Trail location: 1485
Cumulative miles hiked: 2204
Miles hiked today: 15.63
High/low temp humidity: 84/62/20
Spinning on the turntable: Richard K. Morgan: Altered Carbon
This morning I’m starting off early with the hope of beating the heat later on today. I have a nice little hill climb to start my morning. I woke at 4AM and was hiking by 5:15.
I’m not sure if I prefer starting with a hill climb or ending the day with a hill climb. I think I lean slightly towards starting with a hill climb. It certainly beats a cup of coffee to get the blood flowing!
One of the things that I really enjoy is capturing the morning sun when it begins to shine through the trees. This is my favorite hiking time of day.
I have moments of tranquility and peace while I’m hiking. When the grade is slightly downhill, the path is soft and the light is gentle. These are the moments I enjoy. It’s challenging to remember that I won’t have these downhill moments to savor without the uphill work to get there.
Towards the end of my day I met a horseback rider. Having spoken with other riders on the trail in 2019, I recalled their advice and moved well off the trail and stopped. The rider told me to come back on the trail and said his horse was a bit skittish so the rider wanted me well out of the way.
The rider was telling me that his horse, Tux, is a Tennessee Walker. They’ve been riding these trails for the past six years and haven’t encountered any other riders. Matt was curious if I’d seen any other riders. I told him that I have have seen less than ten in my 2000+ miles of hiking so far. I think only one of those riders was actually going for a good distance on the trail, compared to the other riders that I’ve met who were day riders.
It was fun to hear that normally they’ll ride about 35 miles in a day. 5 MPH was a good speed for Tux, but the rough trail conditions (HA! I wasn’t imagining it!) in this area bring their speed down to about 3MPH. If Matt is pushy, Tux can travel along at 7MPH.
During our five or ten minutes of conversation Tux spun in a circle once or twice. Matt was pulling on the reigns to keep him under control. Not being a horse person, it was a bit concerning to me. I backed up off the trail to give them plenty of room. All in all, it was a fun way to end the day of hiking.
I stopped hiking a few miles further down the trail near a spring. I chatted with a few younger NBTH. Their current personal best was 37 miles in a day, and they’re shooting for the low 40’s soon. They both hope to be able to match Dixie and hit 60 miles in a day when they do the 24 hour challenge in Oregon. The 24 hour challenge is where you hike 24 hours continuously to see what kind of distance you can accomplish. Honestly, between you and I? I’m just way too old, and way too lazy for that silliness.