Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kincora Hiking Hostel

6/30
Started near mile marker 396.8
Ended at Kincora Hiking Hostel
15.8 miles

Started with our awesome oatmeal and within an hour of hiking we pass this great waterfall. Lots of big streams today, so water was no issue. I even had a chance to get my hair wet and stood in water during lunch as an ice bath for my feet.


This is the Mountaineer Falls Shelter, a three level deluxe shelter that we stopped to have a Hammer gel. 


We also had a great spot for a snack, complete with a bench!


At the hostel we got our box and planned the 4 days to Damascus. The grocery store was already closed because it is Sunday. We may go in the morning to get some eggs for a deluxe breakfast because Pete has been begging for them (and bananas). They have a washer and dryer so we did our hiking clothes. Bob, the owner, is telling stories about the trail and Pete is reading "Captain Underpants".





Shelters

About every 8-15 miles along the AT you will find shelters, 3 sided with a sleeping platform and a picnic table. Some of the nicer shelters have benches for cooking and multiple levels. This shelter has 2 main levels with a third small platform over the cooking area. It is very nice, but we didn't get to stay because we tented.

Tenting near mile 394.6

6/29
Started at Overland Shelter
Ended on ridge near mile 396.8
17.8 Miles today

We awoke this morning with the other hikers and it seemed like everyone was having oatmeal and talking about how they make it so good or how they need to make it better. We had the deluxe version with flax, cinnamon, honey, raisins, and walnuts. A thru hiker named David (trail name Jesus, but pronounced the Spanish way) gave us some cranberries and now is the boys new best friend. We also had breakfast sausage to complement the meal. All that was missing was the orange juice.

The hike from the shelter was up, and we had some great views down on the shelter and all the tents next to it. The sky was sunny and we crossed a few awesome balds. We even got cell phone reception on a few. The picture is Sydney with Roan Mountain in the background.


In this picture you can see the trail going up the hill behind Pete and Harvey.


After the great views it was time for a steady 3 mile downhill to US 19E. Lots of cars were parked at the trailhead, and lots of signs saying it wasn't safe due to vehicle break-ins. Once over the road it was clear most people hiked the other direction. The first 2-3 miles were overgrown and we stopped to check for ticks often, but never found any. 

At one of our water stops the kids washed off the mud they had accumulated on the trail since the shelter. It was a challenge to stay out of the mud, but the boys especially enjoyed jumping over and around the mess. Sydney was more business like and just avoided it like she hikes muddy trails all the time. 


The boys are excited to get home and start a rock band. Harvey on drums and Pete on guitar. Harvey said he had the better voice, but Pete said Harvey couldn't sing because the drummer never sings. The song they are working on is called "I rock the ice age". It is about someone leaving Alaska after winter. Some potential lyrics include "winter is gone and the snow has fallen and the ice is cracked". They worked on it for about 30 minutes. 

It was getting late so we played "Don't let Dad catch you". They all took off and I would try to catch them. They made really good time and I thought we would get one of the camp spots in my book, but it was getting late so instead we just camped at the first flat spot I could clear off. Surprisingly it worked out great (so far). The ATV we can hear is a bit annoying, and the shooting guns finally stopped, so I think we might sleep good. 

I gave the kids a massage and inspected bumps and scrapes. Everyone is in good shape. I'm the only one with any problems. A rock got in my shoe and worked itself down to my toes. Before I could get it out I stepped on some rocks and really dug the rock into my foot. It is a little tender as I write this but it should be better in the morning. 

I felt bad pushing the kids so hard, but usually you can find a good camp spot every 1-2 miles.  This section has had very few camp spots. I'll try to time things better and/or stay in shelters.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Greasy Creek Hostel

6/26
Started at Deep Gap
Ended at Greasy Creek Hostel
12.8 trail miles and another .6 to hostel
We've gone over 100 miles total

This morning I woke up in the tent and a smile crossed my face as I noticed no rain on the outside and no condensation on the inside. Before I could move it started to rain, and kept it up for an hour. We cooked in the tent and rejoiced to have cinnamon and honey (not the good honey Mary-j is sending, but good for now). The rain slowed so we packed up and were hiking in the clouds. The first half of our day was in the clouds and the second half was cloudy with a few rain drops, but not enough to get us wet.

