Day 120: Doing Nothing

Doing “nothing” is never quite doing nothing, of course. Any zero day here involves plenty of pack maintenance and other chores, as you’ve probably gathered by now. But it’s still intensely relaxing and wonderful to be able to just hang out and not do a whole lot, compared to hiking all day long.

Eating was a big part of our day — six pancakes, bacon and eggs for breakfast; a Monte Cristo sandwich and milkshake for lunch (room service!); and a steak for dinner. We explored the lodge some, including greeting the adorable goats that live out front in a pen (goat food available at the front desk) and checking out the taxidermied bobcat that lies on top of one of the sofas in the lobby.

For dinner, we managed to grab a ride with Gigi, a fellow through-hiker, and three of her friends into Ashland, where our friends Treeman and Hedgehog are staying. We ended up in a big group of a dozen or so people at Omar’s, a local restaurant very close to the campus of the university in town. One of the few downsides to staying at Callahan’s is that we didn’t really get a chance to explore Ashland at all, and I’ve heard it’s a particularly cool town. We did certainly enjoy our time there, though.

An amusing story: just after dinner, we stopped across the street at a 7-Eleven. At this point, hiking 23-mile days, it’s become obvious to me that I need even more calories per day than I’d originally accounted for — there are about 4,500 calories per day in our resupply boxes, and I probably need more like 5,500 — so I’ve started supplementing our food with stuff I buy in town, and that mostly means junk food. (Anything else is just far too heavy per-calorie to carry along.) Anyway, this means we came up to the counter of the 7-Eleven with something like $35 worth of every kind of junk food you can imagine: brownies wrapped in plastic, those “fruit pies” available everywhere, cookies, Oreos, everything.

The clerk started ringing us up and, just before being done, just said (with great understatement)…”that’s a good amount of sugar you got there”. I love being places where they aren’t used to through-hikers, because our habits just make us look completely insane to everybody else. I laughed, and told him what we were doing. I’m still not sure it made him any less horrified, but, hey, whatever. At least we got our food and won’t be hungry on the trail!

Tomorrow, we head out of here, back to the trail and onwards. But, before then, one last wonderful night in a real bed!

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