Day +127, Wednesday

Photo of the Day: Towards the end of my 5-mile hike at Bent Creek. I was proud of myself, pushing the pace on the wide open trails and service roads. I’ve still got a long way to go, but that’s OK. The reward of a healthy body, immune system and bone marrow are worth it. Throughout my life I’ve rebuilt my fitness after being sick, and while a Stem Cell Transplant is extremely different in many ways (okay, many MANY ways), I know what I need to do – take care of my body, spend time on trails, in nature, and do things that make me happy and strong. I dream of backpacking long and beloved trails again – today I thought about the John Muir Trail, a favorite 220-mile footpath along the spine of California’s Sierra Nevada range. I was already organizing logistics in my head to make something like this happen before my graduate school start date – is it likely? Who knows? The point is, is that I don’t want to limit myself and I know that in order to even conceive of another JMT thru-hike, I’ll need to spend time making my body stronger. So today, that’s what I did.

For the life of me, I wasn’t sure what Monster was “thunking” down the stairs. All I knew, was that it was early, and she seemed to be enjoying herself as the “thunk thunk thunking” continued a second or third time. My 4:15 am brain couldn’t quite register – was it the apple for Andy’s lunch that I left on the counter? Can cats even carry an apple? And would an apple go “thunk thunk thunk” down the stairs? Brilliant thoughts indeed. Thankfully I drifted off to sleep.

Later in the morning while at my laptop in the kitchen, I heard the same “thunk thunk thunk” and noticed my Trigger Point massage therapy ball zipping down the steps, chased shortly after by Monster. It was actually very funny, and I nearly fell off my chair laughing.

Today was generally low key. The weather was beautiful – sunny, but not too hot with a bit of wind. After finishing my work this morning, I headed out to Bent Creek and enjoyed a zippy 5-mile hike in just under 90 minutes. The non-technical terrain of Rice Pinnacle Road was kind, in this regard (no root hopping, or dodging of mud puddles). I achieved a heart rate as high as 162 beats per minute on some of the ups, and overall had a great time enjoying the woods, nature and outside.

Doing my best Sinead O’Connor hair, albeit with a bit more highlighted fuzzies.

My drive home was quick, as I had a session with my therapist and wanted to finish dinner prep. Today was night two of Spaghetti Squash with homemade pasta sauce, and so far, so good. It was made even better with a Girl Scout cookie delivery – by the time I took this picture, I had already delved into the PB Patties. Later, it was the Caramel DeLites, which are also just as awesome. The thin mints remain unopened, for now.

YUM.

My body is doing just fine – dry skin, per the usual, as well as drier eyes than normal. I did wear my contacts for a few hours today, but it could be any number of things (dust, pollen, Stem Cell Transplant, etc). I’m tired, have been pushing the water, but that’s also pretty much the norm. I’ve got a kitty curled up at my feet and am listening to Minnesota Public Radio’s classical music station, KSJN. It’s been a lovely evening.

Finally, a few photos from my Sunday hike at Bent Creek – enjoy!

The Biltmore Estate, from a gravel overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Bent Creek Experimental Forest, from South Ridge Road
The long grind up to the intersection of Hard Times (yes, that is the name) and South Ridge Road
Massive tree along Hard Times Road that I’ve always enjoyed during my time in the forest.
Windy, mountain roads. No bears today unfortunately.
One final look at the Biltmore Estate and surrounding mountains.

  1. Girl Scout Cookies are a rite of spring! Such great stuff. And what a treat after a vigorous hike. Your photos are stunning: my favorites are of the windy road and of the Biltmore Estate and surrounding mountains. And, your hair!! Beautiful.

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  2. JMT is on my list, and somewhat near me… so if you want a buddy for that one or support, let me know. Whenever you make it, before schools starts or after. It will be there for you đŸ™‚

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