Lauren was able to check in by phone tonight. She is likely to be in Hamton, Tennessee, AT Mile 421 on the evening of Thursday 4/27/17.
She is/has: is managing the rain. Has a great hiking partner. Is enjoying other people picking up the pace around her. Is struggling to get her calories in. Is in good condition physically. Is not minding the mud too much. Is trying to avoid shelters. Has woken up to a mouse on her head when sleeping in a shelter. Is eager for sunshine. Has a few blisters now that she swapped shoes and retired her Topo Athletic and switched to Pearl N3 Trail. Is psyched her friend Nikki has a plane ticket to visit in June or July (forgot). Is excited to see Travis in May, is annoyed by know it all 21 year olds, is making new friends. Is sick of potheads, is afraid of bears after meeting a couple in Erwin, Tennessee who had their bear bags destroyed by a bear. Is thankful for hotels and the simple pleasures of cleanliness, comfort and warmth. Is soaked every day due to humidity, is making poor food choices in town. Is doing a great job not comparing this trail to the PCT. Is on target with her goal pace. Is experiencing some pack chafe due to no lumbar support.
Most importantly: Is glad she is doing this.
I indulged last night. I got wrapped up in the 2016 AT FKT Effort by Karl Meltzer, aka SpeedGoat. The film is wicked fun and well worth the watch to understand the same mental game that all thru-hikers face. It felt like a good way to connect with the AT in a time efficient mannor (1 min for every day Karl was on the trail at a 50 mile per day pace). The time and physical stress in a supported FKT is different as a thru hike but I would argue the same mental stress of enduring the grind in the green tunnel is familiar to what Lauren is up against. No matter how you do it, you have to wake up and brave the elements, mud, sweat, bugs etc. in an effort to acheive your dream. There is areason few make it through these hikes. The movie is well worth the watch IMO both as a way to understand the AT as well as get inspired to go for a run.
“Karl Meltzer: Made To Be Broken” recounts the experience of ultrarunner Karl Meltzer and his crew as they set a new Appalachian Trail thru-hike speed record. The beautifully produced film reveals the thru-hiker experience and magnitude of the Trail.
PS: In 2016 Lauren and I were passed by the INCREDIBLE FKT supported effort on the PCT by Karl Sabbe. Totally worth checking out: https://gearjunkie.com/pacific-crest-trail-record-2016-karel-sabbe/2, https://www.trailrunproject.com/blog/2934/dentist-belgium-clipped-day-off-pct-thru-hike-record
Neither the AT or the PCT supported records are as cool as the unsupported FKT records set by Heather Anderson, AKA Anish: http://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/record-setting-runner-has-set-records-on-the-pacific-crest-and-appalachian-trails-whats-next/, http://runhikelivelove.blogspot.com/
This was a fun 5 min… Thanks Anna!
What You Learn Hiking The Whole Appalachian Trail
Listen· 5:02 5:02
April 25, 20174:32 PM ET Heard on All Things Considered CONNOR DONEVAN
My Aunt Mary checked in on Lauren’s progress by email tonight. I realized that we are directing some people to this blog for updates who although competent and tech savy with the internet may not be familiar with a basic element of blogs: RSS.
Simple concept: Why keep checking this silly website to see if there is something new, only to be disapointed, when an update can be dispatched to you instantly the second that an update is posted…. Thus RSS. Bringing the Internet to you instead of you going out to find it.
However you consume the internet, brower, email, standalone feed reader, there is a tool for you to benifit from the little orange button. This concept is how blogs proliferated and people are able to essentially create their own custom newspaper of content streaming to their inbox/feed reader. Here are instructions: https://www.lifewire.com/rss-101-3482781
PS: It took me a minute to find instructions that were dated from the past year, rather than 2004 when RSS was developed.
Lauren and I had a chance to connect by phone on the 18th. There was a tremendously reassuring clarity in her voice. She has hit a rhythm and is easily clearing her 100 mile per week goal. It has been a tough start because many other hikers are not covering as many miles as she is but one of her cohorts Greenbeard (https://thepirategreenbeard.wordpress.com/) has been doing a great job keeping her company and adapting to her schedule.
Many of you know that Lauren and I are drug addicts (as are you). One of the reasons that she sounded so good on the trail is that she has been getting high day after day. Walking in nature, in full sun, fills the body with vitamin D, endorphins, serotonin and dopamine… All the good drugs. Along with my personal favorite, adrenaline, there is little better than filling your body full of incredible hormones and stimulants. Long distance hiking is a fantastic drug dealer.
She has worn through her first pair of shoes, she will likely have 400 miles on the first pair when all done. Food is going well as is the rhythm of her camp selection and logistics. She is avoiding the rowdy shelters and loving the northward progress. It was fantastic to hear from her!
Lauren texted last night after a 22 mile day. Her feet are tired and she is longing for shorts. The tights she has are too hot. She is still hiking with Green Beard (https://thepirategreenbeard.wordpress.com/). Our friend Drogo from the P.C.T. just arrived on trail to hike with her for a bit.
She is picking up her box at Fontana Village, NC on Tuesday 4/12/17.