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Showing posts from June, 2016

Appalachian Trail rain and storms

The last few days (weeks?) have been rough. Bear Squad has been doing a series of twenty plus mile days and the rain has been nearly constant. Rain isn't a problem if it comes and goes, but when it lingers it siphons morale. The clouds block the sun making it hard to dry tents and packs and gear and kill the odor causing microbes. Everything is damp and smelly. In the morning I drag on wet socks that squish with every step. My boots weigh twice as much when saturated. Our clothes are heavy and cold. Blisters and rashes proliferate. It is a malaise of unpleasantness that turns all the chores of camp life into burdens. We are slower setting up and breaking down our tents and crawling from our bags. We procrastinate. We force ourselves to eat and sip fluids. We move more slowly. But always we move on.Once we found ourselves trapped on an exposed ridgeline in a thunderstorm with no choice but to lose altitude as fast as possible. We sang to keep our spirits up, but The wind stole our …

Appalachian Trail ticks, blisters, balds, hostels

It has been a rough but rewarding week (I think it's been a week, we mostly measure the days by the amount of food we need to carry. Two of Bear Squad had tick scares. In one case a suspicious rash developed and then receded. In the other instance our biologist discovered a nymph-stage tick on her arm. We have been diligent about tick checks and so she knew the tick had been there less than ten hours. The tick tweezers could not grasp the tick due to its small size and the head broke off and remained lodged in the skin. Panic ensued. We practically dug a hole in the arm to get the head out and then cleaned and dressed the wound. Our worried was great until we met a day hiker who let us use his phone and we were able to get more information. No rash has developed since. The risk of Lyme disease is low. Almost all of Bear Squad has blisters. Some of the blisters have been growing since the rainy days of the Smokies and they look like fat red caterpillars lounging on our feet. I am l…