As always, J. and I had a wonderful time in the Smoky Mountains, where we went for 3 1/2 days. We hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail, from Newfound Gap to Cosby Knob. It was roughly 36 miles.
I kept up with J. on all of those miles--even on that 15 mile day I mentioned in my previous post. No more stopping every 10 minutes on a climb to let my racing heart calm down. I just kept going and going. I was the energizer bunny. I finally understood what J. meant when he said, "It never gets easier--just less hard." My legs were working--oh, I felt it!--but that ache just faded into the background, and I was able to let my mind wander as I took in the beauty of the Smokies around me.
This is an important accomplishment, you know. If I was a hobbit in Middle Earth, this means I would be able to keep up with Aragorn.