AT Mile 165: Accomplishments and a Weekend at Home

It’s been exactly three weeks since I started my thru-hike, and I still wake up every day feelinglike  the luckiest human on the planet.

Though I’m less than 10% done with the Appalachian Trail, progress is progress.

I Did Some Things

I crossed my first state line (just 13 more to go!).

Sebastian got to NC first!

Passed the 100-mile marker

Exciting, though I haven’t even scratched the surface yet.

Made some friends.

The fun guy on the right is Tarzan, who we hiked with for a couple days and then we shared a hotel room in Franklin.

Drank good beer (finally!).

Got a flight at the Lazy Hiker Brewing in Franklin, NC. Y’all, it was heavenly.

I’ve Learned Some Things

Your gear can make or break you. A few random pieces of gear have been the difference between a good day and a bad one for me.

I started my hike with a pair of Patagonia Baggies shorts, about which I had read a ton of reviews from women. They seem to be the perfect hiking shorts for many ladies. Not this lady. The chafe between my thighs was hot fire, and NOT the good kind of fire. Thank goodness for body glide. I’ve since switched to a pair of Mountain Hardwear shorts that are more tight-fitting, and all is well in the world again.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Earplugs: I sincerely believe that these are the most underrated, important piece of gear in my pack. You don’t know “suck” until you hike 12 miles uphill after a terrible night’s sleep.

Hoka recovery slides: I can’t figure out why these aren’t the most popular camp shoes on the market. Sure, your toes are exposed, but these were made for recovering after a marathon. They are like wonderful, ultra-supportive marshmallows under my feet. Oh, and the pair weighs five ounces (for my size, at least).

CNOC water bladder: Isaac heard about this bladder from Darwin on the Trail, and decided to order us each one. It’s amazing. It holds two liters, has a hige zipper-like top for quick filling, and screws right on to my Sawyer Squeeze. If ya know, ya know.

Therm-a-Rest ZLite: I know, this is a weird one. I’ve posted before about my issues with inflatable pads. It’s just not meant to be. My Nemo Tensor was awesome, but it stopped holding air after about two weeks. I sleep on my back, so I’m actually quite comfortable on my ZLite.


I’ve learned that quiet mornings after a rainy night are my favorite thing in the world.

Pure. Magic.

I’ve learned that being hiker trash is pretty fun.

Tarzan and me being vagrants outside the liquor store in Franklin. In our defense, we were waiting on the bus.

A high-class group of vagabonds at Stecoah Gap, NC.

Stecoah Gap was at the 150-mile mark, which called for a groupie, obvi.

More hiker trash, this time at Fontana Dam. Please observe the typical Phoebe pose. I’m way too excited, while everyone else is clearly thinking UGH.

I’ve also learned that hiker hobble is REAL. Fontana Dam is only about an hour from home for Isaac and me, so we got picked up and are spending the weekend at home. Isaac and I went to see a movie Friday night, and when we got up from sitting for two hours, it was epic. Imagine an old western, with a cowboy walking bowlegged from riding a horse too long. Definitely received some odd looks in the movie theater.

So far, the most surprising aspect of the trail for me has been the social life. I planned, prepared, and methodically thought out just about every bit of this thru-hike; or so I thought. I had no idea it would be so crowded, despite knowing the hiker bubble would exist. As much as I love the people, I’m not sure I like it. I’m incredibly outgoing, and for that reason I find it difficult to relax when I’m surrounded by people. When I’m out in the woods, my goal is to enjoy peace and quiet. Of all things, I think this has been the most challenging.

After a wonderful and relaxing weekend with family, I’m itching to get back on trail and hit the Smokies. Isaac’s older sister and her husband are hiking with us through the national park, so it should be a wonderful week!

PS. The cover photo was taken by Isaac. It’s from the top of Cheoah Bald, which is by far my favorite campsite we’ve stayed at.

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Comments 6

  • Will Skelton : Apr 14th

    Phoebe, glad the thru-hike is going well. And any particular reason why you like the CNOC water bladder? Looks kinda like several others I’ve seen, maybe lighter? Will

    • Phoebe "Unicorn" Anderson : Apr 15th

      Well, it is very affordable and the material is extremely durable. I’ve seen videos of people standing on full ones! And yes, it’s extremely light. But I think my favorite feature of the bladder is the wide mouth opening at the top of the bag. It’s got flat sides, so it’s excellent for sitting on rocks with only a small of water running over them and it’ll fill up quick.

  • Bob Richards : Apr 15th

    Hi Phoebe and Isaac,
    Are you still on schedule to be in Damascus, VA by May 17th?
    BEST, Bob R

    • Phoebe "Unicorn" Anderson : Apr 15th

      Yes! We’ll be there. 🙂

  • Biscuit-Tate : Apr 26th

    Magical Unicorn! It was such a pleasure to meet you and NAB at Max Patch! I hope you have such an amazing hike and please let me know if you ever need anything. And please tell NAB that I thoroughly enjoyed the aberration flower photos and hope he finds so many more. xo, Biscuit (ps Roo-dog says hi 🙂

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