Call Me “Catchup”

Made It To Fontana Dam!

Exactly two weeks after I left Amicalola Falls, I’m happily sitting at the Mountaintop Bistro in Fontana Lodge, where I’m currently writing.  Soon, a Fried Green Tomato BLT will be delivered to my table and I’ll be gorging myself like a mouse in a food bag, but in the meantime, I thought I’d squeeze in a quick update from the trail.  Y’all, time is absolutely flying by.  I’m so thankful I’ve been journaling every day, because it’s already clear how one day begins to blur into the next – and I’m not even in the “green tunnel” of Virginia yet!

The first week was marked by rain – lots of rain – and culminated with a icy rain/snow combo near Dick’s Creek Gap (GA) that was fun to wake up in, but not as much fun to hike in.  While the blanket of snow provided some cozy insulation inside the tent, the outside temperature of 22° (in combination with the 20+ mph winds that morning) made for a very long 6.6 miles from our campsite to the Gap.

Buds in the snow

Brady, Joe, and “Tarzan” enjoying the tropical weather

Thank goodness for the trail angels from Duluth, GA, who were waiting in the snow with some damn good biscuits, bacon, and all the coffee a body could drink!  I’ve been lucky to run across some awesome trail angels these first two weeks: King Tut, Shapeshifter, Wayward & Shepherd, the Crawford Family, and so many others that have happily filled me to the gills with a nearly obscene amount of blueberry pancakes and boiled hot dogs.

The Homestead

I intended to hike the AT completely solo, keeping to myself and only lightly interacting with the other people crazy enough to set life aside for 6 months and hike thousands of miles.  But I suppose my better nature won out, because by the end of the first day, I’d already met some amazing people that I’m thrilled to call my friends.  Maybe it was luck, maybe it was fate – but Emily (“Ducky”), Hayley, Joe, Brady, and Tanner (“Tarzan”) and I have become quite the crew out here – dubbed “The Homestead” by fellow thru-hikers.  The way we’ve all built each other up when someone is down, or stuck with each other when times were tough, has been amazing to see.  It’s only been two weeks, but I feel like I’ve known these people for months.  They say misery loves company – and I sure do love these people.

Friends at the border

Hayley, Emily “Ducky”, and the goofiest goober you ever did see – me! Made it to NC!

It’s “Catchup”, not Ketchup

After a week or so, I ended up with the trail name “Catchup” – because I am NOT a morning person, and always the last to leave camp.  But I’m a pretty quick hiker, so I always catch the group – and then they’re chasing me the rest of the day!  We’re all “hiking our own hike”, but it’s great to have a crew of friends to meet in camp, and laugh together as we all try, and try, and try again to get our bear bags hung.

I have so much more to say, but my buddy Jake just met me here at Fontana Dam, and we’ve got to get a-rollin’ on.  Until next time – see you out on the trail!

Bly Gap Campsite view

View from Bly Gap Campsite – simply sublime.

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Comments 2

  • Dudley "DoRight" White : Mar 21st

    I hiked some with a Crawford Family up in Maine from about Monson to Katahdin (Aug 2018). Nice people, with maybe 6 kids. I wonder if that is the same family that gave you trail magic.

  • Willy : Mar 30th

    Same folks! Their kids are awesome, confident, and super capable. And they STUFFED us full of delicious blueberry pancakes, sausage, and hash browns. Great morning.


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