Tonight I'm sitting in a warm, cozy bed in a hotel in Bryson City with our sweet, dear friends, Mike & Kayla! We called them a few days ago & just threw out the idea of meeting us at the NOC and hanging out for an evening & they took us up on it! [for real, bless them! -- their visit couldn't have come a better time]. Since our last post -- we've had a few tough days.
We stayed at a campsite just beyond the road that leads into Franklin [U.S. 64] on Sunday after a 16.8 mile day. About midway through the day we got the bright idea of calling the local pizza place [in this case Dominoes & Pizza Hut] to see if they would be so kind as to deliver a pizza to the AT-road crossing. No such luck. ): We were pretty bummed out at this point...but knew that if we pushed on, pizza would be that much sweeter on Tuesday. [and trust me...it was]
Monday we woke up & hiked our butts off again - for a 14.9 mile day. Half way through the day we came up to the Wayah Bald [5,342 ft summit]. At the top is the John B. Byrne Memorial Tower. It's a stone observation tower & the view was GORGEOUS (: The tower was built in 1937 by the CCC & renovated in 1983.
Today, we woke up to the sun rising! Our view was pretty blocked by trees, but we could still see the colors changing & streaking across the sky. We thought we would have a nice short hike into the NOC ... but boy were we wrong! The 4,000 ft, 13 mile descent proved to be one of the hardest days yet. We got some great wisdom from Swift yesterday while we were lunching at Wayah Bald -- "the uphills are tough & wear you out, but the downhills are tough, wear you out AND injure you." You've gotta be careful going downhill...it's bad for the knees, ankles & feet. Tomorrow will be a short hangout with Mike & Kayla before hitting the trail again.
Lastly--Mike's trail name is Upstate [no longer the Conductor] -- as a nod towards home! (:
Since Kayla was sweet enough to bring her computer for me to use, here are some pictures from our first 10 days on the trail:
Mike gearin' up
Mike's boots---all new. They don't look like this now!
Mikey & Me on top of Springer Mt!
Ready, Set, GO!
Typical supper on the trail
Mike walkin' through the tunnel at Neel's Gap
Me walkin' in the nasty weather
clothes hanging out to dry
water bottles...pretty full (:
smoke coming out of the pot..dinner's on!
Rooster, Zip Code & Upstate
Hello blister friend. Please ignore the fuzz from my socks! YUCK! [just be glad you can't smell them!] (:
Me & Mike in Tenville one morning
Tree Frog, Pickle, Zip Code, Upstate & Me [Caboose]
Trying to tame the blisters...so far, no luck.
Mike & Me at the NC / GA state line! Movin' right along
Me & Mike on the famous tree at Bly Gap
Enjoyin' the view
The veiw we were enjoying!
The stone tower on top of Wayah Bald
A late lunch at River's End at the NOC (: