Sometimes I hike
General Update: I’m in Boone, NC (about a 30 minute drive from the trail, and 2 hours from home) now with Swiper, Rodeo, Scout the Adventure Beagle, Honey Badger, Walks With Whiskey, Hendrix, Solitude, Brother Nature, and Black Beard. I’m waiting for everyone to wake up and get moving so we can go to Trail Days! Hiking has been wonderful for the most part. Foot pain isn’t getting any better. I took out the insert in my right shoe and have been hiking with just the shoe, no cushion inside at all. It’s not pleasant but it’s better than hiking with the insert. I ordered new shoes, hopefully that will fix the problem. I hit my favorite section of the trail so far. Some fishermen tried to give Swiper and I a 10 pound rainbow trout in Elk Park. They insisted that we take a fish with us even though they knew that we were backpacking and we were like uhhh…we just have backpacks. We don’t really have anywhere to put a huge fish. I got hit in the face with a trekking pole. Bird and Jordan visited!
Days miles: 0
Total trip miles: 341.5
Accidental 0 day. Honey Badger and I woke up to the sound of lawn mowers behind WalMart where we were camped. I heard them at 5am and was like oh s#!t, I’m about to be shredded alive. But I poked my head out of my tent and I couldn’t see them. We managed to get a ride in the Walmart parking lot from an Australian TV guy named Gavin from Los Angeles. He was in Erwin for a couple weeks doing filming for a new TV show on DIY network I think about small houses. We were trying to get to McDonalds but he made it very clear that he didn’t know where McDonalds was. “I don’t eat McDonalds”, he said several times in his Australian accent. Honey Badger and I got dropped off in town, and used our map to find Mcdonalds and then walked another 1.5 miles to get there. We ran into James Dean, Swiper and Amondro. James Dean had his brothers car and offered to drive us back to Uncle Johnny’s hostel. At the hostel, we found Rodeo, Black Beard, Walks With Whiskey, Brother Nature, Solitude, Hendrix, and more friends and got sucked into going out to Mexican for the second night in a row and staying in Erwin again. After dinner there was somewhat of a hostel porch party, smoking, drinking, music, and something called honey blazin which involves getting honey poured on your nose. It’s a thing now.
Erwin, TN to Campsite
Days miles: 7.3
Total trip miles: 348.8
Woke up in tent city (an area where there is a lot of tents) at Uncle Johnny’s, which is awesome by the way. Uncle Johnny’s is right across from the Nolichucky River. He has bathhouses and cabins and you can set your tent up anywhere in the yard. He also has beach cruiser bikes, a small outfitter store, and tubes for the river. A big group of us went to Huddle House for breakfast, and a few rode bikes to the gas station for lunch. Riding bikes is up there for favorite moments of the trip so far. I finally dragged myself out of Erwin and hiked to a campsite with War Chief, Cotton, and Honey Badger, getting there in the rain and in the dark.
Happy Mother’s Day! I didn’t get water the previous night because I was getting rained on, and I couldn’t find the first 2 water sources in the morning so I went over 5 miles of really sweaty hiking in the sun without water. When I finally got to the water source 4 bugs flew into my right eye, at least 5 into my ear, and a fly bit my ankles several times through my socks. I camped at a really cool field-like campsite with most of the crew from Uncle Johnny’s. Black Beard, Walks With Whiskey, Brother Nature, Honey Badger, Solitude, Joplin, Hendrix, Rodeo, Swiper, Puzzle, and War Story. The moon was really bright and there were moon shadows! This doesn’t sound that exciting but it is. It was so bright outside that you could see without using a flashlight and I could see my shadow in the moonlight.
Campsite to Roan Mountain shelter
Days Miles: 13
Total trip miles: 376
Long uphill day. Got trail magic soda and apple at a gap. The area where we camped was really neat. It was like a spruce forest, and the ground was really soft and springy, and there were a lot of good places to camp. Rodeo fell asleep early and got…HONEY BLAZED. Well it was unsuccessful. Someone made the mistake of putting Honey Badger in charge of the honey pouring. Honey Badger didn’t realize that it was a squeeze bottle and he took the cap off completely and poured honey onto Rodeo’s face and sleeping bag instead of putting a little on her nose. As soon as it hit her face, she popped up like a ninja punching both fists out to her sides narrowly missing Black Beard and Honey Badger.
Roan Mountain Shelter to Overmountain Shelter
Total trip miles: 383.1
Got trail magic today from Gueen and Pops. They were a couple who had been married for 55 years and they pack little baggies of treats for hikers. It was very nice and super cute. Swiper, Honey Badger and I decided to stay at the shelter which was really cool. It’s a big red barn that they converted into a shelter. The back of the shelter has kind of a porch type deal where we slept so we could see the mountains in the morning.
Overmountain shelter to Elk Park, NC
Total trip miles: 391.8
The hike today was mostly on ridges and balds and through fields and it was absolutely beautiful. People often ask where the best place on the trail would be to hike for a few days and I would say this section so far. I’m sure there will be more wonderful places to come but it can’t get much better that that.
While we were hiking, I took a trekking pole to the face. Honey Badger walks with his trekking poles sticking out behind him a lot of times. Well I like to walk really close to people. One time Walter White asked if I wanted to pass him. “No, why?” And he said “Well you’re just walking really close to me. I turned around and you were like…right there.” Honey Badger was climbing over a fence in one of the fields, I stepped forward and the trekking pole whacked me in the face. Honey Badger didn’t feel it hit me but he said he turned around and thought it was weird that I had dirt on my face. It wasn’t painful though. I thought it was funny and I’m fine.
A few days ago, Solitude invited us to his buddy’s house in Boone to stay for a couple of nights, and then drive to Damascus, VA for Trail Days (a huge hiker festival). And so here we are! I got honey blazed 4 times. Not by choice. It’s Wednesday and we’ll be back on the trail Monday. Not sure if we’ll go back to Elk Park or if we’ll just head out from Damascus. I’m leaning toward Elk Park.
Partied at Solitudes friends house last night. There are 13 of us staying here and there were people everywhere this morning. We piled into a jeep for breakfast. I really hope this isn’t the sane car we’re taking to trail days. There are 2 seats-a drivers seat and a passengers seat, none in the back, and the doors don’t close. They fly open when the car turns.
Bird came from Charlotte to visit and she brought a goody bag complete with lots of good stuff including a chocolate bunny! Jordan was working in the area so she met us at the brewery and spent the night at Bird’s too. So exciting! The Bird and I have been friends since elementary school and Jordan and I since middle school. The three of us hung out at Appalachian Mountain Brewing, got some pizza, and went back to Birds to sleep. It was an awesome night and so good to see friends from home. I saw a lot of people in Boone I recognized from high school. I haven’t been home in a month and a half, and I’m usually traveling in the middle of nowhere with people from all over the country, so it’s strange to take a break and see familiar faces and places.
I’m on dog watching duty until everyone gets back from WalMart and then we’re off to trail days! I’m still not entirely sure how we’ll get there. It might involve backpacks, on the outside of the car and some rope, but we’ll make it work.
See ya later!
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