Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good Things

We are currently in Waynesville, NC. "But Spiral and Reverie, what are you doing there? The AT doesn't run through that city." You are correct, it does not. Fortunately, Caveman has an awesome hook up.

We unintentionally double zeroed in Gatlinburg. We actually didn't even mean to stop there at all. Nevertheless, the weather was horrific. It sucked for all the hikers stuck out in the hail and thunder storms. Luckily and slightly reluctantly, as we were all together missing the Trail, we managed 6 people in Pep Talk and Lucky Charm's motel room. We agreed to wake up early and get back on it. We were quite over Gatlinburg. Free samples of hot sauce and moonshine only goes so far.

So, awake we did. Another run to Dunkin' Donuts and off to hitch back to the gap. That ended up to be quite difficult. It took about 45 minutes for Belch, Rev, and me to end up in the back of an old pick up truck. The excitement grew on that beautiful day.

We got to Newfound Gap and got going. 11 mile day underway. The first shelter had volunteers working on it. Sweet footage op. there were some amazing views that day. Suddenly the Smokies were awesome. Ridge walking with drops on both sides. Massive sights and easy climbing.

We got a shelter where section hikers took over. Lots of older people who snored. Arg. But the temperature was great and we decided to try and pull our first 20 miler the next day to try and get on the edge of the Smokies to get Chaser ASAP the following day(today). Caveman mentioned something about a parents friend who was willing to feed us shortly before Max Patch. So, we were thinking about that too.

We got going at 8. We got 5 miles within 3 hours. That's pretty good timing for us. We were cruising. Reverie preformed better than she ever has. I was very proud. She is getting her hiking legs. By mile 10 Belch hopped in our hiking party and Caveman stayed back. We succeeded the 20 miles. 20.4 really. We were flying the last few miles. Downhill. We rolled up to Davenport Shelter right as the sun went down. It was kinda nice hiking at a different time of day. 12 hour day. We caught up to Patch, Sullie, Ultimatum, Tantrum, Sling Blade, Creeper, Pesky, and Gluten Puff. Great group. There was space in the shelter and no snoring. Awesome night.

Caveman got up before the sun and 7 miles behind us and caught up to us by the time we left the shelter. He said we were going to be meeting up with his people the same place we get Chaser. Exciting! Not many miles today but that's okay.

We descended to the gap and here comes Chaser so so so happy. We were so thrilled. He was howling with excitement. Mrs. Nancy and Mr. Rusty had Spring Water cheese, jerky, brownies, and cookies for us and any hiker to come by. Trail Angels. Before we knew it Mr. Tim showed up, we hopped in, and we were off.

It was a beautiful drive on I-40. Caveman and Mr. Tim had never met. It was a just a coincidental series of events that got us here. We rolled up across some amazing mountain landscape to their house. Mr. Tim and Mrs. Bonnie Brown. Trail Angels to the max. Mr. Tim builds and sells acoustic guitars. Not to mention the abundance of other instruments here!(stand up bass, steel drum, harp, hammering dulcimer, and mandolin) Holy crap, right? Showers, laundry, they bar-b-qued for us and beer. They have a dog named Moose and 3 month old hound dog named Banjo. Chaser got along great. Everything is really great. The best part is that offered to let us slackpack to Max Patch. That means we are getting dropped off where we were picked up with no big ole packs. Cannot wait. 12 miler to where we'll meet them at Max Patch. Great deal.

Good things keep happening and we are really fortunate. Hot Springs by Wednesday where we have about 6 or 7 packages waiting for us. Looking forward to it.

Awesome 30 dollar room in Gat.


Still only stuffed bears.

Checkers. Killing time cause the rain.



... cancelled this.

The poor air duct placement next to motel.

Finally pretty days in the Smokies.

Charles Bunion

Sometimes I don't point where it needs to be pointed.



Massive trees

"I'm back!"

"I love CgaveMan!"


And Moose

One of the many things the Browns have collected. They rule.

- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog

Location:Gem Dr,Waynesville,United States

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Great "Snow"key Mountains

It is now the 26th day on the Trail. Yesterday was Lindsay and my 3 year anniversary.

We had a great time in Fontana Dam but was warned of some potentially poor weather in the Smokies. We waited for our maildrop, I put the camera away, admired the dam for a bit longer, then set off into our first national park not knowing what was in store for us.

We sweated pretty bad on the way out. Town is funny like that. You hike these massive mountains until you go downhill for a couple miles, soak up "town", resupply for coming days, then roll out weighing way more and now hiking uphill for miles to get back into the massive mountains. The thing about the AT and the Smokies is you must stay at the shelters. You gotta plan accordingly so that you make the necessary mileage to make it to that shelter. All of these shelters are high up the mountain, sleep 14, have a fire place on the north end, and pretty much open on one side.

