Two weeks down!

First things first before the real update – some quick answers/updates in reference to my last post and some questions we’ve gotten:
1. I wrote that we crossed the border from Georgia to West Virginia — well, I obviously don’t know my southern geography — we went into North Carolina and are still making our way through that state. West Virginia is actually the halfway point of the trek. Maybe it was subliminal wishful thinking?
2. I have not been able to upload any of the photos that I’ve taken with the big camera yet. Which means all photo credit on the trail so far goes to Mike or my iPhone. We’re a bit stuck as to when and where I recieve the card reader and external hard drive that I’m mail-bouncing along the way. Thought I’d be able to upload some photos yesterday, but the Robbinsville library was closed by the time we got in and the town was too small for an internet cafe.
3. We are officially 162.6 miles into the trail — or 7 1/2 percent of the total miles.

Well, so we’re in a place called Fontana Lodge, it’s a former village turned resort that was created in the 30’s for the TVA workers who were making the Fontana Dam — the tallest Dam east of the Mississippi. We’re taking a nero (that means close to zero mile) day here in order to rest our legs before we head into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We heard from a fellow hiker that it would be good for our tendons to take a little rest before we hit those hills. The Smokies contains the highest point on the trail — Clingman’s Dome, elevation 6,643 — which we should be climbing over on Tuesday the 29th. Glad that we’ll have that over with!

(I’m not used to this public computer thing and I hope it’s not adversly affecting my writing. There are these two ladies kind of glaring at me from a couch here in the lobby of the Lodge. I’m not sure if they’re waiting to use the computer or if they’re just looking at me funny because I’m a thru-hiker.)

This break is definitely necessary. The last couple of days started out very cold, yesterday with snow on the ground, and it took at least an hour of hiking for my feet to warm up. I guess the good thing about cold days is that it keeps you moving along and warm. But when we stopped for the nights, my morale got low. I think part of it is because we’ve only had a 1/2 day break so far up until this point. I’m beginning to realize that all things on this trail seem to answer themselves. If your body is weary from too many miles, food and rest will fix it. If your mind is weary from only seeing other hikers and trees, a day in a public place and a bed will fix it. If the wind is blowing right through your jacket and cutting through your gloves, you just follow the trail to the other side of the hill and you’re in the sun and out of the wind. It’s truly a balancing act. All things come around, or like that George Harrison song, “all things must pass.”

I think that’s going to be my mantra going over the Smokies. There are going to be tough parts and beautiful parts, cold parts and warm. There is really a ying and a yang to it all. I just need to remember to be patient — with the trail, with other hikers taking up space in the shelters, with my snoring hiking partner and most of all with myself. I can counter all of these issues by just moving along to the sunny side, by organizing my stuff and by putting in my earplugs, I’ll be a-ok. And by remembering that food and water are the true answers to all that I really need.

‘Till next time,

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12 Responses to Two weeks down!

  1. Deborah Farmar says:

    Thanks! Today we finally got your postings! It’s hard for me to wait til the next one. We’re all so curious about everything going on with you. Can you let me know if you liked what I sent – so’s I can send more, if you’d like. Just give me a list of what you’d like or need.

    Our highway 128 is closed due to flooding. It was raining cows and horses!

    We love every stinky part of you both,

    • Mike says:

      I’d like to put in an order for a pair of those kind of shoes that Mercury wore. You know, the ones with the little wings? If you can’t get them in Mendocino or Ft. Bragg, I’m sure you can find them in SF. Thanks in advance, Sis!

  2. jrae says:

    I was very happy to read your post. I’ve been thinking about you all week.
    Nothing new here. Work is going well.
    We have had 3 times the normal rainfall for the month of March.
    It just rains and rains. Folks are getting tired of it!
    I print out your posts and give them to Mom, G’ma to read.
    I’m getting new brakes on my car today and then plan to go to the movies tonight.
    Enjoy your break with lots of food and rest and I will look forward to hearing about your time in the Smokeys. I drove through the Smokies years ago.
    Love, Jan

    • Mike says:

      Turns out the break with extra food and rest is lengthier than planned, but that’s okay. It’s good to be where we are, and looks like we’ll be back at it on about the 5th.

  3. Don Paulson says:


    We loved the wedding invitation. Those profiles are so cool. We got our reservations at the Hotel Sierra and our flights. Can’t wait to see you again. Keep up the reports. We wait for the real story from you after the humorous updates from your dad.


    • Mel says:

      Ha! I guess we’ve got our different takes on the experience! Some things that are funny on the trail just may not translate out in the real world.

      Can’t wait to see you both in October! The Hudson Valley is beautiful that time of year.

  4. Deborah Farmar says:

    Mel – I love your writing – among all the things I love about you!

  5. Beth Paulson says:

    I don’t think you’ll be bored climbing Clingman’s Dome on Tuesday. We’re jealous because our peaks still have way too much snow on them. When you get to the top, might we get a cell phone call?

    • Mike says:

      We’ll try to call you if the service is good and the weather isn’t chasing us off the top! Who knows what day it’ll be now, but we’re looking at a restart of about Tuesday the 5th.

  6. Perry says:

    Wow 162.6 miles under your belts,that is some accomplishment already.
    Mike I think I told you I took my GED test,however I just saw my test results on-line.
    Yup Failed!! Bummer,I was going to throw in the towel as after retiring from a 45 year trucking career I need a GED like a third eye.
    But hay if you can keep walking after logging in over 150 miles so far,I guess i can go back to the classes,and give the test another shot.
    Keep up the good work,and be safe.

    • Mike says:

      Too bad about your GED results…but on the other hand, that class is a lot of fun with good people! Maybe a little less fun and a little more homework would do the trick! Thanks for all your posts, Perry! Keep it up!

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