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,