The boys love the rain because the rocks and roots are all wet and they can slide on them. It is a heart stopper for me to see them slide down a root on a steep decent but they are loving it. It keeps them hiking faster. At one point I was really tired and looked up to see Pete doing 360s off rocks. Not just one but off every rock!

We got to the hostel and had 4 boxes waiting for us. 2 from Amazon (Hammer Gel and books) and 2 with food. We should be well stocked to get us to the next hostel. We are waiting for another box with Pete's water bottle. We all had showers and since we didn't have clean clothes she let us borrow shirts. The bunkhouse is really nice and we are the only ones staying tonight.

It was late when we got here, so we had granola and soy milk for dinner. Tomorrow Connie is making eggs for breakfast. She is gluten free and looks for more natural foods so she has options for us.


The kids love the books and looking forward to reading tomorrow during our rest day. Harvey has almost finished one. Sydney was so excited to get mail from her friends and I am excited to read my magazines.



Friday, June 28, 2013

Overmountain Shelter

9/28
Started at Greasy Creek Hostel
Ended at Overmountain Shelter
15.8 miles per my guidebook, others had the distance at 17
11 hours of hiking

Today was our biggest mileage day ever. In addition to the trail miles we hiked .6 from the hostel to the trail and an additional .4 going to shelters. The trail has been rerouted and lots of switchbacks added so my guidebook probably understates the mileage, but the kids had fun finding the old trail.

We are hiking in the Roan Highlands and in the latest Backpacker Magazine that area is featured. I took a picture and attached it. We climbed over Roan Mountain today and didn't get to enjoy the view because of clouds and rain. The first part of the day was perfect, with a slight breeze and overcast skies with occasional sunshine. We eat every hour and had plenty of water, so things were good.

As we got closer to the summit the greater the threat of rain till it finally dumped on us. We timed it perfect this time, getting our rain gear on just before the skies opened up. Once over the mountain and down the other side the sun came out and we dried out.


The sky cleared and the views were really great. It was still about 5 miles to the shelter so we had a snack and took off. About four miles before the shelter we were passed by a guy who stayed at the Hostel. Pete latched on behind him and left the rest of us behind. He was flying!!  Pete realized we were not behind him after 30 min and stopped to wait. He was a little scared that we were so far behind, but we were all happy to be together. 


We heard all day the shelter was going to be packed, and when we got close we saw at least 10 tents. I was afraid we would be stuck outside, but inside the shelter we found plenty of space. The shelter is a converted barn and has two floors, we are sleeping in the loft. It has a big fire going by the weekenders and the thru hikers are sleeping in the loft.

Greasy Creek Friendly Hostel




6/27
Stayed at Greasy Creek Friendly Hostel
0 miles hiked

We had major rains last night and during the day so I am glad we are taking the day off. We don't have cell service or Internet so our trail updates are a bit late. 

Pete's water bottle came today!  Now we have all our boxes and can leave tomorrow (Friday).  I also repacked our food with 4 days of excellent meals. At the next hostel we will have access to a grocery store and will continue the hike/re-supply cycle. 

Breakfast was awesome. We had eggs and turkey bacon (she does not use pork products). We also had fruit salad that came in fancy glasses, the kids loved it. I got DUCK eggs!  A real treat that reminded me of the Minnesota days when I bought them at the coop. We also had oatmeal since I had some extra packets. She gave us raisins and honey for the oatmeal, and didn't charge us. She is very generous and even gave us other free food that hikers had left or that she had extra. 


