Update, Nearly Halfway
Wow. I just realized it’s been a month and over 600 miles since the last update. Sorry y’all! The short: things have been going very well. The long: well, I’ll tell you now. I apologize in advance if this post seems abbreviated, but there’s been a lot going on and I’m almost to Harpers Ferry.
Continuing from my last post; woke up at The Laughing Heart Hostel in Hot Springs, NC, to Fresh Ground making breakfast outside. The propane stoves were hissing nonstop and the smell of hash browns and fresh coffee filled the crisp morning air. I was the first outside for food and he promptly pointed me to the coffee. I pour a cup with sugar and slowly sip while I watch his headlamp bounce from side to side as he feverishly works to make food for the hikers still sleeping with the sun. The coffee wakes me up and it didn’t take long for him to pass me a plate; I devour it. Fresh Ground is a trail angel who has been helping hikers for several years now. He drives in his van from Georgia to Maine feeding hikers and keeping their spirits up. He’s also known for shoving so much food on you that sometimes it’s all you can do not to vomit on the side of the trail after you leave his camp.
Next stop that Bedpan and I made was Uncle Johnny’s Hostel in Erwin, TN. This particular hostel has loaner bicycles that you can ride into town; we both grab a bicycle and ride to McDonald’s. Bedpan orders everything off the value and, to my surprise, fails to finish $18 worth of food. Next stop is the grocery store for a resupply, then back to the hostel for rest. I crawl into my top bunk and fall asleep.
I didn’t sleep long. Smoke filled the bunk room and I was one of the first to notice; being near the ceiling. I sit up and see headlight beams shining through the window and cutting through the smoke. I notice where the smoke was coming from before jumping off the top bunk. I hurry to stop the smoke; someone lit a fire in the wood burning stove but had a log hanging out and left the door open. Smoke was pouring out of it! I quickly shut the stove door and crack open a couple windows; I saved the day.
We survived the hostel and continued on. The weather was great as I strolled over the Roan Highlands. I came here with my dog once before on a short trip to Overmountain Shelter. It was great to relive my first experience on the Appalachian Trail and still crazy to think I’m hiking almost 2,200 miles in one go. This area is beautiful to me; going over exposed mountains and seeing hikers in the distance traversing the landscape is so cool.
In Damascus, VA, I felt an intense pull to hike more miles and to do so by myself. So, I mentioned my desires to Bedpan and started pushing over 20-mile days (unless I was going into town) and a 30 and 34 day in between the mid-20. It was a great challenge and gave me a lot of time to think, but I definitely felt myself wearing down. I hiked a 25-mile day into Glasgow and saw two people I haven’t seen since day three on the trail: Chaunce and Easy. This is where the next chapter of my hike begins and I will tell you more about this group in the following updates.
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