One Month In – GA/NC/TN & TrailDays
One Month on Trail!!!
I just passed the one Month on trail mark. At almost 350 miles, it has been the time of my life without a doubt. It has also been eye opening. I won’t be going on day by day account as much as a section but section.
Kneels Gap to Franklin
This isn’t as fresh in my mind as say Trail Days, but this stretch was pretty huge. I got my trail family going with a great group. I have my trail name. I had a hostile hostel experience. I’ll get into all of that below.
Trail Family Forms on Tray
Grateful, Shannahan (Captain Underpants), and I ended up on Tray MTN shelter and took a zero to avoid terrible weather. It ended up for the best because i joined our trail family that day, although Grateful would fall on a different schedule. That day we grouped up with Sundance, LifeAlert, Moses, NASCAR, SheRa, Red Beard, & OwlBear. More would join later. We decided to stay together until we got into Franklin. We would end up hiking together permanently after events I’ll get into later.
Our little family would later be called The Final Bubble. We are called so after a Ridge Runner Captain Planet told us we were the last one and they would be ending they’re service after us.
Bard would join us at the triple decker shelter the above mentioned ridge runner told us about. He didn’t camp with us that night but would become a permanent member of our gang of hiker trash. In Franklin we would add another member: Surf ‘n Turf. A little down trail we would also add Janesport/Hambone as an binary member and Three-Speed as a member who comes and goes with our group.
Gooder Grove Hostel
I am going to get into some topics I’m not 100% sure I should. I speak only for myself and what I have heard. My personal recommendation is to not stay here under any circumstances, especially if you’re a young women. Zen, who runs Gooder Grove, is a very friendly man. On first glance you wouldn’t expect there’s anything wrong with him.
My experience at Gooder Grove reminded me of something my mom once told me:
“Friendly does not mean friend”
One of the employees, Merkle (sp), was extremely aggressive and overtly sexual to two younger women in our group. When we objected to his advances and inappropriate comments he continued. He would assert he wanted pussy/pink blaze the two women all the way up trail as well as made other inappropriate comments and actions.
When I brought the situation up to Zen, he brushed it off saying “he’s trying to force me to fire him” and other similar things. When he went down to the bunk house he kept on insisting Merkle didn’t act that way and we should admit we are wrong even though he wasn’t even there when Merkle was saying all of this. To cap all of these shenanigans off, Merkle would end up sitting on one of our sleeping members and farting on him in the middle of the night. Zen’s girlfriend, Kiddo, told me as I was dropping off my Smokey’s permit the group made false accusations. I was the one who made the initial accusations to Zen.
The good part of all this was the addition of Surf’nTurf to our family.
Franklin to Fontana Dam
After Franklin we ended up heading towards the NOC where Captain Underpants would be taken to the airport by my mom. Nothing too substantial occurred between the Franklin and the lead up to the NOC other than pretty views and a cookout of sorts.
At the NOC, my mom and Mrs. S collected Shannahan and joined us for some drinking and lunch. Three-Speed hit on my mom for a while and was rejected. We only ended up going for 7 miles that day as we all got pretty hammered on the beach at the NOC. We also did some swimming there.
The next day we started the long and grueling hike out of the NOC. On the way, LifeAlert fell off a cliff but got back up. On the top of the bald coming out though we lost one of our own. Red Beard had decided to end his thruhiking adventure early. We were very disheartened especially Moses who also lost his dear companion Hambone/Jansport. Jansport was headed up trail days while we were planning on hitching to there.
Once we got to Fontana we opted to take another zero. Horrible weather in the smokies would end up striking 5 people. Sundance and I went swimming in the Fontana dam lake which was amazing.
The Smokies to Trail Days
The hike into the smokies was easy and LifeAlert made b the mistake of commenting on it. That made life harder the next day when the climbs kicked out ass.
Our family ended up with an awesome set of weather for clingmans dome. Our entire time in the smokies had good weather. We opted to go to Gatlinberg at the dome. Def with it. I got us a room at the Hilton garden inn there. Some people changed out their gear like new packs or shoes.
Heading out of the smokies we decided we’d aim to stay at standing bear hostel. This place was unorganized but very enjoyable with a very friendly staff. We got to play with some puppies and drink lots of booze. Before heading to standing bear we sent Sundance to reserve our spots. We wouldn’t have needed to do this though as we ended up with half our group there before other groups’ runners. This was when we realized we had a speedy group.
After hiking on Sundance, NASCAR, & I ended up doing our first 20 to get on ahead in order to get a hitch and get NASCAR’s truck. Our Hitch, Alecia, was amazing. She told us about just about everything. She was extremely enthusiastic. We ended up pounding down 5 lb burritos in Johnson City then headed to get the rest of the crew for a night in Erwin. We ended up taking the truck and grabbing a Uhual.
Trail was awesome and we all had a wonderful time. There were bomb fired and beer barters and fun. I won’t go into details but it was amazing. I also had to get new shoes after feet issues. Here’s just some stats from Trail days:
total ices performed: 7
list of some of the people met:
Monk, Holy Roller, Batman, Betty, Scout, Scout, Pinch, Pistol, Ketchup, Ms Janet, Smiles, and tons more.
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