I made it passed the 100 mile mark. Can you believe it?! I’m currently sitting at The Inn at the Long Trail’s breakfast table. (At least I was when I wrote this.) I’m staring down a plate of cinnamon pancakes. When I get on the trail with a full belly, I might regret the pancake decision, but right now, I’m standing by it. These pancakes are the best thing I’ve had in… well, in at least 15 days. Food has been a bit of a barrier for me on the trail. I just don’t have an appetite. I have to force myself to eat. In my regular, non-thruking life, I’m counting calories so I don’t go over some daily allowance. It’s a different life out here. I have to purposely stop every few miles and take a fistful of almonds to the face, just to keep on. Soon I’ll go back home, and have to runs a 5k just for looking at a cupcake through a bakery window… but for now, I’m counting calories to make sure I have enough.
I didnt take a zero day, to be at the Inn, but certainly an almost zero, and I’ve been eating since I got here. Potato spuds, Cavappati Alfredo, Nachos, pancakes… and let’s not forget one Long Trail Ale. This Inn has rejuvenated me in a lot of ways. Laundry, shower, real bed… and food, food, food. It won’t eliminate the trail food barrier, but it’ll give me a bounce back for today.
Food hasn’t been the only barrier out here. I feel like every day comes with a new one; the blisters feel better, and then your back hurts, but as one trail friend said, “at least they seem to come one at a time.” Some barriers were expected… blisters, mice, difficulty sleeping, mosquitos and pack weight pain in my shoulders. Then there were the unexpexted, like getting a face full of spider web with every step you take, particularly after a rain storm. Itsy bitsy spider has taken on a whole new meaning. I thought it was just a jingle. We were learning, you guys. We were learning.
The most unexpexted barrier of all… freakin’ porcupine. Those prickly little sons a b’s will eat the bench you’re sitting on. No one told me. None of y’all told me about the porcupine. Everyone says “you’re going backpacking, watch out for bear.” Not Vermonters. Vermonters laugh when you mention bear. “I only know the sound a bear makes when its running away” is the joke out here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still bear bagging. I’m scared as shit. I don’t want to hear the sound a bear makes running towards me or away, but apparently, if you ask a long-trailer about trail barriers, porcupine trump bear. Who would have thought? They are attracted to salt, (sweat) and will chew your shoes, walking sticks, anything they can get their prickly little paws on. The other night, there was a pack of porc’s circling my tent. I felt like I was about to be initiated into some gang against my will. It’s a consent reminder of how irreversibly sweaty I am out here. When you attract porcupine in your sleep, you’ve got real problems.
Barriers or not, I’m doing it! One foot in front of the other, I’m hiking The Long Trail. I might just get to the end after all. Unless, of course, the porcupine eat me in my sleep.