Day 31: Erwin, TN to Cherry Gap Shelter

Today’s mileage: 17.5
Total mileage: 359.0

As much as I enjoy nero and zero days, I always find myself laying in bed a bit longer so I can savor the warm, clean sheets and soft pillows for a few more minutes. Those comfy hotel beds make it difficult to leave.

We had a filling breakfast at the Holiday Inn before we walked about a mile back to the trail. We crossed the Nolichucky River and headed back into the woods. My feet were giving me a hard time today and my right knee was really hurting today, more so than usual. I iced it at the hotel last night and I took some Advil tonight. I hope it feels better tomorrow, because if it gets any worse, I’ll be limping down the trail pretty soon. I’m so ready for some new shoes in Damascus and I think I might have my parents send me my knee brace. I did have some issues with my knee a few years ago, so this isn’t something new. My knee just doesn’t have the time to heal like it would if I was at home.

We hiked to Beauty Spot Gap this afternoon, another bald. We saw another controlled burn in the mountains beyond Erwin from there. It was quite windy, so we didn’t spend much time up there. We climbed Unaka Mountain afterwards, which was steep in the beginning. We kept up a good pace though and near the top, we entered a spruce forest. We enjoyed hiking through it since it was different than most of the hiking we’ve done so far. It was very green and dense in some areas.

We are tenting again as we continue to avoid shelters. It’s lightly raining, but we don’t mind. Our tent has become our little home and I look forward to crawling in my sleeping bag every night after a long day of hiking. Our mileage seems high today, but even with my knee and feet bothering me, it didn’t seem so bad. We hiked the 17.5 in about 8 hours. The terrain wasn’t too difficult today, but we had some good climbs. We must be getting faster, because we made really good time today despite getting a later start. Virginia here we come!

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2 thoughts on “Day 31: Erwin, TN to Cherry Gap Shelter

  1. Mark Johnson says:

    I have been enjoying reading about your journey. I am a section hiker and I have completed almost a third of the trail. I will be picking it up again in July starting in Erwin.

    You mentioned that you are having trouble with knee pain. I had a similar problem and then a hiker who was a center on the Vermont women’s basketball game showed me a stretching exercise that really helped. You lay on your side and grab the upper foot behind you and pull it back to stretch your quads. Then place the heel of your other foot on your knee and press adding a little bit to the stretch. This not only stretches the muscles but also the tendons in the knees. For some reason this eases the inflammation in the knee and helps it to feel better. I hope that it helps you.

    My trail name is Green. Enjoy your walk in the woods!

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