Hi! I'm Laurel and completed a flip-flop thru hike hiking NoBo solo from Spring Mtn. to Damascus and continuing SoBo from Mt. Katahdin back to Damascus with my boyfriend. I'm a twenty-something recent University of Tennessee graduate who grew up in the Smokies and decided it's time to take the ultimate tour of my home mountain range. In addition to mountains, I enjoy riding all kinds of bicycles, scaling rock faces, and begging for affection from dogs.
We had double orders of tacos and cheap beer at Hey Joe's and I wore a loaned pajama shirt with kittens on it and men's basketball shorts around town. That Guy resupplied for the last 470 miles of his hike, and I didn't.
This is not where I talk about all the gorgeous mountain views, how I have transcended the ability to smell my hiker stench, and how I feel connected to the wilderness. This is where I talk about the times thru hiking ****ing sucks.
This is where I would talk about the gastrointestinal distress brought on by consuming a half gallon of ice cream, except that the general store is closed on weekdays after Labor Day.
To some people, my decision to hike with someone I had only known a few months might sound risky or rushed. For me, I had nothing to lose. The worst that could happen is I decide push him off a cliff and resume hiking alone if we drove each other nuts.
I could either go home and be a quitter or purge myself of all anxieties and negativity. Continuing to hike in my toxic mental state was not an option.
Through all the excitement, there's less exciting aspects of a thru-hike (for me anyway) that I experience on a daily basis. As of right now, it goes something like this:
The Wilderness is devoid of the luxuries of the south that include "switchbacks," "drainage ditches," "paved roads to food," and "bridges over rivers".
After a stay with 40 people at Overmountain Shelter, I practically ran over the remaining two summits and 10 miles trying to stay upright in the winds and not fall on my butt hiking back down through ice, snow, and slush. (I ended up on my butt 3 times.)
Should you choose to stay in the vicinity and enjoy your own lunch, be mindful that the thru hiker may look up with glassy wistful eyes and begin drooling when you pull out a freshly made sandwich
I've seen a few trail dogs on my journey so far, and they've made me miss my Biscuit terribly. My home is the foothills of the Smokies, so I decided to take him on a 3 day test run from the NOC to Fontana. Here's the results.