We are the Pampered Hikers!
We all know the saying “Hike your own hike” by now. You constantly hear other hikers saying it or you’ll see HYOH written in the shelter journals. In layman’s terms it means it’s your hike, not anybody else’s so do what you enjoy. My group and I have taken this saying to heart.
We all enjoy hiking and all the daily challenges that come with it but we love and thoroughly enjoy our days off trail. Food is always on the thru hikers mind but we’ll go the extra mile. Literally. We constantly think about Wendy’s frosty’s and other sweets. We actually went on a detour off trail to get into town early because we saw a Wendy’s listed in the guidebook! We skirted down a side trail off the AT because a local assured us it would take us to the road. A mile and half later we weren’t so sure and headed back up the mountain we just hiked down to reconnect with the white blazes and head to the shelter we originally planned for that night. We failed on that attempt and may have allowed those delicious frosty’s to cloud our mind but we made damn sure we got them in Franklin the next day!
When we zero in town we do it right. We make sure to enjoy everything they’ve got to offer. If there’s a Mexican restaurant were eating there. If there’s an Italian restaurant, yeah we ate there too. If there’s a movie theater in town were watching at least two movies.
Most towns are money pits and traps for hikers but we allow them to pamper us. Gatlinburg is definitely a tourist trap but they’ve got some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life! Hot Springs is a great little town with good food and very affordable party hot tubs with natural mineral water. You should never pass up the chance to go in a hot tub. Remember that. Dahlonega Ga had some of the nicest people of any town I’ve visited so far and the most delicious peppermint candy I’ve had the opportunity to eat. Their local bar introduced me to my new favorite drink. The snakebite. It’s 1/4 Guinness and 3/4 Apple Cider. Deliciousness!
When we stay in hostels for a zero. We make sure to zero. Mountain Harbour of Roan was amazing. Hikers are more of a side business since their b&b is their bread and butter but if you stay there Do Not skip the breakfast. It’s $12 but it’s worth it. It’s all you can eat homemade everything! They even had monkey bread one morning. We just got finished staying at the Woodchuck hostel in Damascus and they offer all you can eat waffles. Woodchuck actually made us blueberry waffles the first morning! He also has corn hole and a basketball hoop to play. Plus you can stay in a tee pee at his hostel!
The Pampered Hikers and I have split up for the moment but it won’t be long. They took off this morning down the Creeper Trail while I await my ride to Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester TN. I guarantee my trail family and I will have an epic reunion in a week in Atkins! I’m looking forward to this 16oz burger at The Barn Restaurant right off the trail! Until we reunite, remember to Hike your own hike and enjoy every moment you have on the Appalachian Trail!
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