Miles Ridden – 180
Total Miles – 421
Today’s Travel Time- 10.5hrs
Animal Totem- Porcupine
What I learned today – There is a very fine line between being terrified and having fun.
Learning our lesson from yesterday’s unexpected events, we were up at 6am, eating and packing up camp in a light drizzle. My dad didn’t have a rain hat so in typical Macgyver fashion he crafted one out of a plastic bag 🙂
The morning drizzle continued and fog began to gather around us as we climbed up, up, up a forest service road which overlapped with the Appalachian Trail for a few miles.
Eventually we were so completely socked in by fog we could barely see the trail in front of us much less the view from the top. Low visibility and slick conditions added to the already rocky forest service road had my adrenals pumping- what if I had to break and turn at the same time?! But after a little while of this I suddenly realized- I was having the freaking time of my life!!! I was present, focused, alive. The majestic fog was beautiful, the air crisp and cool. Yes, life was good.
After we came down out of the fog we made our way winding through the gorgeous mountains to Hot Springs, NC, where the TAT and the AT run right through town. By the time we pulled in to refuel the sun was blazing and the morning’s mist and drizzle was a distant memory.
We laid out our wet gear to dry on our bikes and got a bite to eat. During lunch we looked at the TAT maps and made the assessment that our original goal of 200 miles a day was quite simply not gonna happen given the terrain and our pace.
On to plan B! Well we didn’t have a plan B….so we’re just gonna have to make it up as we go along. Luckily I love all things maps, planning and navigation so that night at camp I sat down and hatched a tentative plan for the next 3 days with the new goal of 150-175 miles/day.
After lunch we popped into an outdoors store where dad got a proper rain hat and I got a new friend- Henry! Henry is a little Porcupine finger puppet who likes to ride along on the back of my bike 🙂
He caught my eye and I just had to snag him. Porcupines represent innocence, fun, and a playful child-like spirit. I hope Henry will help me remember why I’m here whenever I start taking the TAT too seriously.
The rest of the afternoon was mostly spent on pavement, winding through the amazingly beautiful Smoky Mountains.