Livin’ the Dream

Sweaty, tired, and out of breath, Every time Shark Bite (formerly Imagine, his blisters peeled and it looks like a shark got ahold of his foot!) is asked how he’s doing “oh I’m just livin’ the dream” is his answer. And I have to agree with him.

Week 2

I can’t tell if North Carolina has been easier terrain or if Georgia just whipped my butt into shape but I’ve been movin’ along great this week! We got the 100 mile mark on 3/19/2017 so only 13 more states to go!img_20170222_104432_066img_20170219_154819_278

It was only an 8 mile day but we all had a little extra weight in our packs because we all brought in an item for a tramily pot luck dinner. Which consisted of doughnuts, Kellie fruit cups, Oreos, strawberries with sugar, bananas and beef tips in gravy with rolls! It was a great dinner overall and I won’t forget watching the mountains change colors that evening. I tried to take a picture but it just didn’t do it justice.

It was a good thing we all fueled up with good food that night cause the climb up the next morning was killer. We eventually made it to Standing Indian mountain though and the view was worth the morning hike. Most of what we hiked through that day was burnt but it couldn’t take away from God’s handiwork on those mountains. To end the day and soak up the last of the beautiful weather, most of us cowboy camped that night. Nothing beats falling asleep under a starry sky!

We took a zero day near Franklin where trail angels Jimmy and I Believe were kind enough to shuttle us around while some resupplied and some got new shoes. Being the only female hiker in the group has its perks cause Jimmy & I Believe offered me a shower at the hotel where they were staying that night. Nothing like hot water and soap to make you feel human again!

Mixed emotions

Thursday was an interesting day. We learned Fresh Ground pushed on the night before and hiked quite a ways ahead of us (Monday now and we learned he’s about 2 days ahead of us and in the Smokies). But we were all in good spirits because Jimmy & I Believe slack packed us 10 miles and had burgers cooking when we met them! It was hard to say goodbye to them both but hopefully we will see them again further up the trail.


Left to right: me, Jimmy, I Believe, Adam

Mountains for Miles

My favorite view so far has been the one from Wesser Bald Tower (see my Instagram for the video). The weather was perfect and there was nothing in site but mountains. It was glorious! The climb down kinda kicked my booty but it was worth it cause I got to sunbathe on the shelter and cuddle with the pup Gambit that night. Not even the thunderstorm that rolled in at midnight could ruin that day.


Spaghetti & Beer game

The Valentine 6 (V6 crew) created a game that goes- whoever falls buys a round of beer for everyone. 4 seasons was the first to tumble so it worked well when we got to the NOC the next day and the restaurant had a mix-n-match 6 pack to-go special. After some yummy pizza, tots and fish tacos we all picked our own beer and watched a kayak race on the river.


My mama and step dad, Tim showed up later in the afternoon with some spaghetti for us. The guys all stayed in a hotel room while I was spoiled by my parents and got to stay at the Appalachian Inn Bed & Breakfast! It was the most beautiful house and the owner, Elizabeth was a perfect host. I got to soak in a clawfoot tub to revive my muscles and scrub off all of the dirt. I again felt like a new person. With all of my clothes washed too I told Elizabeth that no one would believe I was a thru-hiking because of how nice I smelled! ?

20170226_071458Breakfast!!! A sausage grit cake, Mandarin oranges & pound cake French toast with fruit! (Sorry I’m on a phone and it won’t let me flip this image)

Sunday my mama and Tim slack packed us 13 miles and had doughnuts, subway samwiches and cold water waiting for us at the bottom. Long haul is still going strong and being a purist by carrying his pack all the way and somehow STILL beats us all up the mountains!

I’m so glad I got to see my family and it gave me the extra motivation needed to push through the Smokies starting tomorrow.


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Comments 5

  • becca : Feb 28th

    You are for real living the dream! I enjoy following your journey. Keep on keeping on!

  • Lisa : Mar 2nd

    Thanks for your post Bethany. I’m originally from Texas and will be Nobo next year! Cheering you on!!!!

  • Jaime : Mar 2nd

    We have a great place for hikers to stay in Damascus,VA woodchuck hostel is an awesome place with an all you can eat waffle breakfast and dog friendly stop on by and say hi to woodchuck great guy

    • Bethany Varner : Mar 14th

      Yeah!! We are planning to get to Damascus on Saturday evening and stay there hopefully 🙂

  • Speedy : Mar 3rd

    Sounds like you are having a great Time Snap! Love reading your updates, Hope you enjoy the Smokies!


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