The Acquisition of a Trail Name… or Trials and Magic – Part 2
Ooops, it’s been a minute since I posted part 1 and tempted you with promises of trail magic and trail names. Then I got caught up in finishing teaching and knocking out my master’s defense like a rock star.
So, last time I checked in I had just gotten off the trail at Neel Gap to head into Franklin for the rest of the week. This trip marked 106.6 miles of trail completion. I’ve still got a couple of small sections in GA to hike to have completed everything up to NOC. I may get to them before my start date, or I may have to finish them after I return, but I live around here so getting them done won’t be a problem.
I met up with my buddy in Franklin the following day and had a whirlwind of a time shuttling him and his friends around Franklin for the next few days.
I dropped Jacob off at WSG early Thursday morning, April 2nd (his birthday). I planned to spend the rest of the week doing trail magic with friends, so I set off to start planning! Friday morning my friends Lauren, Lorraine, and I gathered our things and set off to Tellico Gap with a car load of pizza, beer, baked goods, chips, soda, and fruit. A couple nights before I had met a group of girls at Sapphire Inn in Franklin who I had mentioned the possibility of trail magic to, and it was really cool that when we arrived at the Gap, there were about 10 hikers there waiting for us, including some of those girls! I knew they were vegetarian and had specifically brought a veggie pizza for them. It was pretty awesome.
We (remarkably) had some pizza and beer leftover so we decided to set up again the following day at Winding Stair Gap. I’m not sure how we managed to have so much fun sitting around, but we had a BLAST. My friend Shannon joined us for part of the day as well and it made for great company.
Lorraine, while attempting to climb a tree to hang a hammock, ended up awkwardly hugging the tree. Her dark fuzzy coat gave the impression of a small bear scuttling up a tree and she was dubbed “Tree Bear”. Lauren, after giving several hikers directions, info on local and not-so-local accommodations, and making phone calls to arrange for reservations for a group of hikers, was dubbed “Knowitall” by a gracious new hiker friend. I was prompted to accept the name “Tree Faerie” as my trail name, due to the fact that we were providing “magic” while hanging from the trees. It stuck around for a while but has since been changed.
After a full week spent surrounded by hikers and immersed into hiker culture, I had to go back to the “real world”. One week of student teaching, followed by my master’s defense, a teaching seminar, taking the GACE, then a conference the following week stood between me and the trail. As I type this, I’m once again sitting in Franklin after a weekend spent providing trail magic and shuttling hikers, waiting on May 1st to get here so I can get going!
I went out in Franklin on Thursday night and rounded up this group of guys. We ended up hanging out WAAAAAAY past hiker midnight but had a blast introducing them to Franklin.
Hanging out with the above group, I told them that my trail name was “Tree Faerie” but I wasn’t sure it was going to stick. Conversation turned back to this topic before we left, and they told me that I wasn’t just a tree faerie, I was a TRAIL faerie. They were just sitting at a bar when “poof!” I appeared bearing magic… and so I was dubbed Tinkerbell. Which I think will stick, especially since they made me promise I would keep it. Thanks guys! I’ve also changed my instagram handle to @travelswithtink, so check it out if you haven’t already!
I wanted to hit the AT this weekend, but bad weather and being under the weather has kept me off the trail. Lorraine and I did make a short hike up to Pickens Nose, which is in Standing Indian Campground but NOT on the AT. We stopped and handed out some more trail magic on the way back, but it was raining so we neglected to take photos at that point. I’ll leave you with an amazing panorama of the view from the Nose. It’s a super cool trail if anyone is ever in the vicinity and wants to check it out. I’m trying to get onto the trail tomorrow if I can find a shuttle, and in 10 days I’ll be meeting new friend Katie Kronberg and heading up out of Fontana for a very long walk!
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