Lunch was pasta/rice with broccoli, she added lots of broccoli and I bought a salad that Sydney got to help make. The salad was SO good, it had carrot, feta, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, celery and a candle. The kids sang Happy Birthday to me when Sydney brought out the salad. After we ate Pete wanted more broccoli so we got a plate of just broccoli with sharp cheddar cheese and Harvey and Pete split it. I was glad to get some vegetable in them. Next we had some brown banana she had in the freezer and microwaved it with dark chocolate chips. It was such a yummy treat. 

Connie has a dog and cats, one of the cats is very friendly and will sit on your lap. 2010 was a hard year for Cee-Cee (her trail name) after her car was stolen and other hardships, but the worst was when her favorite cat went missing. It was a huge cat, the size of a raccoon or medium size dog. It was so smart it could open the door and turn on the shower water. It would also do tricks for the hikers. 


Attached is a picture of Pete in the bunk house. We are sharing the place with another hiker and two more are on the porch. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Deep Gap

6/25
Started at Mountain Inn in Erwin
Ended at Deep Gap
12.1 miles in under 9 hours

Started the day with a hot breakfast at the Mountain Inn. Sausage, yogurt, cheese omelets, and I took wraps and ham for a great breakfast burrito. We would highly recommend it to hikers.

Uncle Johnnies gave us a shuttle for $10 to the trailhead. When we were getting ready to leave I found that Pete's water bottle was missing. Our driver Sarge said he had one at the hostel so we went to get it. Sarge also had some free hiking poles so we took off a lower section of a free pole and put it on Pete's bent pole. I quickly sent a text to Mary-j about the missing bottle and we started hiking up and out of Erwin. By the time we had cell service again she had a bottle on order (we use Amazon Prime for two day shipping and the free videos).

With a big breakfast and yesterday's rest we were very fast up the mountain. In two hours we had covered the four miles to Curley Maple Gap Shelter. The kids wrote in the journal and rested on the second floor sleeping platform. It was a very nice shelter and we regretted we could not stay.

As we hiked I heard a load noise from the hillside. Sarge had told us about a bear and her cubs near the top of the mountain. I saw a flash of movement heading towards the kids and my imagination went into overdrive. The kids responded exactly as we planned. They walked back to me while we all talked nice to the bear. The thing stopped, then moved again, then came out from behind a bush; it was a huge deer. 

At Indian Grave Gap we had lunch at the road. It was sunny and we relaxed after eating our crackers with turkey and cheese. We met Foot Doctor who was pushing hard to cover miles because he only had a limited time on the trail before he heads north to help a friend on an organic farm. Organic farming is his passion and he wants to learn the business. He also avoids gluten after getting tested (by sending in his poop).  The kids were amazed and grossed out. 

The weather was getting cloudy and it seemed we would get afternoon showers so we picked up the pace and made it to Beauty Spot. At the top we ran into a couple on vacation from North Caroline who lived near the trail. They always carry extra food and water, and we were in need of water so they filled our bottles!  They are known as Trail Angels, people who help out along the way to make your journey possible. 

We heard thunder but still had at least 1.5 miles to a camp spot. The thunder kept us moving and we only felt a few drops. At camp things went really fast as we got the tent up, pumped water, and made dinner (spicy chorizo chicken soup with polenta).  We had bars for dessert and chocolate Hammer Recoverite.

Perfect day of hiking, then Harvey peed on the toilet paper bag. I'm not sure what he was thinking but the boys are no longer going to go to the bathroom together.

Curley Maple Gap Shelter

6/25

Today we passed Curley Maple Gap Shelter and Sydney and Pete both did pictures.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Zero Day in Erwin

6/24
Started and ended in Erwin, TN
0 miles

Woke up at 6:30 because Pete was excited about the Tooth Fairy visiting him, and he got $10 just like Harvey. Breakfast started then so we got up to start our day. The hotel plays the Weather Channel and the forecast was rain all week. Lucky for us the mountains cause the rain to get scattered, so sometimes you can get lucky and avoid the rain.


