Sunday, April 1, 2012


13.1 miles today from last nights campfire to tonights Roaring Fork shelter. One of my favorites so far. Rainy night last night so my tarp is still wet. Keep me dry though so that is good. Rain again tonight, lightning too beating on the tin roof of the shelter, will put me to sleep soon.
Made it to the never ending climb surprisingly quickly, checked out an FAA tower on a bald (?) continuing pretty much non-stop all day. Took a 20 minute break to eat lunch at a road crossing then quickly pushed on.
Finally made it to the 4.629' summit of Max Patch. Took some cool pictures by hanging my camera on a post and setting the timer, couldn't stay too long though; rain was quickly on its way. I saw a wall of water pushing right  towards me, so I high tailed it back into the woods where I put a rain jacket on and finished the 2.6miles to the shelter.
I got here around 3pm so I occupied some time by altering a shirt so it fits better and I'm not swimming in it. It came out alright, the armpits are weird but eh, its o.k.
Made 2 dinners tonight to get rid of some food, I bought WAY too much in Gatlinburg. At least I wont have to buy much when I get to Hot Springs in 2 days.
Mile Marker 255.9 tonight. Bedtime.


Made it out of the smokies today. I was flying. barely stopped for breaks at all between 10am and 2pm. I sat at a road crossing with the triplets for a while and called home. The last few days worth of trail in the smokies was really nice. Today was no exception. A few good views but many had trees in the way.
A vegetation gound cover is new as it has mostly been dead leaves but now patches of green forest (?) are popping up.
Made it to Standing Bear hostel and ate lunch while waiting for Achillies and Far East Coast to show up. They made it eventually, but had difficulty navigating the I-40 underpass. A very cool little piece of a(?) could following blazes on guardrails and steel signs made getting back to the trail interesting.
Currently tarping out at Painters Branch campsite with a river on either side of this area. Bigger group here for a campsite, the triplets are here as well as F.F.C.. It was nice having some time with them, they are firmly starting to talk more, kind of. I found out for sure they are not mormons, very quiet still, but they'll come around.
Saw 3 snakes today, one near the base of a tree, one a few feet off the traile and a third directly across from the second. The second one was injured and angry. It had bite marks on it and was rattling its tail even thou it wasn't a rattle snake. Mimicking one does scare off some predetors though. First "real" wildlife of the trip. Had some more owls earlier.
One mousetrap worked last night. I didn't realize it went off, fell off the rafter and landed right next to my sleeping bag in my sleep.
Should be in Hot Springs on Sunday. Looking forward to the jacuzzi.


Laying here at Cosby Knob shelter with some trail magic in my stomach, velveeta, mac&cheese and wine. From a nice section hiker Matt who has a girlfriend who is a CPA.
2 mousetraps worked last night, one, another has triggered but none was in it this morning. Total-2
Nice level trail today, rocky but at least the ups and downs were minimal. Saw some airplane wreckage that was woefully underwhelming..
Met my first SOBO (southbound) thru hikers today. Not technically "thru" hikers, as they stopped halfway through last year and picked back up in January this year. Talked to them as I ate lunch of slim jims, inside swiss cake rolls, inside a peanut butter wrap. BLISS.
There's a fire going in the fireplace thanks to Far East Coast and Matt, and the triplets are camping down the hill.
Today was a 12.9 mile day, tomorrow will be similar, finishing up the smokies, and getting past "Standing Bear" hostel, maybe checking their hike box, then continuing to the campsites right near there.


