A Trail Name, Magic, and a Few More Miles
Time flies when you’re on the trail! Well, sort of. More like time is seriously warped when you’re on the trail. In some ways it feels like yesterday when I was in Hiawassee writing my last post, mostly though, Hiawassee feels like a very distant memory.
Well, I’m still having a great time out here! I’ve made it to Fontana Dam in North Carolina and this morning we’ll be headed into the Smokeys. I just got a new warmer sleeping bag and am so excited to finally be warm at night! We’ve slowed down our pace since I last posted. We were averaging 16 miles a day for a few more days and then when we hit Franklin, North Carolina our bodies all decided to revolt. Just about everyone at the outfitters and around town said that we had to slow down. So, we did, and we came down to 10-12 mile days and our bodies are all getting stronger and healing a bit.
If you missed my last post and are unsure of this “we” that I speak of I’ve been hiking with 3 guys; Iron chef, Bones, and Rocky. We’ve also shared a campsite with Slayer, Dad (best trail name ever), Moses, and Bobcat most nights. It seems like everyone out here hikes in groups of four. Has anyone else noticed that?
I also have a trail name now, I’m Sparky! I got it because I sparked a couple good ideas (specifically, I reminded the boys to grab toilet paper at a hotel, and later in the day found a good tree to hang a bear bag on). The name makes me feel a little like a dog, but that’s ok because I kind of picture myself as a golden retriever panting and scampering over my last couple miles into camp.
Some other things of note; Franklin is a magical place.
There was a guy, In Tents, who hung around our hotel and offered to bring us to Big Fattys BBQ with a bunch of other hikers. He dropped us off, washed his car, came back and sat with us, and then covered the entire bill for all eleven of us. Incredible!
Then, the next morning, the Baptist church in Franklin had an all you can eat pancake and bacon breakfast for hikers. We literally rolled out of bed when we heard the horn honk to get on the shuttle. At the church there was a big piece of paper labeled “Class of 2014” with all the signatures of the hikers ahead of us. It’s hard to believe there’s so many people all out on this trail already.
A few days later we made it to the Nantahala Outdoor Center and took our first zero for what we heard would be a hiker party (really.. It wasn’t, and we were a day too early). Our zero day was largely consumed by card games, PBR, and campfires. Also, while we were there we saw a presentation by Chris Galloway who hiked the trail last year and is making a movie about it. It was both exciting and overwhelming to see what is ahead for us, it’s still hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ll be doing this for months. I’ve just got to remember to take it one day at a time; no single step is too difficult.
Okay, I’ve hogged the public computer long enough, on to the Smokeys!
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