleston Park to get a workout on the trails. It helps my knee from getting lose and arthritic. Only 0.8 into the 5 mile ride, I hit a tree root, almost tossed myself off the front of the bike, my chain popped off the front, and then I heard a loud hissing noise, as if someone had slashed a car tire. I didn’t get hurt, but I had the walk of shame back to the parking lot with my flat tire rubbing all over the frame and gear components.

On the way back to the parking lot, it was about a 129 ft gain with me pushing a 33 lb bike, frequently knocking my shin into the pedal; I averaged a 30 minute mile almost exactly. I spent most of the walk doing math to make sure it is at least mathematically possible for me to cram a 20 mile hike in each day of the Thanksgiving holiday. As to my stamina, injuries, weather, etc, we’ll see. My wife said it will be a full moon during the hike, so that’s nice if I have to hike later than full daylight.

Today, I walked up the phase 3 section of Sawnee Mountain Preserve with my Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor. I don’t have all the gear I want for the November section hike yet, so I threw in some extra junk I’d never carry up the mountain. The total pack weight was 22 lb. I having a pack was noticeable, but I don’t think it slowed me down much from my normal pace up that trail. I averaged a 27 minute mile. It even rained on me at the end. As I emerged from the trail, the park’s severe weather warning device in the parking lot was flashing - it wasn’t flashing as bright as the lighting, though. Just as I sat closed the door to my car, the rain flipped into full torrential downpour. That’s what I drove through as I stopped by Dominos to get pizza for dinner.

I think the notable outcome from the hike was how my feet slid around in my shoes today. The Injinji coolmax toe socks slid around inside the Darn Tough wool socks painfully squishing into the side of the shoe on each change in incline or sidestep of a rock. I don’t think it would have led to blisters, but it did feel like it could lead to some bruised toenails. The toe box on the Peak 3.5 shoes was nice, I think. Next time, maybe I’ll try just Thorlo LT hiking socks alone.

When I got home, I got an email from REI to confirm the cancellation of my Ursack Allmitey backorder. I’ll get the Garcia bear canister so I can bring the same can to any park and not worry about tossing ropes into trees, etc. I have two $20 off discount codes for the REI 8/3/18 - 8/13/18 sale. I’ll use them on the Garcia, Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol sleeping pad, a long-handle spoon, a stove (if I can settle on actually picking one), a can of fuel, and maybe some trekking poles. I usually just let my hands swell on a long, hot hike, but the waist pockets on the Flex Capacitor interfere with my normal stride, which had me wishing for some poles today. My wife also keeps emphasizing that I get a big enough USB battery to make sure my phone stays charged; I just wonder what that does to my pack weight.

My wife said she wants to pick me up in Hiawassee, but I want to hike all the way to the state line. By then, I’m halfway between the Hiawassee turn at Dicks’ Creek and the next road at Deep Gap. Hitting the state line and turning around is repulsive to me versus keeping NOBO to cover more trail. I don’t think that stopping at Dick’s Creek NOBO qualifies a claim you hiked the whole Georgia section. Maybe I’ll feel different after I get on the trail.

I had a tentative plan to take the Wilderness First Aid course in August as part of my trip prep, but my son’s Cub Scout pack just booked a conflicting Back to Pack event, which trumps my first aid class. Good thing I had procrastinated on registering.

I don’t know what clothes I’m going to prefer on the hike, so I have a silly idea now to bring a different set of bottoms for each day to try different options at long distances. Wearing a Marmot Windridge LS is the obvious pick for my top, so that’s already decided. The average low temperature for Blairsville on Thanksgiving is 39, so I figure with 2000 ft more elevation, I should expect 5 degrees colder. Quite frankly, I’m not sure how to do the layering yet for a trip that could have temp swings between 60 and 35 - I hate being cold. I may take the wool hat I knitted myself - it’s not merino wool, though. I ordered a Buff Thermonet (Creased) today for part of a warm layer.

My wife pointed out that I seem to be more excited about doing a “hike in the woods” than I am about a 2 week Disney cruise through the Panama canal. I haven’t done either yet, but I suspect I’ll like both, just differently; nevermind that I might spend a good part of the cruise thinking about how to train for the hike up to Springer Mountain. I’m undecided on getting a water filter for viruses. I’ve had relatives with Hepatitis and one died from it. I guess for the piece of mind, I’ll probably figure how to string together a Platypus bladder and hose with a virus filter (Aquamira?).

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