Thru the Smokies and Beyond


Rain, rain go away!! Climbed into the Smokies from Fontana Dam in the rain and cold. Shuckstack was covered in flurries.  Ugh.  Cold and wet make for miserable days.  But since it’s weather…it changes! Sunny and 80’s thrown in there for mid-day gear changes.  The trail stays muddy long after the rain stops and for my old legs and knees it’s a slip and slide at times. So far only small falls which are inevitable. Cold nights and wet days seem endless as we somehow slowly move north. 


We made it to Clingmans Dome on a beautiful day!! Views were amazing and it felt wonderful to make it to 200 miles!  We planned a zero in town with Bear Paw shuttle transporting us to and from town! Highly recommend giving them a call! Showers, laundry and shopping for resupply take up our short time in town. We eat too much food and definitely do not sleep enough to completely rest. But we do have fun! Of course, this is where we finally see a freaking BEAR!! Not up in the mountains or on a ridge somewhere in the Smokies, oh no, but in the parking lot of the Super 8 where he makes his trash can rounds! Hershey has great video and I have some pretty sweet photos. 

Gatlinburg also marks my newest family addition, my 2nd granddaughter was born while I was there!!! Being in town while phone calls and videos can be sent was perfect.  Whoo hoo so excited! Rosie will not get my kisses and hugs until I flip north. Part of my reason for being out here is to finish what I started three years ago. So many of us go through our lives full of regrets but I want to complete what I started then. Being able to say that I finally hiked the entire trail will be something that will make my granddaughters proud. Finish what you start folks!  


We have sheltered together, hiked in the rain, planned shuttles, eaten out, done laundry together so it’s official now. Hershey, Scout, The Badger and I are now a tramily.  Joyce/Jocelyn will be returning for some sections and will be a welcome member to our group as we miss her presence!  Hershey and Scout are both sectioning and Badger will only be out until he’s thru so I will be alone at some point but for now I’m enjoying the company! 

Being Famous

In case you didn’t realize thru hikers are famous people! We meet people everywhere that treat us like celebrities.  This is why I blog! To share my experiences with everyone out there in their homes. We share our stories on the trail, in parking lots, restaurants and in hotel lobbies. Yesterday I spent 20 minutes telling my story at a pharmacy while waiting for a refill on my medication! So many questions and so many stories to tell. People love to hear how many miles, where we have been and why we do this!?  Obviously, the answer is because we are completely crazy 🤣.  People look at me and ask how old I am, 59, and where is my husband, at home, and wonder WTF?! I’m older and a woman and alone out here.  He tells me to go have fun when I complain or get home sick. He says enjoy the day despite the rain! Make memories and go hike! Everyday is a good one if you make it that way. I’m not a positive person by nature but I’m trying to find that vibe. To those folks that stop me and ask questions and act like I’m special THANK YOU! You help make my day 😊 

The Next Miles

I’ve done this section. I got off trail just short of Damascus VA. I never saw that sign on trail passing into yet another state. I need to see new trail. It’s coming up ahead and I can taste it. The trail is familiar now but I know that in the coming weeks it will be new to me. I’ve passed sections recently where I spent time crying my heart out on a rock or pouring my misery out on my phone to my kids, thanks to Jacob, Zach and Char, Hannah and Sam for listening! My insecurities and doubts won out last time. I gave in to fears of being slow and some of the fears of hiking alone and went home. I look forward to climbing that mountain and  instead of calling for a ride home I’ll keep on hiking north. 

Time changes everything.  Stay tuned and drop those comments, I love hearing from you!

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Comments 1

  • Gary r nelson : May 3rd

    Beautiful baby grandmom. Just keep on keeping.(old saying hippy days😁) wish I had done but didnt know about the trail just rember jesus is with you all the way 🕊🙏😇


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