The kids were excited to swim so after breakfast we went to the pool, only to find it very cold and the hot tub broken. They jumped in anyway but didn't play long.


Today was also my day to shave, so I got a before picture. I hope the beard shows up in the picture because it was much longer than I would normally let it grow. 


Mary-j got Amazon Prime so I got the app on my iPhone and we were able to watch the free stuff. It was great to have something for the kids to do. Sydney and I researched Big Sur Bars and placed an order that will ship to a hostel. They were excited to hear we are hiking the AT. 

The kids also got some paper and did many drawings. The one below is one of my favorites. Sydney did it and one of the signs says "50 steps Ice Cream".  A perfect name for an Ice Cream shop along the AT. Sydney even drew us sleeping in a shelter and wanted the sun behind the mountain. 


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Erwin, TN

6/23
Started at Whistling Gap
Ended at Erwin, TN
13.5 miles in a little under 9 hours

We had a great camp spot last night and this morning when the sun came up we had sunshine on the tent. It was a real treat after the rainy start to our hike. Harvey had lost his second tooth yesterday so he was excited to find the $2 the tooth fairy had left him. I guess the tooth fairy was concerned that $10 was a big incentive for a 7 year old to lose teeth. Shortly after breakfast Pete had a tooth come out. Pete says it was loose before Harvey got the $10, but I am not so sure.

After our exciting start we packed up and after about 30 min came to the real Whistling Gap (I know this because the real one has a spring and the spot we stayed at did not). Now we had a 14 mile day!

We took a side trip to "High Rocks" and two military planes flew over. We could see some towns and wondered if they were Erwin. After this the trail was mostly downhill, dropping 2,400 feet into town.

Look up Big Sur Bars, Sydney and I shared one and it was amazing. Not something we would normally eat, but she picked it out and with a name like Big Sur I had to try it.

We also saw the worst shelter on the trail today (No Business Shelter). It was a total dive with no picnic table and made from concrete block that didn't look finished. I wish I had a picture but we were in a rush to reach town. From the shelter it was a steep downhill hike but we got our first views of Erwin.

At the junction of the road and trail we saw Nolichucky Hostel, but everyone calls it Uncle Johnnies because that is the name of the guy who owns/runs it. We met two guys who introduced themselves by trail name, not the normal name. So I introduced us by our trail names, but had to use my real name to get my box. We ate a Clif Bar and it was fun to see the kids so excited about a new flavor, like they are Clif Bar experts.

The guy at the hostel was great and gave us a lift to the Mountain House Inn. In the van were a lot of people we already met; Grace who falls down a lot, Unknown who gave us the name Team Obla after reading Sydney's shelter journal entries (the kids helped pick his trail name), Packer Hat who is wearing a Packers Hat and went to U of Minn, Shivers, and a few other hikers. After dropping us off the others were going out to eat.

Our hotel is nice and I plan to stay two nights so we can rest a day by the pool. I also get to do laundry, the first since Hot Springs. And of course we had to eat out, Mexican because the kids knew we would get chips as soon as we sat down. We ate so much that Harvey felt a little sick. I think we had 4 bowls of chips, 2 salsa cups, 2 guacamole cups, and 4 full size dinner dishes. Pete didn't like his and started to cry and wouldn't eat and wouldn't let us eat his plate and wouldn't order something else. Finally I got him calmed down and we ordered him a plain chicken burrito. After that it was Wal Mart for food and then back to the hotel. For transportation we called a guy (trail name 10k) who drove us both ways. He is planning a PCT trip for 2014. Best of luck 10k!

Happy Day in Erwin

Happy hiker Pete eating at Los Jalapeños Restaurant in Erwin, TN.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tooth Fairy

6/22
The tooth fairy came to visit us last night after Harvey lost a tooth. I guess when you are out in the wilderness you get something extra since he got $10!

