While I was hiking this morning, I found myself thinking back to my days in Marine Corps Boot Camp. Every day, before you're ready, you're awakened in order to perform some unpleasant task. Sure, crawling out of a warm sleeping bag is not the same thing as rolling around in the sand or doing push-ups, but the principle remains. Every day you have to do this whether you want to or not. So you might as well want to.
My mom likes to tell people how when I was in boot camp that no matter how bad things got, she could always see a little bit of humor in the letters and postcards I sent home. That tradition continues here on the trail as well.
My hiking buddies from Georgia are now off the trail. Thanks for your message, Geoff. Cheers to you and Matt! I've spent the last three days hiking with a couple of guys named Big Ups and Floats. No one knows anyone's real name out here on the trail. Big Ups is now about a day ahead of me, while Floats will be a day behind because he's taking a day off in Franklin. It's been really interesting to see how news from other hikers travels up and down the trail by word-of-mouth.
Here are some random statistics from the trail.
Number of places so far named Deep Gap, Bull Gap, or Sassafras Gap: 2
Number of individual barred owls heard: 14
Number of individual barred owls seen: 1
Number of fake samurai swords and crumpled up discarded ninja costumes found by the trail: 1