21 Days and 200 Miles Down
Week 3 On The Trail
We are currently in Gatlinburg, TN. Being from Middle Tennessee means that we are very familiar with the Smoky Mountains. We are on our home turf and it feels good. We have family and friends coming up today so we shall be taking two solid zero days before heading back out. After 3 weeks being on trail we are excited to see our loved ones.
The Smoky Mountains have been awesome. Stood atop Rocky Top Mountain, and in true Vols fashion attempted to make a Power T at the top. Additionally we have reached the highest point on the AT at Clingman’s Dome. The Smoky mountains have honestly been fairly easy so far. The trails have been maintained well which makes all the difference.
We have met some more incredible people. We got a hitch in by two gentlemen who did a portion of the trail. Matt and Clint if you are reading this then I am extremely grateful for your generosity. When someone knows the struggle of trail life they tend to be more kind towards hikers.
We have been running into a group of people that are a lot of fun to be around. After several stays at a shelter together I feel it’s time to shout them out. Tall boy, Small Step, Spur, Washbear and Cornchip I enjoy hanging out with you guys. I hope we catch back up to you all after these zero days.
Since my last post we got caught in what seemed like a blizzard straight out of Franklin, NC. The snowfall was awesome for the first half of the day. However, the latter half of the day involved 35mph wind with 55mph gusts. The snow itself was light, but the wind made it feel like hiking in the Arctic Tundra. It was a long 15 mile day followed by a cold and uncomfortable night.
After that however the weather has been amazing. We have been incredibly fortunate to have clear views and good weather. I could not ask for a better experience than we are having and hope that continues. Also, getting to sing “Rocky Top” on top of Rocky Top Mountain made me feel like a true vols fan. I believe that good karma has some play in our fortune and hopefully we can maintain it.
The Fontana Hilton was awesome as well. Most people would pay to stay at a place with such a beautiful lake view. We got to do it for free. I believe that shelter will be very hard to beat. The picture heading this article was from waking up to watch the sunrise.
We hit our biggest day yet at 17.7 miles two days ago. These zero days are much needed but our bodies are not broken. We hit Gatlinburg in good health, but after 8 days on trail it will be nice to rest. Two solid days off will be exactly what we need before pushing on. I believe our bodies are starting to adjust to trail life and it is becoming easier for us.
Our mileage started out low in the 8-10 miles per day range. We have gradually worked our way up to 12+ mile days. In a few weeks our averages may go even higher so long as our bodies hold up. The biggest issue we have encountered is knee pain from downhill portions. So long as our knees hold up we should have few problems ahead of us. We are looking forward to the rest of our adventure.
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