Big Bald

6/22
Started at Hog Back Shelter
Ended at Whistling Gap
13.6 miles in 9.5 hours

Another tooth lost today (Harvey again). We are thinking of changing his trail name from Cheeze-it to Lost Tooth.

Big Bald was a highlight, 360 degree views and nice grass to sit on. We also met some locals since it is Saturday. Everyone asks us how far we are hiking and are excited the kids get this really cool opportunity to backpack.

After Big Bald we stopped at Bald Mtn Shelter. It was really nice, two levels and sleeps 10. We had First Dinner at the shelter and decided to hike 3 more miles and then do another 13 tomorrow to get to Erwin. Since the weather was great today I decided we could risk another tenting night. With extra motivation we should easily get to Erwin. Also, since we camped our spot had tons of firewood, so we are having a fire too! Another great day on the trail.

Friday, June 21, 2013

How do we get water?

Before we left, Mary-j got me a new water filter for my birthday. It will take out bacteria and viruses. It is also easy to pump. Harvey is pumping in the picture.

Bears?

At the shelters they have bear cables to hang your food bag from. In the picture I have both our food bags hanging. I also put a garbage bag over them in case it rains. Inside the food bag is a plastic zip top bag that is Oder proof, so animals can't smell the food. The fabric of our food bag is very strong so mice, and bears, can't tear it.

We met a guy last night that had mice get into his food bag to get his trail mix.

Hog Back Ridge Shelter

6/21
Started at Flint Mtn Shelter
Ended at Hog Back Ridge Shelter
8.9 miles (6 hours!)

The kids were really moving today. We had some major up hills but they kept up a great pace. On a major uphill we followed a creek and got a great view of a waterfall. 


The boys are full of energy and at our rest breaks they usually find something to play with. Today it was a teeter-tooter. 



At the shelter we didn't get cell phone service but at the privy we did!  I called home and the kids were excited to talk to Mom. I got the latest news about the trellis and the boys ceiling. It was so good to hear Mary-j's voice. We talk every day about what we will do when we get back home and what special things we will do for/with Mom. 

Another highlight of the day was dinner!!  Today was Annie's Rice Noodles in a cheddar sauce with dried red peppers to spice it up. Harvey is in the picture about to enjoy a bite. 


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shelter Journals

This is what the kids wrote at Flint Mtn Shelter.

Flint Mtn Shelter

6/20
Started at Jerry Cabin Shelter
Ended at Flint Mtn Shelter
5.9 miles

Done hiking by 1:30 and taking the rest of the day easy. This is a newer shelter and the forecast was rain so it sounded like a good idea to hike fast while it was clear and then relax. The shelter is nice and I can stand up in it and so far we have no bugs.

The kids are really enjoying the shelter journals. They each write something and Sydney reads what others have written. They also add great pictures.

On today's hike we passed the Shelton gravestones. They were Southerners who fought with the North during the Civil War. On the way home for a family gathering they were ambushed by Confederate troops and killed. The kids had not heard of the Civil War and were shocked that the states fought each other.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jerry's Cabin

6/19
Started at Log Cabin Drive
Ended at Jerry's Cabin Shelter
10.1 miles

Started the day with breakfast in the hostel and went on to have a really great day. The kids had a great time at lunch playing follow the leader. Then Sydney called cashews, pecans, this caused all the kids to start laughing. For the next few hours they sang songs about pecans.

After lunch we had the great view of Tennessee and made it to the shelter around 5. The hike took us 8 hours so we were all tired, but I made us shower and built a fire anyway. The water was cold so our dinner drinks were great, but the shower was not fun for the kids. Pete was the least happy about it and Harvey said the cold water felt good. Sydney didn't complain at all and didn't even use the towel to dry off.

