5/13 Mountaineer Shelter (18)

May 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm

We left the barn late today; the allure of the warm fire and the view (not to mention lingering company) was much stronger than our desire to crawl out of our sleeping bags and face the frosty morning. Eventually our anticipation to hike the trail weaving up the meadow in front of us conquered our reservations and we were treated to another day of beautiful balds. The views were great but the winds were icy and we were glad to have had a late start when we saw the ice crystals in the mud. We planned to hike as far […]

5/12 Overmountain Shelter (16.6)

May 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

The day began with a scenario that we have grown disquietingly accustomed to; hard rain on our tent woke us up to deliberate about what our ruined intestinal tracts could handle eating for breakfast. Fortunately, there are angels near Greasy Creek Gap and the owner of the hostel there, upon hearing about my illness, sent someone back to the gap with a bag of stomach health, so I had applesauce, a banana (which is solid gold on the trail), and saltines for breakfast. We’ve heard a lot of stories about how kind and helpful the good people of the Greasy […]

5/10 Beauty Spot Campground (12.8)

May 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm

We got up feeling refreshed today and had a slow morning, as Mark is still recovering (but much better). The shuttle driver who gave us a ride brought to our attention one of the more eccentric quirks of Southern fauna when he asked us “are you guys ready for the Cicadas?” We were hard pressed to answer, since neither of us had much experience with Cicadas beyond a children’s book I read in first grade that painted them in a fairly positive light. Apparently, though, while they are great material for telling a story about a grasshopper with collages, they […]

5/6 Hogback Ridge Shelter (14.7)

May 6, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I woke up today next to a large, snoring man. Then I rolled over and saw Mark, who was also sleeping next to a snoring man. A typical morning. Tentatively, we emerged from our sleeping bags today long enough to note that it was still raining, albeit less fiercely. Soon the temperature was well into the forties and climbing and the sun had broken through the perpetual cloud cover that has guided us through Tennessee. We grudgingly woke up and faced the beautiful new day. Hiking was fantastic and restored our appreciation for the incredible opportunity we have. The weather […]

5/5 Jerry Cabin Shelter (15.4)

May 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Today tested our commitment to the trip. We woke up in the rain and packed our gear, then started moving to get warm. We snacked on bars for breakfast. We thought we might stop at the hostel 6 miles North along with a lot of the other hikers, but when Smoky, Slider, Mark and I walked through the gap the sun had started peaking out and it was warm enough to be comfortable so we pushed on, figuring we would save some money. We were roughly one mile into the uphill out of the gap when the sun slunk petulantly […]

5/4 Spring Mountain Shelter (11)

May 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

After our Hot Springs vacation we had some difficulty actually leaving town. We are entering the section of the trail where everyone has warned us the dreaded NORO is lurking. The NORO virus is a nasty virus that unlucky hikers can contract by fraternizing with mouse feces in the shelters and leads to vomiting and diarrhea, at which point it becomes airborne and can infect anyone in the vicinity. It sounds vaguely like something from a zombie movie and we’re trying pretty hard to avoid it. That being said, several hikers aptly conveyed the Hot Springs phenomenon when they wrote […]

5/3 Hot Springs! (3.2)

May 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Day off in town! We took a day at the infamous Elmer’s SunnyBank Inn and ate about five full meals in the span of 10 hours. We also discovered that Mark has lost 20 pounds and I have gained 3, leaving us, we decided, with a net loss of only 17. Mark has been ordered to eat everything. There is also a festival in town that somehow draw 4000 people to the sleepy little town of Hot Springs and we discovered that when we are unwashed and wearing sleeping bag liners while we do our laundry we are easily mistaken […]

5/2 Deer Park Mtn Shelter (16)

May 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Today we caught up with Smoky and Slider and overlapped with them and Doc and Genie as we all pushed on to the last shelter before Hit Springs. After our day of climbing, we got a nice terrain break today and spent the second half going down hill. Less than 2000 miles left!

5/1 Max Patch Camping area

May 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Today was the first day of the Appalachian Trail for me.  I’ve been waiting for the trail to feel real, and expecting to fully realize what we’re doing at Neel’s Gap, or Fontana Dam, or after the Smokies, or perhaps at Damascus, VA.  I didn’t expect Max Patch, which for all I knew was another routine blip on our map, to be a remarkable awakening, but it turned out to be the most incredible experience of our trip to date.  We had a slow morning; we hiked a quick few miles out of the woods, under a highway, into the […]

4/23 Fontana Dam Shelter (6.6)

April 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Today was our day off (sort of)! We dragged our aching limbs downhill into Fontana Dam and rolled in luxury for a while. Showers, laundry, town food, and a cozy bed in the Fontana Hilton (a huge shelter with a beautiful view and real bathrooms up the road) revived us and reminded us of our humanity, and Doc Spice even made us bacon and hot dogs on the campfire. PS. Thanks for the mail drops mom and Margot!