Day 8 (March 31st): Dicks Creek Gap to Muskrat Creek Shelter

Miles hiked today: 11.8
Miles hiked total: 81.4
Miles to go: 2103.9

Today was absolutely beautiful and epic. The sun was shining all day and I believe it got up in the 70s. There wasn’t a cloud in sight. We also crossed into North Carolina today!! One state down, 13 to go!

Gary and Lennie made everyone breakfast, served promptly at 8:15 and announced by a ringing bell. They made everyone eggs, sausages, pancakes, and biscuits. They knew Chrissy and I don’t eat meat, so they made us separate potato pancakes and oatmeal. They were absolutely amazing people. Gary actually thru-hiked in 1991 with his son and then opened his hostel in 1992 and has been running it ever since. If you’re planning a hike, definitely stay at the Blueberry Patch!

Gary dropped us off at the trail at 9:20. Two of the creepy guys also got dropped off, but they didn’t start hiking with us, and Meagan, Chrissy, and I were happy to leave them behind.

The sun finally came out today in full force and I was so excited to see it! I quickly changed into my shorts and took my long-sleeved shirt off and hiked only in a tank top. The sun felt so nice! However, I haven’t experienced a 70-degree day since last summer and the heat quickly took its toll on me. I think I drank close to 9 liters of water throughout the day and ate 6 energy bars (which is a lot for me) just so I could keep going.

Today was tough. I think it was probably the most demanding day for me physically so far. It was essentially up, up, and up all day. Normally, I do well with the uphills and actually prefer them to the downhills, but today I was yearning for some downhill. It didn’t help that my bag weighed more than usual. When we resupplied at the hostel, I ended up with much more food than I needed. I ended up leaving some food behind at the hostel, but decided to hold on to most of it and just add less food to some future mail drops until it all evens out. So, I hiked with more food and more water than usual, it was 40 degrees hotter than I was used to, I didn’t get a lot of sleep at the hostel (because of the creepy boys), the sun was burning me, the bugs were out, and we essentially only went up – this all adds up to a very slow-moving and tired RayLynn at the end of the day. I kept a pretty good pace for most of the day, but the last 3 miles or so really got to me and I felt like I was practically crawling. I was ready to just sleep right on the trail.

We crossed into NC towards the end of the day. Toasted Toad and “Oliver and Twist” (a girl named Kim who’s hiking with her dog, Oliver) all crossed over into NC at the same time as us. We all took pictures and then continued on to the “Ugly Tree,” which is an often photographed tree. After that, it was all uphill to the shelter. We got to camp around 7:00, set everything up, and then made dinner. I’m so tired, I can’t even finish my food. I’m practically falling asleep with the spoon in my mouth.

It’s definitely time for bed. I have a feeling I’m going to sleep very well tonight.


One thought on “Day 8 (March 31st): Dicks Creek Gap to Muskrat Creek Shelter

  1. I’m enjoying your writing and impressed that you’re finding the energy to document almost every day of the hike. My friend Sarah (Ent) is a few days ahead of you, and we haven’t heard from her since a March 23 post on her blog (her folks say she’s doing okay though).
    Hike strong, RayLynn, and keep up the excellent writing!

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