Hello Smokies. He’s Baaaack! This Time as a Thru-Hiker.
OneFoot reached a significant milestone this week by entering the Smokies. We’ll get to that in a bit, but first, here’s what he’s been up to.
A holiday on the trail.
On Easter Sunday, OneFoot was missing home a bit. His plan to do nine miles had his day ending too early so he pushed on to Cody Gap. He was approaching a road crossing early in the afternoon and was going to try to get a ride into town. The goal was to find a market and get some fruits and veggies, which he was really craving. As he approached the road he saw trail angels Steve and Sharon set up with homemade sandwiches, chips, soda, candy – and, yes – fruit! Thank you, thank you to these beautiful trail angels for spending their holiday giving to others.
What? No shuttle today?
OneFoot was up and out early the next morning, heading to Fontana Dam. There were chores to be done: shower, laundry, resupply, beer, and wings – just the essentials. Reaching the shuttle pickup location, he found a note stating there would be no shuttle service today. Ugh. After several calls, he found another option but the pickup wouldn’t be until 3 p.m., about five hours away. Frustrating. Just when he had resolved to relax, accept this snafu as part of the journey, and embrace the moments of relaxation on the side of the trail, a couple of trail angels came to the rescue. Off he went to Fontana Lodge for the night. Oh and Fontana Lake and Dam? Absolutely gorgeous!
Déjà vu. But now who’s the thru-hiker?
Now back to the Smokies, both in this post and physically. OneFoot and I visited Great Smoky Mountain National Park for our 25th anniversary a few years back. Absolutely stunning and a must-see for all. On our anniversary trip, we hung out at Clingmans Dome for a while and kept a lookout for thru-hikers. We had prepared trail magic bags and were anxious to meet celebrities (in our minds, thru-hikers were celebrities). Our patience was rewarded and we met some really great people that day. Later, Ray took off on a hike to Charlies Bunion (love that name) and I stayed behind at the Newfound Gap parking lot with a book, our travel journal, and a camp chair. Much to my surprise, a stream of hikers found their way to me, all saying, “Hey, are you Should be Good in the green Volvo? We hear you have some snacks for us.” That was a great day, indeed. Now OneFoot is returning to the Smokies as an aspiring thru-hiker. Gotta admit, I am totally envious of this part of the journey.
Early reports from his time in the Smokies indicate there may be a pack shakedown coming soon. His pack weight on these big climbs is challenging. It’s the food weight he has to get under control, he says. Perhaps too many trail magic items stuffed into the food sack? Stay tuned.
Any other exciting news to share from the trail?
Why yes, as a matter fact. A writer from Outside Magazine reached out to OneFoot to interview him for an upcoming online article. Very cool. Let’s just call this his celebrity moment. It’s the closest he’ll ever come to feeling like Bruce Springsteen.
Meanwhile, at home
I got a wonderful surprise – trail magic by mail. You may recall that in a previous post we talked about the hiker breakfast at the First Baptist Church in Franklin. What I didn’t know is that the folks there take a picture of each hiker and give them an envelope to address to home. In the mail I received an awesome pic of my mountain man with a sweet note. He misses me. He really misses me! It was a wonderful surprise on a Monday afternoon.
Now, my bags are packed and I’m ready to go cause I’m leaving on a jet plane. Off to chase down OneFoot and spend a few days together off trail. I can’t begin to express how excited I am. This week has been a little tough and I’ve really been feeling his absence. The house is a little too quiet in the evenings but our perfectly timed visit is just ahead. Soon I’ll track down my wonderfully stinky hiker dude and we’ll head off to Hot Springs. Hmmm, I’m picking him up at a trailhead and we’re driving to Hot Springs where he’ll be able to shower. Maybe I should have rented a convertible.
Until the Next White Blaze,
OneFoot and Should Be Good
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