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Entertainment Comes Cheap On The Trail

Day 37 Saturday April 29, 2017 Mile: 318.2 - 331.6 Hiked to Spivey Gap Weather: 86 degrees. Hot and Sunny Sleeping at Basecamp Back on the trail after a double zero. We had the luxury of slack packing again. It was an easy 13.4 miles up and over the mountains. With that said the last 2 miles of the day no matter how easy are so slow and painful. The body just wants to quit. We traversed a beautiful bald today. It was even larger than Max Patch. Just as we descended back to tree line Batman pops out. He hiked in south to meet us like he does when he can. He continued to the Bald and Shortcake and I kept moving forward. We waited for Batman at the shelter where we all had lunch together befo

What Does This Hiker Eat On The Trail

Day 36 Friday April 28, 2017 Time: Slept In Miles: Zero Weather: 85 degrees and sunny Of course it is sunny outside we decided to take two zero days in a row due to a huge mileage and wet week. So the sun shines now and wet weather is expected again once we hit the trail tomorrow. Hopefully the weather man will be wrong as they often are. But what I have noticed is that with 20% chance of rain it is more likely to rain. So why then when it's 20% chance of sun it doesn't shine? Today we have rested and resupplied our food bags. It took a stop at Publix, Ingles, and Walmart. Most hikers get by with a stop at Dollar General. But me and my special dietary needs makes resupplying challenging. So

What Does A Hiker Do On A Rest Day

Day 35 Thursday April 27, 2017 Miles: 318.2 - 318.2 Weather: Rainy then sunny afternoon Sleeping at basecamp Today is a rest day. We like to get off the trail at least once a week. Some people think that is whimping out. But I figured if even pro athletes get a down day then we should get one also considering our workouts last 6-12 hours a day. So, what does a hiker do on a rest day? We call them a zero for no miles covered. We do as little as possible. But our rest days are always filled with something. Today we went to a sporting good store. Shortcake needed new hiking shoes. Her current new ones did not pan out to her liking. The treads were more like racing slicks. She wanted something t

300 Miles

Day 34 Wednesday April 26, 2017 300.3 - 318.2 7:56 - 7:57pm Weather: Hot, Sunny, low humidity. PERFECT Sleeping at basecamp Another longest day. We are getting our trail legs. We did 17.9 miles today. We had two options. Hike 15 and tent or do a couple more risking finishing with our headlamps on and sleep inside. We chose to risk it. And we did better than we thought so night Hiking will have to wait. Yesterday I was so intent on talking about mud I forgot to mention our 300 mile mark. The miles are adding up and so are the joys. Happy Hiking.

Let's Talk About Mud

Day 33 Tuesday April 25, 2017 Mile: 288.2 - 300.3 7:24 - 4:15pm Weather: foggy and cool in the morning then foggy and humid in the afternoon. Tented at Jerry Cabin Shelter What an amazing hike today. The trail had a little bit of this and a little bit of that. My favorite was a rocky exposed ridge section. There was no "bad weather" so we were able to take the ridge. We hoped for magnificent views but were only offered more of dense fog cover as the last several days. Black Bear and Shortcake with a foggy Mountain top view. What stood out today was mud and lots of it. So let's talk about mud. Not all mud is created equal. There is greasy mud. This kind is only about a 1/4 inch thick with a f

3 Nights In A Row Of Luxury

Day 32 Monday April 24, 2017 Miles: 273.4 - 279.3 7:20am - 12:43pm Cloudy, cool turned humid Staying at Basecamp again We did another quick slackpacking day of 8.9 miles. It was easy in hiker terms. But It was by no means a walk in the park. The elevation profile of the Appalachian Trail looks very similar to an EKG print out with all the possible bad rhythms except flat lining. It has been a month since we started and we are beginning to feel our trail legs getting stronger  carryimg us up and over the peaks more enjoyably. Nothing stood out today except we had no rain. First day in a week that we haven't been drenched. The trail is still wet, muddy, and slippery but it is so much more fun

Basecamp Again

Day 31 Sunday April 23, 2017 Mile: 273.4 - 279.3 11:44am - 2:37pm Wet, rainy, and windy Since all our gear is soaked and it is raining we decided to hike a nero day today and sleep at basecamp again. So glad we did. Not only did we hike very little, we slack packed. That is taboo is the world of a purist AT thru hiker but we fancied it today. Slack packing is when you hike miles with the lightest pack possible and retrieve the rest of your gear at day's end. It allowed us a day to rest and still do miles. What normally would have been a miserable day on the trail was quite fun knowing we would be indoors and able to dry out. Happy Hiking.

