Highs and Lows, week 2 on the Appalachian Trail
Day 7Me and Grant hitched a ride back to the trail from Hiawassee after a late night full of great stories, good food and some drinks at the hiker bash outside budget Inn. We camped in the yard along with many other fun people.
Sun was shining and i quickly felt grateful to be back on the trail in the sunshine. I met a 74 year old woman along the way, she had never been backpacking before but is doing great so far. I told her how impressed I was and she said that I made her day.
I ended up at 11.3 miles for the day, from Unicoi Gap to Addis Gap.
Heard owls all night long, they sounded beautiful.
Woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of an owl and it’s prey in a fight to the death. I hope it wasn’t a squirrel, I really like squirrels.
Woke up around 8 to a big storm, didn’t want to leave but after a few hours I worked up the courage to get out in the rain.
Packed up quickly, threw on some rain gear, and started my first day of hiking in the rain. There were puddles everywhere, i felt like I was walking down Appalachian Creek. Started out feeling great, had fun splashing through the puddles in my Chaco sandals with no socks. Until mud caked the straps and every step felt like sand paper grinding the skin away on my foot. And I was soaking wet. I put socks on and some duct tape on my foot in the spots where skin was rubbed away. That made walking a lot less painful. Spent the rest of the day questioning why I am doing this and decided I wanted to leave the trail and pursue other adventures. Dry adventures.
Made it 10.6 miles to As knob. Ate about 1 pound of sunflower seeds, found a can of spray cheese someone had left beside at the campsite. It added some flavor to the sunflower seeds. After eating i set up my tarp, put my dry clothes on from my pack, got in my warm sleeping bag, listened to some music, and went to bed smiling gazing out at all the beauty around me. Maybe I won’t quit. I can do this.
Woke up at 8 to the sun shining down, happy to be on the trail. Sunny and beautiful all day. Felt refreshed and no longer wanted to quit, told myself I’ll do whatever it takes to finish. The wet day gave me more appreciation for the sunshine and views.
“If we did not know suffering, could not no happiness” -someone wise
Spent most of the day thinking deep about life, basking in the freedom. Heard it was going to rain tomorrow so I pushed 15.9 miles to Beech campsite and had good company for the night. Eating makes everyone happy. Hung bear bags and got a good night’s sleep, tired from my longest day so far. Gave myself my nightly foot rub, which always feels amazing.
Rollercoaster day, many ups and downs emotionally and physically. Spent most of the day walking on top of mountains with lightning striking and roaring thunder, it was a thrilling experience. Not sure how smart it is to be on mountains in a storm but it was memorable.
Getting to the top of Albert Mountain (5250 feet above sea level) was draining, and a little scary since everything was slippery and a long fall down looked painful in some parts of the trail.
There was a fire tower at the top of Albert Mountain with a big room and roof that looked like the perfect lunch spot. Me and Grant climbed up but the door was locked. Still enjoyed my favorite view of the trail so far, watched the smoke come up between the mountaintops until nearby lightning strikes scared us down.
My legs and feet were ready to give up on me after about 12 miles but I kept pushing, 19 miles total for the day to get to Franklin. The only thing keeping me going was the thought of ending the day in town with a belly full of food, a warm shower, and hotel bed. When nobody was around I yelled really loud to get myself pumped up. Kinda fun.
Grant and I finally made it to the highway around 6 and I almost cried tears of joy. We quickly found a ride into town from a friendly man named Johnny Robison.
My dad was worried about me hitch hiking because he watches a lot of true crime shows and thinks I’ll get murdered. I told dad I’d be careful.
Mr. Robinson stopped by a dumpster to throw out some trash bags.
I asked him if there were dead bodies in the bags he was throwing out. He laughed and said “no just trash.” Sounds exactly like something a serial killer would say..
After dropping off the “trash” he dropped us off at Ingles to buy food, and i ate a rotisserie chicken outside on a bench while getting a lot of stares from people walking by.
The closest hotel was only 1 mile away, which seems close after hiking 19 miles already today but that 1 mile sounded grueling. I asked a guy in the parking lot if we could pay him for a ride, and he said he’d take us for free. I was so happy. Booked 2 nights at Microtel , a clean hotel that I highly recommend staying at. Best part is my mom paid for it :D.
Hard work pays off, laying in this hotel bed was worth the long hard day.
Thankful for all the support I’m getting and for everyone involved in maintaining the trail.
Getting laundry done in town, I’ve made it 109.5 miles so far without washing these clothes, they could use a cleaning.
If anyone reading this wants to support my mission trip to Guatamala the link is https://socc.ccbchurch.com/form_response.php?id=1088 just click that link and write in “Dan Thompson” as the name of the person you are supporting.
I feel bad asking for donations when I could be out working for the money myself, but I greatly appreciate any help in following my dreams. I am funding most of the hike and mission trip thru a few credit cards so every bit helps.
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