5/16 Damascus (22)

May 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm

We woke up knowing that we would hike to Damascus today. Bob Peoples drove us back up to the road crossing, taking half an hour longer than Saco without any stunt driving. It was exciting to get to meet Bob the legend, who has been doing volunteer trailwork and running the hiker hostel for decades, and who has inspired hundreds of AT themed Chuck Norris style jokes that line the shelter walls and compete for space in the log book (such as, ‘when Bob sleeps in a shelter, the mice guard his food’ or ‘when a zombie bit Bob, he […]

5/15 Slackpackers (28.9)

May 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm

If some days on the trail pass by unremarkably, then some days also rush by you in a crazed fury, flapping their arms and squawking wildly like a mad duck. On such a day, you might wake up in a treehouse, get driven up windy forest roads at breakneck speeds by a cackling 70 year old man named Saco who has put more miles on the trail than on his car and then find yourself hiking nearly 30 miles into the dark only to be greeted by sleepy smiles and cold casserole. Slackpacking, otherwise known as ‘Slacking’ or ‘Cheating’ in […]

5/14 Kincora! (16)

May 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

The trail is a way of life for is now, and any way of life is subject to the mundane from time to time. Even an awe inspiring experience requires some banality to make it sustainable in the long run. That being said, today was boring. The terrain was dull, consistent ups and downs, the surrounding forest and landmarks were bland, and our only view for the day was unfortunately marred by the remains of an intrepid defecating hiker. On a related note, when the woods are full of ‘facilitrees’, as one older gentleman told us, it is not cool […]

5/11 Greasy Creek Gap (12) and Noro.

May 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Well, today I got Noro, just to change things up a little, so we hiked 12 miles fairly slowly after all of our grand planning to do more. We woke up to rain but that was OK because we’ve become very adept at packing up the tent while wet. But suddenly I didn’t feel as fantastic as I did yesterday. I decided it was sympathy nausea or anemia or vengeance from my body for eating poptarts for breakfast, but Mark was pretty convinced I had Noro. I brushed off his concern and even looked him in the eyes and denied […]

5/9 Food Poisoning or NORO! (0)

May 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm

We woke up this morning to the wondrously free continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express. Along with our companions we stuffed our faces in preparation for our hike out. Maggie and I made our way back to the trail, opting to walk the flat mile fro. The hotel to work off some stomach rumblings that I had from eating too much at breakfast. Arriving at the trail we made out maybe half a mile before Maggie asked if I would set pace in the front. I confessed I couldn’t do the day period – I was sick. We sat […]

5/8 Erwin, Tennessee! (16.6)

May 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm

We actually managed to get up early and power into town by 2:30, just in time to catch the shuttle from Uncle Jonny’s, which is an interesting hostel and outfitter. What it lacks in sanitation it offers in colorful, though often inebriated, characters. They also boast to be able to fit 27 people into a 11 person van, and we got to witness some of that efficiency along with 15 other hikers, 4 packs, and 2 dogs. The employees were friendly and accommodating, and the van was like a delightfully urban glass bottom boat that allowed us to view Erwin’s […]

5/7 Big Bald Shelter (10.1)

May 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

We got a slow start today, sleeping later than usual and taking our time with breakfast. Flicka entertained us all by balancing on a log while we ate. She’s also a great dishwasher We tried to catch a ride from the gap to get aqua Mira but failed, so we headed North some more. The short but steep climb ahead really tired us out, surprisingly, and we stopped in the beautiful idyllic meadow at the top for an early lunch in the sun. We have been constantly hungry for days now and are finally realizing that we just need to […]

4/30 Davenport Hap Shelter (14.8)

April 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm

We have even more appreciation of the Smokies after today.  We saw our first bear today, although it wasn’t what we were expecting.  Although hikers anticipated experiencing fear, bravery, elation, or possibly incontinence after running into a big brown bear on the trail, no one was expecting to feel pity or guilt.  We happened upon an unusual scene during lunch which involved a cluster of forest rangers, ridge runners, and animal handlers moving a drugged full grown bear in an orange wheel barrow.  We were told by a peeved forest ranger that he had swiped someone’s food that they had […]

4/29 Tri-Corner Knob Shelter (15.6)

April 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Today we actually left Gram Cracker’s Five Star Hiker Sanctuary and re-entered the real world, or rather, the trail, which is very far from reality.  After the day and a half of rest, our legs, backs, and knees felt like new and we re-entered the Smokies with renewed enthusiasm.  We were able to start doing longer miles again with our knee braces, and we made it to the shelter early after an inspired bout of hiking along the beautiful Smoky Mountain trails.  We ran into several members of the old group including Blackfoot and his dad, Eight Minutes (previously Phillip), […]

4/28 Gram Cracker’s Kindness (0)

April 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm

So of course we took advantage of Gram Cracker’s kindness and stayed another day.  Actually, we woke up to a beautiful view of a cloud.  It covered the Smokies completely and dumped loud rain on the roof all day.  Gram drove us to the store to get knee braces and we all bravely prepared to face the loud thunder cracks on the trail, stoically ignoring the sloshing lakes that covered the roadbed as we drove on.  Then Gram said, ‘you all can stay another day if you want’ and everyone exchanged glances.  We decided to wait out the storm drinking […]