A week of struggles and challenges ends with laughs

This week has been filled with struggles and challenges most caused by my own doing. In no particular order here is what I went through. 

We neroed in Troutville and it was a beautiful day. I spent the afternoon treating all my gear with permetherin to help keep ticks off me. We set out the next day and it was another beautiful day. I was able to start the day in shorts and my tank top. Bruce and my in-laws meet us for some trail magic part way through the day when I reached them there were two lost very large furry dogs hanging with them. They we gorgeous and so friendly. I cuddled and sharedy snacks with them. Afterwards I looked down and there it was, a black dot on my leg. I couldn’t freak out cuz there were too many people around, my trail friends that you realize how crazy I really am. It was a tick and had already attached. Thank you Cookie Monster for the tweezers, I lost mine. I got him out safely but then my nerves we racked up. Made calls to the doctors and no one beside me was worried. All is well though. No fever. No typical market left that is a sign of infection. 

Also at Troutville I sent all my cold gear back with Bruce. Weather had been so nice for a week I decided I didn’t want to carry the weight anymore. No need. Hah!!  There was a need. A couple days had me freezing at night. I had no wool Pjs and only a sleeping bag liner. After the first night of very cold sleeping or trying to sleep I spent the day thinking of how was I going to make it 2 more nights. Along the trail I actually found a fleece blanket. I kept it and it helped a little that night. The third night was the coldest at 3400+ feet elevation. I resorted to emptying my backpack which is just when big pouch, and slipped my feet and legs into. I actually fit my lower half into it. I was pleasantly surprised how much warmer it kept me. 

Along with ditching my cold gear I left all items that I didn’t think I would need any time soon just to shave ounces and space. Wouldn’t you know it. Two days into my  5 day stretch in the woods and Mother Nature busted through the door. How can that be? This made the third time in two months on the trail have had to deal with my monthly visitor.  I had no idea what to do. In my possession was just enough tissue for normal use to gete through. I decided to ask every female hiker I saw if she could help out. Usually females on the trail are scarce but not that day. There were more girls on the trail than guys that day. But not one of them had anything to share. I did beg for tissue from everyone I saw and it worked. One evening when we got to a campsite Still Bill was hitching a ride to a store for a beer run. He asked me what I wanted. My reply was a Pepsi please. I never thought to ask him to gete a box of feminine items. That night there were 4 guys and me sitting around the fire having some good chat. There is nothing like spoiling the mood. I knew I couldn’t make it to town without supplies. I said, “guys, I need help. Who has extra tissue or T-paper, I am a girl in need” they were all so helpfully.  Still Bill gave me his roll and Walking Man gave him wipes. 

The last issue I had was running out of fuel. Last night out cooking dinner my flame went out. I realized I had grapes a partially used canister instead of a full one from my supply box. 

I survived. My hiking buddies keep teasing me and enjoy a good laugh whenever they can at my expense. It’s all in good nature. I made it to town. Bruce has joined me so I have all my gear and last night I actually was sweating. 

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.