And I have walked 400 miles…

400 miles!

…and I will walk 1780 more. Okay, I know that doesn’t have quite as nice a ring to it as the old Proclaimers tune, but it’s been in my head all day and making up lyrics to already established songs is requisite on this journey. But really, 400 miles today! Wahoozie! And internet to boot!

It’s been at least 3 days since we’ve had any cell service and a week(?) since we’ve had any wi-fi or internet, so this morning when Long Time and I were looking at the book and planning our day’s mileage, we opted for a relatively short day (12 miles) and headed to Vango & Abby’s Memorial Hostel in order to use the internet to check in with all of our friends and family at home. And we’re the only two hikers here tonight so we’ve got both computer terminals to ourselves! Vango was a bigtime Appalachian Trail supporter who set up a bunkhouse on his property for any passing thru-hiker to come and stay, shower and do laundry, and at just 3/10ths of a mile off the trail, it’s convienent. When he died, he left money to build a bigger bunkhouse and now his step-son Scott, a thru-hiker alum, runs the place. It’s rustic, but it has all a hiker could need and is on a beautiful piece of property in the Tennessee Mountains – and only costs $5 by donation. Very cool spot.

So let’s see, this week, in addition to crossing the 400 mile mark, we also made it through our second state! So long, North Carolina! We’ve actually been skirting the North Carolina/Tennessee border for a couple of weeks now. Some days the AT has actually been the border between the states – left foot TN, right foot NC. We’ve been back and forth, back and forth since the Smokies, but as of yesterday, we’re officially in Tennessee! And soon, (probably Tuesday), we’ll be done with this state too. I can hear Virginia calling! The good news about Virginia, is that we’ll be close to 1/4 of the way done with the journey when we get into the state. The bad news about Virginia is that 1/4 of the whole Appalachian Trail is in Virginia. The AT racks up so many miles in that state, many hikers get the “Virginia Blues.”

The best other things about this week have all been food related. (I think you get some official thru-hiker cred when all you do is start talking about food.) We got some trail magic from a former thru-hiker married couple, “Dingleberry” and a very pregnant “Snot Rocket.” They were out on a section of trail with Double Stuff Oreos, salt and vinegar potato chips and Cadburry’s Cream Eggs. That may sound like it doesn’t go well together, but trust me, it’s delicious! Next up was the actually-tastes-like-real-coffee instant Starbucks that Aunt Deb sent us in a care package. If anyone else gets inspired to send us food, just think Starbucks!! It is such a welcome change to Foldger’s instant. And who can forget today’s breakfast at the Mountain Harbour Hostel in Roan Mountain, Tennessee?! Over the last few days we had heard raving reviews from southbound section hikers about the breakfasts there. And boy, were they right! The owner gets up at 4am every day to set out a huge spread of French toast with pecan maple syrup, biscuits and tomato gravy, baked eggs with sweet peppers, asiago sausages, pork chops, coffee cake, tomatoes, fruit, donuts, coffee….

…But I digress. I guess from this post and the last, you may think that all we do is eat out here. It’s just that after all of the ascending and the decending, the stepping over roots and on top of rocks, putting the rain gear on, taking the rain gear off, slabbing the sunscreen on, sweating it right off, the wet and tired feet, the achy twisted knees, hikers don’t want to think about the pain of it anymore — otherwise we would realize how crazy we are and quit. I guess we want to focus more on the food and the folks. And there sure are a lot of both out here!
~Mel

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3 Responses to And I have walked 400 miles…

  1. Don Paulson says:

    Mike’s gray beard looks distinguished.
    Don

  2. NAO says:

    So proud! What you do keeps me stay strong 🙂 What a great journey!

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