You Don't Always Get What You Want

Day 30 Saturday April 22, 2017 Mile: 260.3 - 273.4 7:12am - 3:00pm Wet and Rainy It was a long, wet, and messy hike into Hot Springs. Batman hiked in to meet us. He does that frequently. He has racked up almost 100 miles so far hiking in then back out with us. The only thing that kept us going strong was the fact that we were going to rent a hot tub for an hour. After all that's what Hot Springs is known for. The spa has private, outdoor hot tubs filled with the healing waters of Hot Springs. And yes, the tubs are drained and cleaned after each rental. After our long decent to the cute little town we sent Bruce ahead to secure us a tub time while we walked the blazed through town. But when h

Here It Comes

Day 29 Friday April 21, 2017 Mile: 245.4 - 255.5 - 260.3 7:34am - 2:20pm : 5:18pm - 7:55pm Hot, humid, then rain Tented at Walnut Mountain Shelter We climbed up and over Max Patch today. It is a beautiful huge bald at 4629 feet elevation. We were enjoying the hot humid day even though the clouds were gathering in the distance. There were other thru hikers partaking in the summits glory as well as day visitors. One hiker passed and joyfully proclaimed he had just checked the weather and the rain was down for the day. The words parted from his lips and 30 seconds later we all yelled, "Here it comes!"  All off us except Shortcake saw it coming. We could see the rain cloud closing in. We threw o

Good-bye Smoky Mountains

Day 28 Thursday April 20, 2017 Mile 229.6 - 245.5 7:53 - 6:55 Rainy start. Cleared. Cloudy & humid Tented at mile 245.5 Good-bye Smoky's. I am so happy to be rid of them. Not because they are not pretty. On the contrary, the woods offer a variety of flora and fauna. It's the sheltering rules. Hikers cannot stealth camp. You have to sleep in the shelters unless they are full then you can tent near them. But tenting wherever you want is not allowed so hikers are stuck to doing few miles or extra long miles to hit the shelters. It's too confining. Combine that with the overcrowding on the trail and it can make for a not so fun traverse through the magestic mountains that could otherwise be enjo

No Men Allowed

Day 27 Wednesday April 19, 2017 8:04 - 12:30pm Cloudy & dry Stayed in Crosby Shelter Our intentions were to stopped at the fist shelter we came to in order to dry out our gear and push on. But when we arrived at the shelter it was empty so we claimed to spots to keep our options open. Soon after we arrived a couple more ladies did also, then a couple more, a solo gal and more ladies. Soon it was full of girls and only one male. First time ever the females out numbered the men. As the afternoon progressed more men arrived but were forced to tent and by then it was raining. We kiddingly said this was the shelter where men were not allowed. This will be our last night in the Smoky's. Happy Hiki

Shortcake Rocked the Ridge

Day 26 Tuesday April 18, 2017 206.8 - 221.9 Rain Rain Rain Tented at Tri Corner Knob Shelter Today was our longest day yet at 15.1 miles. Not too shabby considering I didn't even want to get out of the car. Bruce returned us to the trail and it was raining. The hikers who had arrived at Newfound Gap looked like drowned rats and I was not thrilled to head back out. Miss Shortcake was all excited, not her usual attitude in bad weather but she was thrilled to try out her new rain skirt. I had one also but would rather it stayed dried. I ripped the bandaid off and headed out into the blustery, soggy mountains with my hiking buddies, Shortcake and Bruce. We headed up and up. Bruce left us after a

Happy Dance

Day 25 Monday April 17, 2017 Slept in Miles: ZERO Weather: Cloudy and humid I did the happy dance yesterday when Shortcake opened a packed from her sister Suzanne and there was a surprise for me. Two bags of my favorite jelly beans were wrapped in pretty tissue with a card for me. Today Shortcake went to the store and returned home with a large bag of my sweet delights at half price. Happy dancing again on my part. Then I got a text from my son, Stephen who said there were two boxes at home of more treats from my friends David and Karen. Then another friend Darnel from work said she had some for me. Add all that to the stash from Linda and I will be Happy Dancing until the cows come home. Ha

Happy Easter Trail Magic

Day 24 Sunday April 16, 2017 7:18am - 10:50am 202.5 - 206.8 Partly Cloudy & Cool Breeze Newfound Gap, TN 5045 Elevation I love nero days. We were being extracted by Batman this morning. We got up early as usual so we could have as long a nero day as possible. But we were enjoying the lazy, easy hike it took us forever to complete the short miles to the parking lot. Batman hiked in to meet us. He arrived at the parking lot before we were even up. He wasn't sure which was was A.T. North or South from the parking area and he accidentally went North for a mile. He still managed to cover more miles then Shortcake and myself. We took our time taking photos, delayering, snacking and whatever else w

