The plan: TN91 to Hughes Gap

For those of you who were wondering, here’s how the horrible, torturous, semester of no eating and lots of crying ended up:

Mechanical Engineering Analysis: A

Heat Transfer: B

Dynamics of Machinery: A (and I made a really cool 3D printed project that I will be happy to tell you all about)

Materials and Processes in Manufacturing: B

Design and Professionalism: A (and I think I got the second highest grade on the written paper for the project)

So, overall, pretty good. 

My heat transfer class
As soon as exams ended I packed up and went to Birmingham to celebrate my sweet baby sister turning 18 (!!!!!!), then lazed about with my mother for Mother’s Day, and then I moved to Georgia to start my fourth and final co-op rotation. 

I love the company I work for, and they are good to co-ops. It was a hectic start, but to be honest, I feel more confident in myself, and that made work a little easier. One of my goals for this rotation is to be more assertive, and I definitely feel like I’ve become that sort of person the more I’ve been hiking. 

Anyways, as you might know, I’ll be turning 30 on May 23. I’ve had in my mind that I want to be in the Grayson highlands on my 30th birthday, but I never imagined that I’d be far enough along on the trail to have connected my dots all the way there. I figured I’d just jump ahead. 

Well, y’all know me. And you’ve seen the miles I’ve been pulling. And I started looking at the map, and since I didn’t end up at trail days this weekend (carpenter couldn’t make it down and I wasn’t going to go without him. Gonzo is, predictably, MIA) I had time to hike. My work schedule gives me every other Friday off, so that’s three full days of hiking. And you all know what my legs look like. (OH! I hate to bury this story down here because it’s SO GOOD, but oh well. At the grocery story Tuesday night, some guy stopped me and asked me how much I lift. I kid you not.)

So I spent a lunch break looking at miles and doing some calculations and then I called for a shuttle. And tomorrow I’ll be driving up to Hughes gap to spend the night just inside the woods, and Friday morning I’ll meet my shuttle (hopefully; I still haven’t gotten it confirmed). 

I’ve got two 27 mile days and then a 20, but the elevation profile looks pretty sweet and I think I can do it. And it should set me up nicely for a very lovely 30th birthday. I hope y’all are prepared for some great hiking this weekend and next. 

My pack weighs 15.2lbs with all my food and no water. That’s not bad. I could cut weight by switching to the alcohol stove instead of the canister, but I know I won’t want to fiddle with it after those sorts of miles on such a short trip. I’d probably just not eat dinner for two days. 

I am switching to my quilt instead of my bag for this trip. The weather looks mild enough, but I switched out the fleece for my down jacket just in case. 

You can also see some of the behind the scenes stuff– the tripod I’ve been using for my phone, and the Bluetooth remote shutter clicker thing (which needs a new battery) that means I don’t always have to set up the timer if I want a decent picture. 

Also, new flask for the bourbon, courtesy of Casey. And new bourbon, also courtesy of Casey. 

The adventure starts…I mean, TECHNICALLY tomorrow, but the hiking is Friday. I hope y’all will follow along!

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