NOC -> Smokies
I’ve lost track of the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure if it is the busyness of the trail or what, but I’ve definitely forgotten that a world exists outside of the AT and it’s weird. I haven’t had much phone service, yet when I do I don’t think to call home. I think to check the weather or look at my AWOL guide. I miss my family, and familiar voices in general though. All that being said, I’m still having an awesome time.
Anyway, about a week ago my friends and I went to the NOC, which was SICK. It was definitely a cool place to spend the day, and boy did we spend the entire day there. We spent the day getting drunk and eating A LOT. Needless to say, it was a good break from the trail. It’s days like these that make it easy for me to zoom out on this whole experience and I remember that I’m hiking the fricken Appalachian Trail. Most days I forget because it’s normal to wake up and be in the woods.
Right now, my friends and I are at the tail end of the Smokies. The talk around the AT is that the Smokies are the toughest part. For a lot of reasons I can see why; however, we managed to have warm, sunny days for our entire time here (six days), which is impressive considering the Smokies had several inches of snow the week prior. We’re about to get into Hot Springs and I’m SO excited. I think we might enjoy some actual hot springs and massages.
Luckily, my body is letting me do more miles, so I’ve been able to do around 12-16 miles per day. In the Smokies, the only place a person is allowed to stay the night is in a shelter, not at a campsite. Because of that, the options for miles per day were pretty limited. I thought that would be stressful, but instead I ended up pushing myself into doing longer days. Mentally, I feel a lot better now that I know I can do more miles. I feel more accomplished by the end of the day instead of wishing I could do more.
Before I forget, we stayed at Creekside B&B in Fontana and it was amazing. We walked into Cynthia’s beautiful home soaking wet and ready to shower. I definitely recommend visiting this B and B. Plus they have a hot tub, and who doesn’t love a hot tub?
**Side Notes/Recommendations Below**
The staff at Three Eagles Outfitters in Franklin were amazing! I didn’t even buy anything, but a guy (I wish I could remember his name) spent about 30 minutes educating me on which shoe insoles would be best for my plantar fasciitis. Also, if you can’t find what you need at their smaller store (attached to Baltimore Jack’s hostel), they will shuttle you to their bigger store in Franklin.
Also in Franklin, First Baptist Church offers not only free breakfast for thru-hikers, but will also take your picture and send it to your family. Everyone there was so sweet; it was hard to leave.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.