I really learned how to better manage the hike today. We split a Hammer Energy Bar at our first food break and then had the other part later in the day. We did this with lunch too, so we had more eating breaks than usual. We also set breaks based on features (view, road, trail junction, water, etc). The kids were motivated by the destination and the food. I think we had more energy late in the day by doing our food this way and the hike seemed to go smoother. We still use the 25 min hike and 5 min rest timer, but are not so ridged in following it.

A mouse just ran across my foot as I type this. We saw one earlier run under the table, but this is the first shelter we have seen one. Normally you hear more talk about them than actually see them. I always hang my food and have mouse resistant food bags from Ursack, with special zip top bags inside that are supposed to reduce the food oder.

I took the photo of Pete using my headlamp to highlight Pete while leaving the fire to shine on its own.

Big Firescald Knob

6/19
Great view of Tennessee.

Hostel Benefits

One benefit of staying in a Hostel is the hot breakfast!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hemlock Hollow Farm Shoppe and Cabins

6/18
Started at Rich Mtn Fire Tower
Ended at Log Cabin Drive (Hemlock Hollow Farm Shoppe and Cabins)
8.1 rainy miles

We camped last night and had the chance to call Mom, this was our first time getting cell phone service. We went to bed happy and woke up to rain. Lots of rain.

We crossed a paved road, but mostly cross gravel or dirt, and saw a sign for "Moms Place". We stopped in to see what "cash only" could buy. Not a lot of options, but it was dry and she let us eat our food inside while she smoked. The store was in NC, but on the state line with TN. When we left Pete said "Dad, I'll be in TN".

We didn't plan to stay in a hostel but the rain was nonstop so when we hit the road to the hostel I decided we needed a break. They also serve dinner and breakfast. We are drying out and waiting for our burger dinner. Only one other hiker is with us in the bunkhouse. He is 70 and has hiked about 60% of the trail.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rich Mtn Fire Tower 6/17

Started at Hot Springs, NC
Ended at Rich Mtn Fire Tower
8.2 miles

Today we got one bar of cell phone service!! The hike out was uphill but the kids did great. At the fire tower we had our first trail angel encounter. A guy was up checking out the view and had an extra banana that he gave us. He also played some music using a speaker and a cardboard box.

Great camp site, but the gnats are swarming us. We are wearing our rain gear.

Bluff Mountain Outfitters

One last picture before we start hiking again.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Zero Day

Stayed in Hot Springs for the day to rest and get a few more supplies. Sydney and I got very light and compact sleeping bags and will send home our heavier ones. With the warm weather our bags were overkill, and we needed the room for food. I've decided to take more food when leaving towns and the kids can help carry the extra food.

Speaking of food it was a very good day for us. We split a box of cereal while doing laundry, then shopped for sleeping bags while getting lunch and I had a Kombucha. After lunch we went for a swim and had an apple and almond butter snack. While coming into the campground the kids started talking to Bill, the guy who assigns campsites, and he wanted to do something special for me for Father's Day. After the kids said no cake or ice cream he decided on corn and apples and dropped off a bag when he was done with work. He is very impressed with our hiking.

Other people we run into are also impressed, and the outdoor store wants a picture of us for the AT Hiker wall. One woman said in a southern grandma way "I only see people like you on the TV, your an inspiration". She also wants to read the book about our adventure. I'm thinking of updating my résumé to say Adventure Guide for my time at home with the kids.

Bottle cap collecting is a huge hit with the kids and they are all over while I cook dinner (wraps with salsa and red beans and rice). They have 30 organized by design. Kicking a ball around was fun till they popped it, but the owners were very nice about the accident and that's when they moved on to the bottle caps.

The campground is practically ours since it is Sunday night. But last night it was a party. This weekend was a big musical festival, old time guitar and fiddle music. Many of the performers camped at the far end of the campground and played into the early hours of the morning (but we couldn't hear them). What did happen is this.... I am at the bathroom with the kids when I hear "I'm 3 min older than my brother too", and it wasn't Harvey talking. They had befriended a guy who lived for a year in Santa Cruz and who played really good, and had 7 and 9 yr old daughters. He invited us to the back of the campground to listen to the music and told us all about it. It was really awesome.

