DAY 20: THURSDAY, MAY 19
Cumulative Miles: 283.9
"Thankfully, there were white blazes in the middle of the road, so I followed
them. East then South then East then South, etc. Eventually found
myself on a trail I know, I-95 and made it home." -
Squawroot, above, an unusual fleshy plant with tiny
yellow flowers; bears love to eat it! Photo taken 5-13.
Below, tranquil pond between Pump Gap and Mill
Ridge, north of Hot Springs, NC. Photo taken 5-18.
Robin is an ultra runner from VA who is thru-hiking the AT this year the
traditional way. He wrote recently about driving home in a rental car for a
short visit with his wife after hiking 1,200 miles so far on the Trail.
I thought about Robin's "white blazes" analogy as Jim and I made our first
trip home to the Roanoke, Virginia area on I-81 yesterday afternoon.
Being on a freeway and rocketing along at 70 MPH was a shock to my system
after three weeks on the Appalachian Trail. Jim drove
the four hours home. I was too tired and brain-dead from my run to drive.
the shock to Robin's system was worse when he drove himself home.
He is not crewed, but is staying on the Trail or in towns on his
I'm on little roads every day, going to
and from trail heads, and I see towns more than he does.
Coming home periodically was in our original plan for this trek. About every
three weeks we need to do some things around the house, get our mail, and pick
up things we've ordered while we were gone (this time the critical items are
Celebrex samples and Blist-o-Ban bandages).
And I badly need the two-day rest and a massage!!
I saw my massage therapist this afternoon. Nothing has been sore recently
except my back (from carrying too much water last Sunday in the Smokies).
But I haven't been doing enough self-massage or using the "Stick" like I
should during this trek. Ruth found several tight muscles that have been
over-worked. Hopefully, loosening them up will prevent pain or injuries when I
get back out on the Trail Saturday.
Jim and I have been gone from home only three weeks, but it seems much longer
to both of us. We've had trouble remembering where things are, like the
silverware! It's pretty comical. We didn't have that problem after a month
in Leadville, Colorado last year. Why now?
I think the intense effort of running and crewing in this adventure run is
the reason. It's not a vacation for either of us. It's hard work.
We have to treat this time at home like we would in an ultra when we get into
an aid station: remember the purpose of the stop, get our business
done as efficiently as possible, don't "grow roots," and get back out on the
Tomorrow I'll share some thoughts about my adventure run so far - what's
working, what isn't, what needs tweaking.