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Starchild's notes at the 1/2 point

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Tonight I am at Ironmasters Mansion and Hostel. A place just past the midpoint of the AT and where I will be spending the night. I did get here early spurred on by the half gallon challenge (AT tradition to eat a 1/2 gallon of ice cream in a hour). For me that turned out to only be a pint of mint chip due
to depleted stocks of Ice Cream at the store. Being here has given me some time which allowed me to write a bit more.

Ironmasters Mansion also was perhaps part of the underground railroad (that can not be confirmed) and I just visited the secret hidden room which may be used for that. I'd like to think that it was used as this place is also a stop for my own journey to

Hiking the AT one gets their trail legs, the ability to cover more ground then the usual hiker. I didn't realize how important that is to the AT journey till just recently when two things happened.

Here a AT section hiker joined me and has been with me 8 days. The second thing that happened is I pulled something in my leg. Both things had me slow down and in doing so realized how much the hike changed.

The need to keep moving is apparent very early on. Even a short stop to get something from my pack and I find anyone I was hiking along side is now totally out of sight and takes much effort to catch up. This is the short term effect but the longer term effect of hiking shorter distances at lower speeds has recently been revealed.

Needing to travel slower and shorter days I do feel like a starship captain who lost warp drive. Resupply seams impossibly far away and trail towns as distant as the stars to us. I was not prepared for this and saw my food running critically low. Luckily this is a section with frequent minor resupply options so gas stations and taverns that were close enough to the trail filled in the shortage.

High hiking speed and distances means carrying less supplies and a lighter pack. It also means the ability to take advantage of more resupply options that would not be practical for slower hikers who cover less distance. It also allows the exploration of things like view points that would be impractical for a slower hiker as well as a better selection of places to stay being able to push on to the next shelter if the current one is undesirable. It also combined with the weather forecast on my smartphone allows me to avoid bad weather and reach trail town or hostel safety before bad weather hits.

Those are just some of the benefits of being able to hike fast and far. Once I have adjusted to the pace and higher energy requirement I don't miss things but get so much more. I can still stop if I find something interesting but I have the ability to travel off trail further to other points of interest without taking away from distances I need to keep up with on the AT.

In that my preferred pace is that of the rabbit. Traveling fast and confidently able to stop when I want for a nap and make up that distance. The slow and steady pace of the turtle just is not me. Yes the turtle may have one the race but this is not a race but a life experience and I want to explore all that it has to offer. To me the turtle is the one who really lost.

The turtle and the rabbit also exemplifies another aspect. That of less is more. The less you carry the faster you can go. The faster you can go the less you need to carry. Low pack weight and frequent resupplies serve my pace well. Other hikers do quite the opposite carrying as much as 2 weeks supply and chose to avoid as many resupplies as possible. To each their own or the famous AT saying HYOH. ( hike your own hike)

As I write this today my leg which seemed healed started hurting during the last 2 miles. I have it wrapped in a ace bandage which was advised by a Outward Bound coach who was also hiking. That seemed to help a lot but I will need to see how my leg does tomorrow.

To those who pray my request is for my leg to be healed and I can resume my higher speed journey without injury.

On another note I want to thank all those who have given me positive responses to the emailed Journey of Starchild. It appears that these emails have inspired some of the people and many enjoy receiving it. I am happy that they are well received and also overjoyed it is helping people as well

Peace from the AT 1/2 way point
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