I've Had Enough Adventure For One Day

Day 23 Saturday April 15, 2015 7:15am - 6:00pm Miles: 189.0 - 202.5 Hot & Sunny Tented at Mt. Collins Shelter 5962 Elevation The Great Smoky Mountains Clingman's Dome is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail at 6643 feet elevation. It is a tourist trap like Mt. Washington, New Hampshire. View seekers can drive up the mountain then hike the paved 1/4 mile to the top from the parking lot. The ramped, round observation tower is easily walked by anyone who desires to put one foot in front of the other and also allows anyone with physical challenges access to see the grand panorama as well. Today being a Saturday automatically meant the place would be busy. Combine that with Easter weekend a

Not Much To Read Here Folks Move Along

Day 22 Friday April 14, 2017 7:30am - 5:00pm Miles: 177.0 - 189.0 Hot & Sunny Tented at Derrick Knob Shelter 4882 Feet Elevation Great Smoky Mountains Second day in the Smoky's was just another day on the trail. Neither Shortcake nor I had any wow moments. We just put in our miles to get to the next destination. But we did see a deer as we left camp in the morning and there were lots of pretty flowers again today. Soon after we entered the Smoky's the landscape changed from a dull, brown, lifeless forest to a lush, green, flower blanketed ground. The weather as been fantastic, hot and sunny but that makes for limited water sources so we have to carry enough to hydrate us for the day until we

Great Smoky Mountains Here We Come

Day 21 Thursday April 13, 2017 8:45am - 4:50pm Miles: 166.0 - 177.0 Hot and Sunny Stayed in Millie's Ridge Shelter 4586 feet elevation AT North of Fontana Dam, NC We had a great Nero day yesterday at Fontana Dam. Our shuttle back to the trail dropped us off at 8:30am. A little later then our usual starts. Our trek across the Dam was peaceful with just Shortcake and myself as the morning sun glistened on the water's surface. The day started at 1700 feet elevation. It it didn't stay there long. After crossing the dam the trail progressed along a road for half a mile until turning back into the woods, the entry for The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our level ground soon became a steep in

Krazy Korean Showers Us With Praise

Day 20 Wednesday April 20, 2017 7:37 - 12:20pm Mile: 158.9 - 166.0 Weather: Hot and Sunny Weather has been fantastic. Hope it continues. We had an easy 7 mile stroll into Fontana today. We arrived at the Fontana Hilton Shelter just in time for lunch. It is by far the nicest shelter on the entire trail complete with lots of sleeping space,  tenting, showers, bathrooms, spigot, and a charging station. All of which overlook Fontana Lake. Fontana Dam is the largest dam east of the Rockies and was built to supply the us with power for building metal for airplanes for WWII. While we were enjoying our hiker lunches we met a Krazy Korean, a young hiker from Alabama. He immediately started showering

Jacobs Ladder Just About Killed Us

Day 19 Tuesday April 11, 2017 Miles: 147.4 - 158.9 Weather: Hot and sunny Tented at Cable Gap Shelter Shortcake resting after one of the day's climbs. This morning we woke up to pot smoke at 6:00am. I guess whatever floats your boat. I try really hard to be nonjudgmental and not dampen others space. But it annoys the heck out of me to be outside in the fresh air and have to deal with weed cigarette smoking. Obviously the culprits don't have a problem of hindering my space. I just pray that I don't blow up one of these times. My friendly reputation my be ruined. The water source was a long hike also so we skipped it since the guidebook noted water a few miles into the morning hike. I soon reg

A Difficult Day of Up, Up, and Up.

Day 18 April 10, 2017 Mile: 137.1 - 147.4 Weather: Warm, sunny and hot Tenting at Locust Cove Gap Today was a very difficult 6.8 miles. It went up, up, and up for every. We made it to our original destination but despite our fatigue we decided to push on. We made it before all the good tent spaces were occupied. We leap frogged with a great group of hikers today. Characters are developing on the trail. Some annoy the heck out of us and zap every ounce of spare energy we have. Then there are others like the crew we leap-frogged with that inspire and uplift. Second hand wacky-weed smoke is almost a daily occurrence. We can't seem to get away from it. Saw frosty today. He was the only snow left

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