Traveling From Springer, GA, to Franklin, NC, with a Band of Gypsies
Sorry for the long absence, but I’ve had some sort of indescribable writers block.
Thankfully I’m in Franklin, NC, waiting out a storm sitting in Lazy Hiker Brewing celebrating 4/20 and I’ve found a way to start writing again.
So here we go.
I’m back on the trail after taking four months off and it feels good to be back. I hiked until late November last year and made it 1,500 miles to Catawba, VA. I’m now hiking northbound from Georgia to Virginia to complete the trail. My hike has been a dream come true and a life-changing adventure. I feel like a kid again and I’ve learned more about myself than I ever imagined.
My flip-flop hike from CT to ME, CT to VA, and now GA to VA has allowed me to experience everything from quiet solitude last fall to a traveling band of gypsies this spring. Last fall I was happy to find one or two hikers at a campsite and spent several nights alone. This year I’m usually camping with ten to 20 other hikers every night.
I’ve gotten to know a bunch of hikers that all seem to be moving at a similar pace each day. Most have earned trail names by now, which has been fun to see. Some of the names in our group are Lost and Found (LAF for short), Stretch, Whoosh, Six, Boondoggle, Coins, Levi, Rodeo, Bags, and Smiley.
I met LAF the first morning on the summit of Springer Mountain and we’ve been traveling together since.
Some days one of us pushes farther ahead but we seem to group back up the next day. A few days ago everyone stopped in a gap to get the tents set up before a nasty storm hit. I decided to push another four miles farther and got to a shelter just before the storm hit. And I got the last spot left in the shelter! It was one of the best decisions I’ve made on my entire hike. We had several lightning strikes close by, along with high winds and falling trees and a torrential downpour all night. The only downside was I got stuck sleeping next to a guy who talked in his sleep all night long including some pretty intense argument he was having with someone in his head. The following day we hiked through more storms to get into town.
Next up is Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
What a blast!
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Hope you’re doing well Mr. Maps! I’m jealous of you… Wish I was still out there.