Highest Elevation – 3347, Sassafras Mountain
Lowest Elevation – 2530 Three Forks footbridge
Mileage – 13.06
Monday morning was a bit cool. For breakfast I ate oatmeal with cinnamon, brown sugar, and powdered milk, which I had mixed up at home and put in a ziplock bag for each morning. The powdered milk made it taste much better when made with water. I also had yogurt pouches that I found at Costco. Jared kept telling me that I had to leave some things home due to weight, yogurt included, but I didn’t listen to him. It was nice to have the yogurt, and I would bring it again. My pack weighed around 32 pounds at the start, which was heavier than I practiced with, but still fine. Each day it got a bit lighter as I ate more food.
We got things packed up and headed out. Other than being stiff from lying on the ground, I felt pretty good. All throughout the hike, I never had sore shoulders, felt any pain in my back or around my waist like some people we met complained about. My pack felt heavy in the morning or after Jared joked that he put rocks in it, but never unbearable.
At times as we went up really steep climbs, I thought why am I doing this, but then I would get to the top and feel accomplished. I also never stopped for breaks during the really steep climbs. Many times Jared would stop and I would pass saying I would keep going. I just stayed slow and steady. If I stopped, I didn’t think I would have the momentum to start back up.
The day was bright and sunny and the trees looked nice with their green leaves against the blue sky. Sometimes it felt like we were still in Wisconsin because the trees were very similar. Every now and then we would come across a water source and there might be a log bridge or stepping stones. We also took a side trail to see a waterfall. Lunch was at a shelter, I had ramen, trail mix, and a beef stick.
We stopped for the day at Justus Creek. Jared hung the bear bag so the bears wouldn’t get our food. We had a nice spot above the creek off on our own. Some girls took a bath in the creek, which isn’t great for the water source, and they smelled strongly of soap. I had soap leaves made for traveling and wet wipes which worked good enough for living in the woods.