It wasn’t my plan to start banging out such big mile days so soon. It’s the result of a combination of things:
1) The trail is super smooth and the climbs are very gradual which makes for fast walking. I don’t think I ever saw 3-consecutive miles on the AT that were as smooth as what I’ve walked so far (I don’t think I saw 3-miles like this collectively!)
2) I feel surprisingly strong. Even though the trail has been kind underfoot it’s still a lot of time on the feet and I thought it would take longer to adjust (it’s gotta be the shoes…Altra Olympus trail runners)! I’m also surprised the heat hasn’t taking a bigger toll. I guess all my defenses against the sun are working (umbrella, sun-sleeves, hat, scarf, etc).
3) Logistics have also played into my pace. Whether it’s pushing to the next water source or just not wanting to stop until the next bit of shade. All these things combined have made for the bigger miles. Especially, when you don’t have AT shelter to hang out at and pass some time.
The clouds were racing in from the west. Depending on the exposure of the trail it could would be cool and damp, then with one turn of the trail: warm and sunny. This area could see 4-9″ of snow tomorrow! Luckily, I will be at lower elevation, but will likely deal with some desert rains.