Entering the Smoky Mountains
I’m starting to feel like I live in the woods. Last night we (7 of us) crashed in a hotel room at the Fontana Lodge, half on the floor of course. It’s very odd coming into town, it feels so unnatural and far too organized and complex. Once you get used to sleeping on the ground in a tent every night the comforts of town seem unnecessary and quite frankly, uncomfortable. Some of us get crabby for no apparent reason until we set foot back on the trail. It’s a very queer feeling liking the woods more than the comforts of concrete and electric lighting accented by indoor plumbing and coffee pots. Telling yourself to, “embrace the suck,” over and over stops being a mantra to get through rain and cold and evolves into a strange little inner joke where the worse it gets, the bigger the smile goes streaking across your face.
Life out here is so beautifully simple it’s difficult to put into words…
The Smoky Mountains. As some of you have heard, I’m sure, there was a bear attack recently and the second and third shelters are closed (you must stay in a shelter or camp next to one in the park). As a large group we are far less concerned with bear attacks than the hikers going in twos and threes so PLEASE don’t worry. Every one of us is competent in bear prevention and knows how to handle one if it gets too curious. That being said, we haven’t even SEEN a bear yet! There have been plenty of snakes lately though… Aquaman was nearly bit by a diamond head a couple days ago, that’s the biggest concern.
Soon I’ll be setting up a video with my GoPro to show everyone, “a day in the life,” and wear the thing from the moment I wake up till I go to sleep. Mountains are a curious beast. They are simply everywhere here and the AT is adamant about going up and over as many as possible, thousands of feet in elevation change every single day. The legs of a hiker grow accustomed eventually, as most of ours have, and trudging along doesn’t seem as unbearable as it once did. I wish the people back home could see what we see every day, it’s beautiful and terrifying and always a challenge but the rewards are so great you forget how much your feet hurt. The food sucks most of the time, to put it bluntly. More or less the same meals are consumed day in and day out, punctuated by the glorious cheeseburger and beer upon arriving in town (still awesome despite my reservations about towns). Everything is wet and we smell. I mean SMELL bloody awful damn near all the time. I love it out here and wouldn’t trade my time for anything.
For now, that’s about all I can say. I’ll do my best to keep posting when I have the chance. Thank you to everyone following Facebook and donating to my gofundme, it’s been incredibly helpful since this life is incredibly expensive. If you want to get ahold of me send me a message on Facebook and I’ll get it when I have wifi.
Take care everyone! I hope all is well in your respective lives wherever you read this.
Till next time,
*The featured photo was not taken by me.
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