Day 17 – IAT 280.5 | ZERO DAY!

This is a well timed zero day.  Our clothes are all dirty, we are out of food, our feet have many blisters, Brianna’s shin is injured from we don’t know what and my beard smells like my pillow case – several days of sweat, dirty feet and slobber.

Whether planned or unplanned, zero days are a time to rest your body and resupply, when possible.  Sometimes a zero day pops up because of sickness like it did for our friends Chicka & Sunsets, who were forced to get off the trail for a day after day 3 or 4 due to a sudden and violent illness.  Ideally though, zero days are planned and you can get ready for the next big trail days.

Imagine Brianna and I mathing out how many days we need food for and sorting through everything very meticulously.  If we miss a meal, there is nowhere nearby to pick up new supplies, you will go hungry.  If we carry too much food, that’s extra weight your body has to carry across hundreds of miles.  

You might be saying to yourself, “I’d rather carry all the extra meals and definitely not go hungry.”  I get it. Keep in mind that the more you carry, the more you need to eat, the slower you walk, the more damage your feet take, the faster you fatigue, the less likely you are to physically make it to the end of the trail.  If you take a modern consumer approach to hiking, you’ll have way more of everything than you actually need.  Why not take extra toilet paper? More clothes? Another bottle of bug spray?  Long distance hiking is about making a plan and living with the fact that life happens.

And at the end of it all, even when we are in the middle of nowhere, Brianna and I are not alone.  We probably won’t have anyone rushing to our aid if we run out of toilet paper, but if we ever get into a real bind, help will come.  We’ve learned that locals have our backs.  We’ve always known that from Florida to Georgia, Kentucky to Ohio, Michigan, “help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.”  I think this Harry Potter quote is a good reminder that even though we strive for independence and self sufficiency, it’s rarely that simple.

Brianna & I mapped out mileage for the next 7 days over coffee and quickly realized that we will need some big miles and will not be able to carry 7 days worth of food, so we asked for help.  Brianna put a quick call in to the local IAT trail coordinator, Ruby, and asked if she knew anyone who would be willing to drop our prepackaged food off to us on Sunday morning before we start our day.  Without much back and forth, Ruby agreed to help us!  With Ruby’s help and the hidden cache we socked away on the drive in (hopefully it is still there) our packs should be relatively light.

After sorting and counting our food a few times, we packed everything up and drove over to the city of Tomahawk, Wi.  Brianna and Mel dropped me at the laundry mat while they visited Ruby to drop our resupply bag off.  

My experience at the laundry mat was uneventful.  Our clothes are cleanish, the arm pits of my shirts still have a hint of body odor.

Brianna and Mel reported back that the trip to Ruby’s was a success.  Ruby and her husband gave us some good future trail info and seemed happy to help.  I’m sure it didn’t hurt to have Mel’s people personality and epic beard around during first impressions, or that Brianna is a cute and innocent looking blonde gal.  If we ever need to hitchhike, I’ll be hiding in the woods while Brianna tricks people into thinking it’s just her.  I’m half joking, that is a tactic hikers use.  People are far less likely to stop for a solo man or a lady and a man.

I couldn’t tell if Mel was amazed or amused as Brianna and I continued running around and prepping for an early morning departure.  I put up the tent to let it air out for a while Brianna soaked her feet in some epsom salt and iced her shin.  Brianna cut my hair.  I Sawyer bug sprayed our newly clean clothes.  We both replenished our toiletries and recharged electronics; packed, unpacked and repacked our bags.  

Mel capped the evening and trip off by grilling, not just steaks, Kentucky grown grass fed back straps (Thank you Mel, uncle Tom & aunt Vickey!). Even without a thermometer, they were  cooked to perfection.  Brianna and I used our neck knives, but the meat was so tender that we probably could have cut through them with a spoon.

We are headed into the woods without a town for the next 7 days.  Communication and posts will be limited as we strive to conserve battery power.  Happy trails!

3 Replies to “Day 17 – IAT 280.5 | ZERO DAY!”

  1. Talked to Mel this morning and he filled me on on your progress. I’ve read all your blogs and caught up with your trip thus far. Sounds, and looks like quite an adventure.
    I had hernia repair surgery yesterday and am now in recovery mode. Will check on your site and live vicariously through your travels.
    Love you

  2. Will be checking on the Garmin this week make sure you’re still moving along. Safe travels as always my peeps.

  3. So glad you enjoyed the steaks. Happy that Mel was able to come restock and recharge y’all.

    Love y’all, be safe. Uncle Tom.

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