Being in a new state is a pretty exciting thing. It's a definite marker that you've made progress, even if the terrain looks exactly the same...and the state line is a small carved piece of wood nailed to a tree in the middle of nowhere. We crossed into NC a little after lunch yesterday, rested @ the famous Bly Gap & spent the afternoon almost on all fours climbing one of the craziest ascents we've hit yet. We've already noticed that on a steep climb all you want is a section of easy down, or when it's raining all you want is dry, or when its hot you're dreaming of two mornings ago when the misty wind blew in every crack of clothing & made your teeth chatter & vise versa for all of these. These things will consume your thoughts all day if you aren't careful. Our bodies and minds desperately desire the comfortable middle ground & this isn't just true of an extended outdoor trip. We are ruled by these thoughts at work, at home...or in any situation & if we're not careful we'll miss life. We're realizing that there is a lot of beauty & enjoyment in process, not just when you meet that next goal.
As I wright this, Mike & I are grabbing a bite to eat on top of Standing Indian Mt. at 5500 ft looking down on the last 3 days journey. Since we last touched base we've moved on from the cozy Blueberry Patch. Our parting gift from Gary & Mrs. Lennie was an enormous country breakfast consisting of: scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, cheese biscuits, homemade sawmill gravy (Gary's speciality), pancakes, & Mrs. Lennie's blueberry syrup. While we ate our feast, our hosts made sure that our OJ & coffee cups were never empty. Beside each plate was a small envelope that informed the visitor that there was no charge for staying @ The Blueberry Patch, but that hikers donations allow them to continue to serve hikers. "Service," it said, "is what our Lord Jesus has called us to, & we hope that our efforts have honored Him." That's the kind of folks you'll find @ The Blueberry Patch. The kind that not only offer you a ride into town, but toss you the keys (literally, he lent us his car!), give you directions & say, "Park the truck over there when you get back." Gary & Lennie, we know our Lord is honored by your generosity & service.
Last night we camped in our tent @ White Oak Stamp after a 13ish mile day, a much needed shorter day. Our friends Pickle & Tree Frog had waited for us. Sadly, old man Zip Code wasn't with us. His sweet wife met him for a few days in Hiawassi...but we're confident we'll see him again (funny side story: his wife met him in Hiawassi last year & after paying for a hotel room noticed that he seemed down about his trail friends leaving him behind, so she took him back to the trail & told him she was going home. Since they couldn't get a refund, the hotel offered them a free stay so they're cashing in on it this weekend.)
Hope all is well at home! Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers & support.