A Few Steps Closer
Any thru hiker that started around the 10th-13th or so of March this year knows very well that the weather has been unseasonably warm, and surprisingly dry. We’ve been graced with the presence of having Mother Nature on our side.
As of right now, I’ve taken a few more zeros than I imagined I would. I overworked my achilles too early pushing an 18 mile day, leaving me to rest up for two days in Franklin, NC. The dudes at Outdoor 76 know their feet, let me tell you. Since my last update though, I’ve crushed GA, moved over the 100 and 150 mile marker, witnessed some of the most amazing views I’ve seen, and climbed an insane fire tower at Alber Mountain. Not only that, but I’ve dealt with a small leak in my sleeping pad (thanks to Nemo Equipment for the best customer service).
The books and articles definitely help with preparetion, but no matter what, you learn more out here actually experiencing it than anything. With all of the knowledge I’ve gained from thru hikers on past section hikes, I felt that I would be prepared and that I knew what I was getting myself into, but this is an entirely different animal. Anyways, after realizing what was for me over the past week, I find myself sitting here at Fontana Lodge after playing two rounds of disc golf with Flipper and Catfish Jon, waiting to enter the Great Smoky Mountains. We’ve enjoyed multiple showers, plenty of good town food, and more than enough craft beer with our trail family of about 7 people.
Speaking of trail familes, let me tell you how important and incredibly amazing they are, especially mine. The people out here are what make the trail so special. Just about everyone Ive met has been incredibly different but so similar at the same time. I find it comforting that everyone hiking the AT is working towards the same goal, and when the people who you gravitate toward are also determined and filled with perseverance, milestones are made. These people that were once just random passerbys,(GPS, Manager, Flipper, Wahoo, Catfish Jon, Twitch) have become my family, and with that bond and trust, we crush miles and make smiles along the way. (I’ll be throwing up some interviews and portraits of the family soon!)
Right now, the group is all hanging out at a cabin in Fontana, and we’re hitting the Smokies tomorrow. I’m feeling almost 100% again, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. We are all incredibly stoked to have made such good progress, but we’re looking forward to everything ahead, one step at a time.
Until next time!
Facebook: Nathan Bauman
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