Two weeks! Today is my 2 week mark of being on the trail. I finally got my trail name today- "Tommy Lee Jones". Thanks to Skittles. I bent my hiking pole when I fell yesterday, and the outfitter at the NOC replaced it for me this morning, only problem is that it has a shock absorber in it so now one is shock absorbing and the other isn't. It's kind of anoying, but at least its straight. We had breakfast at "the rivers end" restaurant, and I finally mailed out the first installment of this journal.
We left the NOC knowing full well that the entire hike today was uphill, but I don't think that any of us were prepared for the steepness of what we encountered today. It was wild. 50-60 degree climbs with no switchbacks. Boulder trails with no solid footing, so the rocks I was walking on would suddenly shift and tilt. It was THRILLING! and the views at the NOC gorge were great from "the Jump-Up" - basically a rock cleared of trees high enough to allow a good view. Somehow we managed to forget to stop for lunch. So even though it was only 6 miles today, we were feeling pretty weak. Tried to cook some angel hair pasta, but that went to hell in a handbasket. I ended up with a solid brick of noodles, so I mixed in butter (from the restaurant this morning) and crushed up some cheese crackers to make it, well, barely palatable. Worst meal I've had thus far. I cooked Roman just so I could eat comething less awful. It's 9:10pm and I'm about to go to sleep here at the split-level Sassafras Gap shelter.