Sunday, May 4, 2014

Standing Bear Farm to Hot Springs, NC

I woke up Friday morning feeling well rested and ready to hike. Odysseus' aunt once again treated us to an amazing breakfast of eggs, toast, yogurt, mixed fruit, and of course coffee. I've become an avid coffee drinker on the trail. After packing up all our gear we hoped in the car and headed from Knoxville to standing bear which is about an hour drive. Once at standing bear we hungout awhile to show Odie's aunt around the farm. She really enjoyed getting a small taste of what its like to be a hiker. It's awesome how much people are interested in what we are doing out here! Back in California most people I talked to about the AT for one didn't know existed, and two thought I was crazy for undertaking such a serious hike. Now that I'm on trail everyone seems interested, I've even been asked to empty my pack and explain why I carry everything I do! We all took some pictures with Odies aunt and thanked her for what she had done for us, and let her know that she was most definitely a trail angel. Then it came time to hike. Oh I was feeling it those first few hours. I think rest days (zeros) are absolutely necessary because they give your muscles time to heal, but then you just get to break them all down again, great fun. After about 4 miles I was able to get into my groove again and my trail legs kicked in. First we had an amazing view at an air traffic control tower five miles in, after a quick rest and snack we head out for Max Patch Bald nine miles further, during our break we decided we would meet at the bald and watch the Sun set cuddle puddle style. (Our group name, because you guessed it we cuddle in a puddle.) Probably one of the best decisions I've made yet on trail. Gulliver got there first and I pulled in about 20 minutes later. It was beautiful. You could see for miles. Its crazy being able to look back at a mountain range and know that you just walked from there to where you are. So it was amazing being able to see the smokies. I met a group of college students who were hanging out to watch the sunset as well. They we're asking me all kinds of questions and were amazed that I've been hiking for a month straight. Five more to go hahaha. I met up with Gulliver and we both decided to break out our sleeping bags and chill while we were waiting for the others, because the wind was raging strong. The others showed up and we assumed the cuddle puddle position to conserve warmth. We watched the sunset, and I can honestly say it was the best I've seen. Never forget it. The group decided we would do our first bit of night hiking! And with that came my decision to take mushrooms. Another awesome one on my part! About an hour again I started to trip. The grass was glowing, the ground was blurry, and all my senses were working at once. We pulled over by a stream to cook our dinner, I made mashed potatoes mixed with ramen and mac and cheese. Just try it, I dare ya. you'll fall in love. We packed up our gear and head out. Around 11 we stopped set up camp and all passed out exhausted. I woke up before everyone and got a nice morning fire going. I'm the fire guru, so I'm told. Everyone else woke up a little later and we packed up our gear, ready for the day. The previous day we did 18 miles and today we had 15 to do. The terrain was great and the scenery changed a lot. Our pace has picked up tremendously I can pull about 3.4 miles an hour. After a day full of hiking Hot Springs came into site. I walked down into the town and continued along the trail which is marked by AT signs in the sidewalk. I'm now staying at Laughing Heart Hostel, tenting with the puddle in a big grass field. We got our showers and resupply in and then I head over to the spa to get hooked up with a massage my aunt paid for. It was the most glorious glory. After the puddle got a mineral water hot tub and soaked for an hour. Tonight will consist of beer, fire, food, and bonding. I'm loving every bit of this trail, never would consider getting off unless forced to do so by physically injury. The cuddle puddle is summiting Katahdin, no doubt about that. If you think otherwise well you can go ahead


  1. Doing GREAT buddy!!!!!! Love the updates!!

  2. Where can we send you goodies?