Eating My Way Through Franklin, N.C.
Getting back on trail after time in town is always a little difficult. However, this instance was different because it came with the knowledge of crossing my first state line. And let me tell you, it felt good. It felt amazing. It felt like I was going places. I was out of Georgia and on my way to Maine.
And then I had a cold, windy, misty night camping at Bly Gap and remembered I still have 13 states and over 2,000 miles to go. Going places indeed. Other successes at Bly Gap include hanging my bear bag, pooping in the woods, and Diva Cupping in the woods.
It’s interesting how much of a motivator warmth and food are. After a bitter cold morning at Bly Gap (thanks, wind) the constant thought was to keep moving toward one very important place with one very important thing: food. Food in town. In Franklin, N.C. This led to a 16-mile day from Standing Indian Shelter to Long Branch Shelter and reaching the 100-mile marker. The first 100 miles is at the top of Albert Mountain by a fire tower. Let me tell you, it was a very rewarding view, after a rocky, steep climb.
Ah, well. Just some foreshadowing for the Smokies.
Nevertheless, it felt satisfying to complete 100 miles. A small accomplishment in the grand scheme of the AT but still a milestone.
And the next day? Franklin, N.C. First stop was to Baltimore Jack’s Hostel for a hot shower, and then Martha’s. If you ever find yourself in Franklin, go Martha’s. So began my marathon of food in Franklin. Chicken and dumplings at Martha’s Kitchen, (free) hot fudge sundae and fries at a 1950s-style diner, beer at The Lazy Hiker Brewing Company, and chicken wings at Spiffy Joe’s. And there was still my zero day.
My zero started out at the free pancake breakfast for thru-hikers, hosted by the welcoming people at First Baptist Church.
I promise I do more than just eat while in town. Town days also include laundry, food resupply, and cleaning. I also enjoyed a restorative yoga class at Beyond Bending Yoga Studio and visited the outfitter, Outdoor 76. Bear Box and I also made stops at the Scottish and Tartan Museum and the Rock Museum. It was rewarding and relaxing but busy. That is one thing I didn’t quite understand before starting the trail. Town days are not veg out days. But for whatever reason, I felt very accomplished with all that I had done that day.
It’s important to celebrate the small accomplishments. A successful bear hang. 100 miles. Three full meals in six hours. Soak in the little things while keeping your eye on the prize.
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