There was a large bin hung by a net at the 100 mile marker with a nice note from Gingersnap, a 2011 thru-hiker congratulating those who have made it thus far. The bin had held cake and cookies perhaps earlier in the day or earlier in the week. We aren't too sure, we just know there was nothing left for us. Nevertheless, we got a couple camera shots, signed her book, and continued on as it was late in the day. Two 12 mile days back to back. Thursday and Friday. No in particular reason except to try and land in Franklin, NC, which is where we write this from, to obtain our mail drop before noon Saturday.
It must have been Thursday evening it dawned on us it would be difficult to make it to Franklin within post office hours. We stared at the AT Companion for some time before realizing we either need to book it or slow down. Fortunately, I had signal enough to call the post office and they kindly dropped it at a local outfitters with more fitting hours. I do believe that was against P.O. regulations, so that's awesome. Nevertheless, we continued our speed. 12 miles isn't easy two days in a row.
We are starting to feel the aches and pains. I woke up last night from it. Not many blisters now, but the few I have got are extremely apparent in the first couple miles of the day. They tend to subside shortly thereafter. This is, of course, if we can feel our toes. The last few days have been quite cold, often having numb toes at the get go. It's tough to sleep, and especially tough to wake, in a 27 degree temperatures in tent. Ice on the ground in the mornings in Louisiana in April is nearly unheard of.
Yet hike on, we did. NC whooped our butts within the first couple miles but it has mellowed out a bit. We pretty much climbed up on elevation and aren't coming down except for some major towns we go through.
We are at another branch of the Ron Haven Budget Inn which hasn't treated us as kindly as the Hiawassee location. We are in a good "bubble" of people, though. Bumble Bee, NightWalker, Clyde, Cantucky, Belch, MC and Hammer, and as always, Cave Man are all here. It's a friendly town with a decent outfitter. Outdoor 76 Outfitter, to be exact. Though smaller than 3 Eagle, which ended up with our crucial mail drop, they have much more to offer. We actually decided to send back our comfortable 2.4 lbs inflatable Alps Mountaineer lightweight sleeping pads for some 14oz. Thermarest accordion style pads for 40 bucks each. 10% off for thru-hikers. They also took a look at my backpack to see what can be done about the weight bearing down on my shoulders. Solution: Eat more. I need hips for the bag to rest on and the straps are about an inch too short to get a good bite. Frustrating. Painful. Trying to gain weight but hiking too much to keep it on. Hey, my calves are looking amazing!
We also had a chance to look at some Chaser cam. Little did I know the memory on 32gb micro SD was filled up over a week ago. What!!??? Arg. The many times I thought he was rolling, he wasn't. I'm about to be way on top of that from now on. What was on there looked good, though.
14 days on the Trail now. Multiple people have been dropping. It's crazy. We were just camping next to some the day before and suddenly they were over it and ready to go home. Bummer for them. Nevertheless, we hit 2 weeks which is a big milestone. They say if you can survive the first two weeks you have the endurance to go all the way. That's awesome. We feel it. We are definelty stronger than we were. We are slowly figuring it out. We feel good and so does CamDog. In fact, Belch's mom is consulting with her husband about possibly keeping Chaser through the Smokey's. That'd be great! She loved him and is going to be going the miles anyway. Fingers crossed.
N.O.C. by Wed. and Fontana Dam by this time next week. We are a couple days ahead of the schedule I posted weeks ago. That's a good thing.
Miss you, La!
"this is how I eat my bones on the trail!"
Albert Mountain. Toughest, short climb yet.
We got to the top where there was a fire tower allowing amazing 360 degree views.
I look invisible, but I love my hat.
Shuttling it up. Beer and groceries!!
- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog
Location:E Main St,Franklin,United States