At Mile 177.0 of the AT on Sunday, April 19, 2015 (7:29 PM). Google Maps link to my location: http://maps.google.com/maps?z=14&t=m&q=35.54583,+-83.79346 Kevin and Mark arrived in Fontana Village yesterday and after some good food, sleep, and a solid breakfast we headed out for the trail. Once we got dropped off we had to hike to and cross the Fontana Dam and then make our way into the Smokies. Kevin and Mark are troopers! We did about 12 miles today. Most of it was up hill. The southern entrance into the Smokies on the AT is the longest continuous up hill section of the entire 2200 miles. Along the way we delt with a pretty hard rain fall and all ended up soaked. The greatest part was when we walked up on 4 white tail deer. I was literally less than 10′ away from them when I finally realized they were there! We knocked the hike out like it was nothing… When Kevin and Mark made it to the top they had come up with their own trail names… Spent and Bankrupt (respectively). I think they are going to be a bit sore in the morning!
At Mile 153.2 of the AT on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 (7:57 PM). Google Maps link to my location: http://maps.google.com/maps?z=14&t=m&q=35.37193,+-83.73569 It was raining when I woke up this morning so I stayed in my tent and watched Searching For Sugar Man. It’s a good documentary about a singer from the 70’s. The music he plays sounds good. I am going to add it to my Spotify list when I get to the next WiFi spot. After that I packed up in the rain and headed down the trail. I made it about a mile and the edge of the trail fell out from my left foot. I rolled down the hill and as I was rolling tried grabbing a small tree… It broke :/ the second tree I grabbed held! Thank God!!! The hill I was rolling down was steep! I ended up stopping about 20′ down the hill. When I looked up it looked like I just set up a yard sale of hiking gear on the side of the hill. I gathered my shit on the way up, checked to make sure I wasn’t injured, and moved on. It rained the rest of the day. My gear is all wet and I had to set up my tent in the rain. I am warm and ready for bed. Along the way I saw a bright orange salamander. When I saw it I immediately thought about my old neighbor Elaina Richens (hope I spelt that right!). So Elaina the pic of the salamander is for you 🙂 The last pic is all Moss covered boulders. The trail weaved back and forth across these at least 6 times. Whoever choose the path for this trail had to be a sadist =)
At Mile 144.0 of the AT on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 (8:57 PM). Google Maps link to my location: http://maps.google.com/maps?z=14&t=m&q=35.33078,+-83.66692 Last night at the Wesser shelter I shared a bottle of Fireball whiskey with all of the hikers at the shelter. Everyone loved some warm whiskey while standing around the fire. I spent the morning hiking 6 miles down hill from Wesser Mountain shelter to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). The NOC is a huge area for river rafting and kayaking. I so want to go back there sometime and go kayaking! It was a huge pay off for the long down hill walk. The two Breckenridge Vanilla Porters and burger really made it worth while though! After lunch was a 6.2 Mile 3000′ up hill hike. Some of the best views on the trail so far were from a place called the jump up on the way up. I sat there for an hour and a half and watched Eagles soar while looking out over the mountains that I cam from earlier in the morning. The trees are starting to bloom so pics should become more green over the next few weeks. This trek is pretty unbelievable so far and I can’t believe that I am only 2 weeks into it. By the way sorry there have been no post cards yet. Apparently they are a thing of the past in the small towns I get into because not a single store of any kind has had a post card yet :/
At Mile 131.4 of the AT on Monday, April 13, 2015 (3:52 PM). Google Maps link to my location: http://maps.google.com/maps?z=14&t=m&q=35.28245,+-83.58211 Today was up and downs all day. The down hills are rough on my knees. I ended up stopping short today to let them recoup before 6 more miles of down hill. It’s a bit cold here and the visibility has been low due to fog and rain all day. The second pic below is from a look out view. Unfortunately the fog killed all of the views today.
At Mile 120.9 of the AT on Sunday, April 12, 2015 (8:34 PM). Google Maps link to my location: http://maps.google.com/maps?z=14&t=m&q=35.18780,+-83.56310 Holy shit today was long! 15 miles mostly up hill :/ I am at the point now where my body hurts. Everything in general is sore. I have read that this happens to everyone and that as long as you can balance tolerance and pain up front it becomes unnoticeable in the long run. By now 35% of the people that started this trek have quit. Me… I am having the time of my life! I finally feel like I am getting my trail legs and am looking forward to the path ahead. One of the mountains today had a look out. The view was amazing! I am amazed by mountains and green valleys in this neck of the woods. Below are a couple of pics from today for your viewing pleasure. People love to change the names on the signs for the gaps, trails, and mountains. This one gave me a good chuckle!
At Mile 106.0 of the AT on Friday, April 10, 2015 (6:07 PM). Google Maps link to my location: http://maps.google.com/maps?z=14&t=m&q=35.09195,+-83.52219
I have officially lost track of the days of the week and of the month therefore I can’t tell you what days of hiking have gone by. I have run across some interesting people out here. All of them are really nice and everyone helps and looks out for everyone. Last night I thought I had met the cousins of the real life cast of Deliverance. It turns out they were some of the most friendly people I have met yet. We shared tons of stories and laughed a ton. It is seriously a fun time! I passed a milestone today… I crossed the 100 mile mark. Only 2089.2 miles left! The first photo is from the top of a Forest Fire Lookout Tower that was right at the 100 mile mark. The second photo is what I woke up to this morning. A guy using map gas to boil water… Hike your own hike is what they say. Sitting Bull (his trail name) is doing that for sure! He has been carrying that in his pack for 93 miles so far. Speaking of trail names I got my trail name this morning. I am now known as “Cuties” from handing out cuties to everyone last night at the shelter I slept in.