LoneGrowth

Day 12 (Mile 125.3 – 137.1):

Pushing as hard as I did yesterday was not a good idea. The pain in my left knee had returned rushing down the long decline in a thunderstorm to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). So now both knees are in pain. I was rushing because I had never been so close to a thunderstorm in my life and the safety measures against electric storms is to get to low elevation as soon as possible. It felt as if the thunderstorm was inside me it was so close. The lighting and the thunder were seconds apart.  I regonize that rushing in the most dangerous decline and being on top of that mountain in an electrical thunderstorm were both my fault, it was just so terrifying and miserable. I am likely going to get an actual rain coat. The poncho, while very light, doesn’t do a very good job of containing my heat.  I endured the pain in my knees so I could maintain the body temperature I needed going down the mountain with the help of my music playlist. If I didn’t have access to music, I would not have had the spirit to make it down the mountain as soon as I did in time for everything at the NOC, which most places close at 6pm.  I believe I made it into town around 2:30pm, in time for me to check into a room, pick up my mail, catch up with some fellow hikers, eat two meals in one sitting, shower twice (haven’t showered in what felt like a month) , and grab some more food at the general store (which I happen to be eating now…egg salad sandwich).  I have cravings for things I never considered eating again in large quantities. For example, I do not eat a lot of candy. I was certain I grew out of it, but with this craving I have been burning through candy bars as if they were carrot sticks.

This selfie is best way to depict just how miserable I was.  This was my face if not more intense going down the mountain in the pouring rain.

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What the entirity of the NOC looks like:

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Could have set a record eating both those meals below. Hiker hunger is scary real!

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Those showers bro…

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Cute little room. Very comfy.

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