March 27, 2011

204.7 miles down!

Well, tonight we sit in a hotel in Gatlinburg, TN with Andy, Cindy, Cayden & Honey (: They scooped us up at Newfound Gap at mile 204.7 -- rollin' right along! [Brock, we're on schedule.] After getting picked up, we got cleaned up at the room & went out for a steak dinner! I've been dreaming of steak for days. And the one I had for dinner measured up to my dreams! [And Mikes!]

I'll be honest, this 2nd week has been tough. It's been much colder than the first week, and much wetter. Yesterday we walked in the 30ish degree weather - wet. It not only rained, it poured. We pulled into our shelter around dinner time, dripping wet & soaked to the bone. Let me just say, I'm ready for some spring weather! Sunny & 70+ looks better every stinkin' day!

Since our last post, Mike & Kayla came & visited us at the NOC (: Bless their souls. We needed a visit from friends & they were so sweet to take their time to come see us! They picked us up & took us to the Microtel Inn in the booming city of Bryson City, NC. We cleaned up & went out for pizza [Mike's preference] at Pizza Hut  & spent the evening watching TV & catching up. You know, typical trail things! (: We woke up, went to Bojangles for breakfast [which beats trail food any day], shopped the local Ingles & headed to the NOC to hang out until time to part. Oh yea--I got new shoes at the NOC too!! NO MORE BLISTERS! My sweet doctor uncle Andy cut the dead skin off today right before dinner! I have clean, free feet!

After Mike & Kayla visited on Tuesday, Papa visited on Thursday. Go ahead & say it. We're spoiled. We enjoyed dinner with him in Fontana...pork sandwiches with fries & slaw! YUM. He also hiked with us some on Friday [7 miles actually] up to the nearest look-out tower. You go Old Man (: [I say that very lovingly] Just a shout-out: We missed you Mimi! & hope to see you soon!

Papa actually hiked us across into the Smokies....which are awful!!!! They haven't gotten Mike's gold star or my vote for "favorite section of the trail." The trail is muddy...ankle deep mud. And it isn't a nice trail like the rest has been [in NC & GA], it's a dang ditch! It's been tricky not to slip into an injury. AND, this mess has slowed us down! There's definitely no denying the beauty of this section though.  This morning, the rain subsided for a bit and tiny rays of sunlight (visible on the ever present misty/fog) stabbed thousands of tiny holes through the shadowy evergreen forest, revealing so much unseen beauty.  Moss and ferns (still dripping wet from the gully-washing rains) grew right from the trunks of Firs, Cedars and Pines.  It's the little things, ya know?  We're outta the Smokies in two days, so hopefully we'll be back to our beloved trail.

Thanks again to all of you folks at home for your support--whether in the form of trail visits, encouraging calls/notes and mostly your prayers.  You keep us moving on!

Enjoy the camera dump:

new shoes
New shoes for Mc (:
= no more blisters!! & one happy camper!
the view from the parking lot at Fontana
The view at Fontana

lookin' down from a look-out tower in NC
The rickety stair case on the look-out tower 3.5 miles past Fontana Dam [the highest dam on the east coast]

the view---Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake from the look-out tower
walkin' through the green tunnel!
Mikey & me walkin' through the green tunnel

in a HUGE tree trunk!
in a HUGE tree trunk!

shout-out to Just Tomatoes! Thanks for the yummy veggies!
Shout-out: Just Tomatoes!! thanks for the veggies friends!

attempting to dry all of our stuff
our attempt to dry our clothes..FAIL

me & mike at the highest point on the trail
on the highest point on the AT...too bad you can't see anything but us!

the view from Newfound Gap after the mist cleared away!


  1. Bless your little hearts with blisters, rain and cold. Tom & I started our hike to Mt. LeConte from Newfound Gap. We hiked part of the AT on the way. We hiked in pouring rain and hail. It was miserable, but the next day was gorgeous and we were able to enjoy God's beautiful world. I admire you so much for your perseverence in this long, long journey. On my hike to Mt LeConte I fell several times: broke a finger and bruised my knee. PLEASE take care and be careful while hiking through areas with wet rock and slippery slopes. Love ya'll!

  2. It's awesome that you are being flexible enough to allow others to share in this trip! It is really neat (spoiled or not) that you are letting friends and family join you along the way. And what a treat to get to dry out and get warmed up for a night!! Stay healthy and remember that I love you both bunches.

  3. I was thinking about y'all this week when I was outside working on the landscape. I was thinking how bad this rain sucked, busted down silt fences, etc. And how y'all were most likely either hiking or trying to stay dry in a tent. Anyways, I just wanted to drop and line and let y'all know that I was thinking and praying for you. We cannot wait to hear all the stories when y'all are done. Stay safe!

  4. We're thinking about y'all more and more as we start preparing for our own journey together!! Bible study won't be the same without you for sure! I'm so bummed we won't be able to meet you this weekend. We're trying to figure out if there will be another opportunity in a few weeks. I can't wait to hear about all about everything y'all are experiencing out there! Praying for you... Love y'all! xoxo

    Jessica and Collins