Failure to Hike

Hello! I was told that I don’t have enough pictures in my blog so here’s an image of a stuffed pineapple they serve at the Mexican restaurant next to the gas station on a service road in Erwin, Tennessee.

Friday, April 28

I was genuinely happy when it rained today. The humidity was killing me! The worst part about muggy days is the gnats that swarm your face, presumably because you smell like you’re decomposing and they want to eat you.

Saturday, April 29

I loved Max Patch. It was so serene – probably my favorite spot so far. Also, the hike up to it was easy. I appreciated not having to exhaust myself for a pretty view.

My parents were in town for the weekend and picked us up at the end of the day to take us to the Airbnb. They were kind enough to do multiple rides from a couple different gaps. They also bought out an entire Trader Joe’s and brought “loaner clothes” for us to wear while doing laundry. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Sunday, April 30

My parents also slack packed us to Hot Springs. This was my first time slackpacking and it felt like we were flying.

The Airbnb had a game room in the basement! We played ping pong, corn hole, and Chuck-E-Cheese basketball. Very fun!

My dad winning at Chuck-E-Cheese basketball

The smiles on our faces belie the fact that norovirus was slowly taking out members of our tramily. The following is a better representation of our situation:

Who would be next? Who isn’t washing their hands according to CDC guidelines?

Monday, May 1

We hung out in Hot Springs while we waited for the norovirus-afflicted to make up the miles. We spent a lot of time in the cafe playing cards and got a hot tub at the Hot Springs resort.

We camped next to the river, which was very lovely except for the spiders. I don’t care how long I’ve been living in the woods, I will always hate spiders.

Tuesday, May 2

During dinner last night, I was getting major Sunday scaries about hiking today. I was too comfortable in town! This morning I went back to the cafe, which at this point I considered my second home, to get breakfast and use a real toilet. Then we had a pretty chaotic tramily meeting and ultimately decided not to hike. We were vortexed in Hot Springs.

Being vortexed is kind of like that feeling you get on vacation when you think “this is nice, I don’t wanna leave”. Except when you’re a thru-hiker, you technically don’t have to ever leave. There’s no return flight. So you end up staying in a town with 8 businesses for 3 days.

We rock climbed. We dipped our feet in the river. We played more cards. We went to trivia at the brewery.

The brewery had this cool concept called a Karma board where you can buy drinks for random people

It was a nice day! Until…

Yup. More norovirus.

Wednesday, May 3

Happy birthday Neeti!

At this point I had to keep hiking for fear that I would get sick if I stayed. It was painful leaving Hot Springs, not just physically since I hadn’t backpacked in 4 days but also because I could see the town the whole hike out and I could feel it calling to me like a siren song: “stay vortexed longer!”

Thursday, May 4

Happy birthday Courtney!

I am very thankful to the Southern Cookie Lady because I was running really low on water before a big climb and she had 2 coolers full. She makes 60 cookies a day! Whoever stole her toilet paper, shame on you.

I miss my tramily. Everyone I’m hiking with for this stretch to Erwin is so nice but I think I imprinted on my group and it’s weird being without them.

Friday, May 5

This is my first time doing multiple double digit days in a row and I’m feeling it.

Saturday & Sunday, May 6-7

Ok finally made it to Erwin. I get to shower! And be reunited with my tramily!

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