It definitely warmed up fast and Spring it finally here. Starting where we left off yesterday afternoon, I spent 12.25 miles on the Holly Shelter Game Lands and most of the miles ahead looked like the miles behind.

I may have been a little ambitious thinking I would make it all the way to Watha today on my sore legs.

Hard packed sandy road, broken up by intermittent animal noises and tracks. My shins are keeping me slow for the time being and I had no cell signal for almost the entire, so I had to pass the time trying to identify whether any of the tracks indicated that there might be an animal near that wanted to eat me.

There a few were easily identifiable and a few that weren’t so obvious. I tried to put my foot in the pictures for reference. Keep in mind that I wear a size 14 shoe.

Large Cat? Puma tracks?


Deer Tracks in Holly Shelter Game Land



Turkey Tracks


Bear Tracks


Big Foot? Monkey? What the heck?

I had a few minutes of half a bar on my phone, so I called Dad and gave him updates and let him know how the leg healing was going. After he was satisfied and probably tired of barely hearing me because of heavy breathing in his ear, we said goodbyes and I started in on the latest audio book, “The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience”, by Jennifer Pharr Davis. I have met Jennifer and her husband Brew a few times and I’m excited to hear her perspective on endurance as an FKTer as well as a fellow Western North Carolinian.

I’m sure that it’s going to be great, and I’ll review it sometime down the trail as I go, but early into the book she gave me the little bit of boost I needed: she talked about suffering through shin splints. Granted, she was working on 50 miles a day back then, but it still was the right motivation at the right time. I can do this.

After moving back onto asphalt, I stopped about 2 miles away from the game land entrance, found a dusty-looking out of the way tree trunk that desperately needed watering.








As I was tending to the foliage and rocking out to “Meet Virginia”, it seemed that the beat was a little staggered, when I realized that I was hearing gunshots. My business ended a little quicker than planned and I may have upped my time just a little bit for the next mile, trying to get away from whatever target was being pummeled. As I left that section of woods, conspicuous “Bear and Deer Permits Required Before Hunting” signs were up. Perhaps this is not the best part of North Carolina to dawdle on foot or wear camouflage clothing.

After 16 and a half miles, my legs decided they had enough for the day and we headed back to camp. I didn’t quite make it to Watha, but there will be more days, more miles and more Wathas.

Keep moving forward, y’all.





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