The picture is the river by the campground, it has a very strong current so we walk to a spot with a lot less current. Yesterday when we swam, about 5 babies were also swimming, naked, and the kids, especially the boys, didn't know what to think.

Camping near Bluff Mnt

Started at Roaring Fork Shelter
Ended near Bluff Mnt.
7.3 miles

Tomorrow we should hit Hot Springs, NC. The kids are very excited to get to a town. We've met a lot of nice people and seen a few hikers with dogs. Today was flatter than the other days so we made good time. The picture is of our camp with dinner (Annie's Noodles) cooking in the pot.

Last night Harvey said "Hey Guys, who wants to play pass with my pants!"

Break time!!

This is a picture of the kids during a trail break. We had incredible rains last night and slept in this morning. The sun is out, but the trail is very shady so our wet shirts and shorts from yesterday are taking awhile to dry. We've past many people on the trail, mostly heading in the other direction.

The kids have talked non stop about what they want for Christmas and what type of Birthday Party they want. It was fun at first, but is starting to get tiring.

Roaring Fork Shelter

Started at Groundhog Creek Shelter
Ended at Roaring Creek Shelter
8.4 miles

We had breakfast with "Socks", a female thru-hiker who befriended Sydney. Once on the trail the kids were again much faster than me on the uphill but we stayed together and took very frequent breaks.

We needed water and while filling up I heard thunder. We got the rain gear ready and headed up and over Max Patch. On the way up the clouds started to gather on the other side of the hill, the side we could not see. We paused for the great view and then it started to rain. As we crested the hill a wind picked up and it really started to rain. We all had our pack covers on and Sydney was wearing her rain jacket. We got soaked. The boys got cold so they put on rain jackets too. Then it started to hail!! We only had two miles to the shelter so we picked up the pace but the rain had stopped. The trail was a stream and our feet got wetter. Once at the shelter we hung our wet gear and got dressed in warm clothing.

The pack covers for the boys are OK, but I need the original pack covers that came with the backpacks. The picture is Harvey with our wet clothes hanging in the background.

Day 1

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hot Springs, NC

Started at Bluff Mtn
Ended at Hot Springs, NC
10.7 miles

Today we reached Hot Springs, NC! This is our first trail town and things went fairly smooth. The kids were excited to get to a town and as we descended from the mountain they kept saying "Look how big it is". But the town is actually small, but very busy on a Saturday.

We stopped at the Hillbilly Market and got lunch/dinner. The kids were hungry after the 10+ miles (in 6 hours) and were begging for yogurt. We stocked up as this is the only grocery store in town. However, it seemed every store had food, even the outdoor store had a grocery section that catered to backpackers. I guess backpackers and paddlers (the other attraction is rafting) don't like salsa or hummus because we didn't find that. But we will explore tomorrow for some organic produce as all the kids wanted some of my salad tonight.

At the outdoor store we bought poles for Harvey, now all of us have hiking poles and even at 7 and 9 the kids look like thru hikers. But they don't smell like thru hikers as one women told us. I heard they have a hiker spot in town, usually church sponsored, that has free snacks and wifi. We should be able to find it since you can walk from one end of town to the other in a few minutes.

Tonight we are in a campground with swings and other kids to play with, so for a change they are getting some time to be kids. However on Monday play time will be over as we tackle a difficult section of trail to Erwin, TN, ETA is June 23. Lucky for me the boys have been willing to carry some of the food so we will leave fully loaded.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day Zero

Started at my parents house
Ended at my parents house
Zero miles

Spent day at local community center playing on the playground and then swimming at the beach. Went to Kroger for dinner supplies and a few things for the trail. We will be eating good the first few days! Repacking things tonight and leaving in the morning.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Made it to TN

Landed in Nashville and they have a great kids play area. The kids can get out some of the energy the couldn't use on the plane.