Wild Walking Through the Smokies and Beyond
Hey, y’all! Long time, no blog.
Busy out here, ya know, living this grueling life with all these responsibilities. Like walking, eating, sleeping, repeat. But much has occurred since then, believe it or not.
Last time I filled y’all in I was in Asheville and my bro had just finished a great week out in the Smokies with me. Well, after that, things got a little complicated.
In order for him to get back to the real world he had to be picked up at a certain time. Planning ahead mileage wise is never easy. So we decided ahead of time that Clingmans Dome, the highest point on the AT, btw, would be best. Beauty of a spot. The lovely trail angel Kara Smith came and got us from Asheville.
I was in need of a resupply, and with the opportunity to go to Chipotle, I joined them. Well, a storm blew in and shut down the two roads in and out of the Smokies. So I was stuck in Asheville. Unable to get back on trail I stayed there for a few days, resting up. Was also able to watch the Wild play twice. Same old playoff team.
The roads into the Smokies ended up being closed longer than anticipated, so I joined a ton of hikers in Gatlinburg (Potty call me pal).
The next morning one of the roads opened, and it just so happened to be the one I didn’t get off at. So I got a ride out anyway with the many others who have been itching to get back on trail. This meant I could carry on northbound and miss out on the eight miles, or I could hike backward (southbound) and make up that section, then walk back up. That’s what I decided to do. I’m not a purest, but I don’t wanna skip any miles. So I got separated from the trail fam, hiking eight miles south from Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome as they set out north.
The first day post snowstorm was brutal. I made it halfway slipping and sliding before I crashed in the shelter and tried to dry out. I made it to Clingmans the next morning, where I then hitched a ride back up to Newfound Gap with the lovely newlyweds from South Carolina wrapping up their honeymoon. (Thank you and congrats again Danae and Dave!) This began the chase to catch back up with the tram, who I knew had probably put in 10-plus miles the previous day.
The thing about the Smokies is that you must stay at the designated shelters, making it challenging to make up ground with the distance between them varying.
I ran into a problem ripping my boot that next morning. The toe snagged on a root and ripped the top, completely changing the fitting of the boot. I attempted to tape, patch, and sew it but nothing worked. So now my fav boots were busted, resulting in blisters and the potential lose of a few toenails with the fit being off. This slowed me down a good bit.
I did make it out of the Smokies eventually, and I couldn’t have been happier. The Great Smokies were no joke. They chewed me up and spit me out, but they were gosh dang beautiful.
One of the best nights so far. Coming out of the Smokies, the pure beauty of Max Patch was just what everyone needed. With there being no resupply from Gatlinburg until Hot Springs, everyone was pushing big-mile days. The night atop MP was clear skies, with a meteor shower as well. Kara joined atop the bald, bringing food to share with everyone once again. It was a nice pick-me-up after some tough miles.
Hot Springs, N.C.
I made it to Hot Springs, N.C., walking through the pouring rain; I believe it was day four of it. With the bad weather, every hostel, hotel, and motel were booked. Very unexpectedly. I went into the outfitter to get a new pair of boots, thinking I may just need to head straight back out on trail and ran into Four Star, who said I could crash on the floor of the place he, Castaway, Type 2, Cheers, Truck, and Lorax were staying at. Thanks again. We zeroed the next day, attempting to dry out after days of rain.
Following Hot Springs, got pounded with more rain, of course. Camped a few nights with a group a guys from South Carolina that have been section hiking for four years now. Thanks for the trail magic, fellas.
I was met by a couple beauties from the ol college baseball days. Kev and Derek swooped me up and took me out for a night on the town. Nothing like some good Mexican food and beverages and catching up with ol pals. The next morning my boy Matty Phil came out for lunch and helped me resupply. Thank you fellas, so good to see you all.
Alright, gonna leave er at that. Blogging on a phone is complicated.
To wrap things up, wanna give a shout-out to Mrs. Keys’ first grade class. Social studies is fun, isn’t it? I promise I am walking as fast as I can. And yes, I do eat gummy bears for breakfast.
Been doing a good bit of resupplying at the Walmarts down here; trust me, I still bleed red and khaki. I usually go through self checkout and I’ll tell ya what, no one delivers the same level of guest experience as Ms. Marcia does. S/O T2300, miss you all.
Congrats to my great friend Duffy as he has accepted a job as the equipment manager for the Green Bay Packers. Gonna look great in green and gold Kev.
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