Hearing these things, we head 4.5 miles to the ONLY tent camping spot allowed in the Smokies on the AT. Caveman hiked with us. We got the and made camp. Then the rain slowly moved in. That's our first real rain in our tent this whole trip. It rained all night. Suddenly it was really cold.

We awoke to rain which is tough. Tough to go get your food bag down from the bear line, tough to get water, tough to pick up camp, and tough to make yourself hike. But we did. Caveman did not. The wind really picked up. It was super foggy, wet, and slippery but we had an 11 miler day to try and keep up with Belch.

We made it to the first shelter to try and eat. Our fingers were barely working. I actually saw a coyote coming down the Trail as we pushed to the next shelter. He was gone in a flash. We really wanted to stay there but no, we me pushed forward. Terrible idea. That second shelter had 2 people. That third one we finally got to, 15. It was 7pm by the time we got there and the rain turned to freezing ice balls. The open end of the shelter was partitioned by tarps, thank god. We slept on the floor as other hikers started showing up. The next shelter was 6 more tough miles. One fella, Gerber, opted to sleep in his hammock where he had to continually knock off ice as it froze to his tarp. Brutal. We were discouraged and cold but somehow thankful for having the floor despite the mice running all around us. It dipped below 30 that night as the wind whipped hard.

Next day, more difficult to convince yourself to get up and hike. By about 10 we did. It snowed. April 23, it snowed. A lot. It was kinda exciting. It sucked that all our water froze and the trail was quite slippery. Nevertheless, 11 more miles to crank out.

We rolled up to a shelter with no tarps, not knowing if it was gonna be full, and aware that night was gonna be colder than the last. Good news. Belch, Saturday, and two dudes from Chicago who just finished a gnarly 4 day adventure in the Smokies, Tom and Mike. Plenty of room.

Tom and Mike turned out a lot of trail magic. Not only were they awesome dudes, they provided a good time in a harsh situation. Whiskey! Plus Tom worked the fire like I've never seen. It was freezing out. Literally. I was worried the camera was gonna get hurt, our noses have been cold for days, numb extremities, rough landscape with minimal views and suddenly the best fire(close to inferno) was created. For an hour and a half we were warm and felt human again. It was amazing. Sadly, it didn't survive the night and gave way to the most difficult temperatewise night on the trail. My feet were numb in minutes. Little if no sleep at all... Again. Brutal.

I got up at 8, started collecting firewood, seen a couple deer. We got it blazing again. So awesome. We counted our provisions and realized we need to make an unexpected stop In Gatlinburg. Bales Motel. 30 dollar room thruhiker special. Sweet! But we still had a lot of miles before town.

Clingmans Dome. One of the highest points on the AT. Maybe the highest? I forget. The weather felt like it was improving and we knew we had town coming so we were happy. We get to Clingmans were it's beautiful but the wind begins to really start picking up again. There were tons of tourists everywhere. Pretty views. When people heard we were thruhikers they wanted pictures with us and stuff. It was pretty crazy. Like celebrities.

We hitched into Gatlinburg where we couldn't believe the room for 30 dollars. Belch came and stayed. We found some other thruhikers and took it to Smokey Mountain Brewhouse. We partied pretty good. We deserved it. We had a blast. In fact we decided on a much needed zero day.

Easy day today. Shoneys this morning. resupplied. Caveman showed up. Dried our tents out. Laundry. Showered. So nice.

This place is weird. It's pretty much a theme park. Fudge and rides everywhere. One big cavity. But entertaining.

We are ready to hit the trail tomorrow and get to stepping. 200 miles down. We are now walking the NC/TN border. We get Chaser back Saturday or Sunday at the much anticipated Max Patch. Woohoo! Can't wait.

Sorry so long but it's been a wild last couple days. Snow. In April. Crazy.

Now it's raining and we aren't too sure how to get back to the Trail. Hopefully it'll clear up soon.

Fontana Hilton

Fontana Dam

Boy loves the Smokies


The ground was brutal and in everybody's way.

Packed house

Anywhere they could fit

Hammer slept on the bench. Peaches photo-bombing back there. He actually just left the Trail.


Found this guy

The crucial fire

Clingmans Dome


Ultimatum, Sling Blade, and Creeper

Belch and Saturday

Hammer Time

Big beers

Crazy Sketch

Take on Me

Belch working it

How we got home in the rain. Who Dattt!


- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog

Location:Bishop Ln,Gatlinburg,United States