What are  the odds that a throu hikers first successful hitchhike would be with an outdoor company sales rep? Well I just want to give an enormous THANK YOU TO "Chappy" for both picking me up and hooking me up with this sweet hat! My sunburned ears are singing your praise Sir!
Let's see how these mousetraps work! Far East Cost. and I just set 4 of them here at Pecks Corner shelter. Fulll house tonight too, here with Orange Lightning but, Halfmoon, Indy, Achilles, and a bunch of section hikers from Michigan.
The trail today was really nice, a few ups and downs but no steep climbs no descends. At one point we went to Charlies Bunion briefly as bad weather was upon us.
The thunderstorm povided little rain, but lots of electricl acticity. Thunder surrounded us as it echoed through the mountains. The worst of the rain held off till I was walking into the shelter at the end of a 11 mile day.
Yesterday was a short 4 miles into Gatlinburg, TN. Since Indy came with us the $29.95 motel room was only $8 a piece, good enough for a shower, then out to resupply. Tried to take the trolley but ended up walking the 2 1/2 miles to the "Food City".
The selection was too good, and ended up spending $50 on 10-ish days of food, not bad. But considering my next "big" town is coming in 5 more days it's excessive.
The six of us and "the Triplets" managed to catch the trolley back towards the hotel, where I repacked my meals and dumped my snacks into my now gagatuan food bag. Made a few calls while waiting for the rest of the group to get back before we headed out to find a troley to Pigeon Forge for GOLDEN CORAL!
Two trolleys and some walking later, we feasted like champions, endlesss steak, potatoes, mac&cheese, all 4 times over, then came dessert, cake, brownies, fudge, cookies AND ice cream. Took some of the cookies for trail dessert. Great Idea.
Again a GIANT THANK YOU to chappy for the ride and hat. Good Man! Now I have to decorate it with my trail name "Tommy Lee Jones" ending today at mile 217.2, over 10% complete.
P.S.....not 10 minutes after I stopped writing there was the distinct snap at the mousetrap doing its job. Too bad theres no fire, or he would be roasting right now.


What a fun day, even though it was a full 15 miles, there was a lot to be done. Today we hit Clingmans Dome - the highest part on the trail. Got a few questions from dayhihers and spring breakers. We were quite the oddity, it was a novel experience.
I sat and ate lunch and managed to get a phone call out to my friend Amanda. Long lunch, around one hour.
Found out that there is indeed a Golden Coral in Pigeon Forge, which is acceptable because a trolley will get us there. That poor buffet will have no idea what hit it.
When hanging our food bags I managed to clip the caribeener around the wire, meant to hang the food so it got stuck halfway up and I had to put Indy on my shoulders to get it down, success at last.
Tomorrow is only 4 miles to Newfound Gap where I'll be trying hitchhiking again, we'll see how it goes this time.
We also hit the 200 mile mark today, making progress!


 Happy St. Patricks day! My pack is finally 4 beers lighter that were drunk on top of a bald on thunderhead mountain with a view from on top of the clouds it was a grand celebration. On top of that we we taught Victor how to shotgun a beer, he was pretty good at it for a first timer.
 I hiked exactly 12 miles today from Mollies Ridge shelter to Derrick Knob shelter. Relatively easy terrain, lots of ups and downs made more strenuous by alcohol, worth it.
 We met our first 2 ridgerunners today, first one right after we started and second at the shelter we are staying at. He'll be here wit us overnight. He gave us oreos. I like him.
I think we scared one of them with the stories of the mice in last nights shelter, they were lively. One hit my feet, one ran over Achilles' arm, and I thought I heard one getting into my pack but wasn't sure. If the shit on the floor around me and in the cracks near the wall is anything to go by, we're in for it again tonight. 
I THOUGHT that I got lost today. I popped out of some bushes onto the trail I thought that I was on. THAT was an odd feeling. I followed the trail on the ground knowing it would at least go SOMEWHERE. I kept walking not knowing for sure where I was going for a while, not seeing any signs indicating if  I made the right choice or not. What looked like a baby turkey crossed the trail and I asked it for directions. He was of no help, and I made sure to tell him so. 15minutes of walking later, just as I was getting ready to pull out my guidebook and compare elevations, I saw it. That 2"x6" white swatch on a tree. The signature white blaze that says "you are on the right path", what a relief. No backtracking necessary.
Talked to some of the weeekenders here tonight and they gave us tips for Gatlinburg. One of them gave me a few shots of homemade moonshine. It was pretty good, and really complimented my dinner of salmon and fettucini alfredo. They say we can get more in Gatlinburg without much effort will do.
15 miles in store for tomorrow so I need lots of rest tonight. My knees have been at almost 100% again so that's good. Time to start increasing the mileage. The ridgerunner has a fire going in the fireplace INSIDE the shelter. what a treat!