Monday, August 8, 2011
Hiking with Norm
We left town on the 21st of July drove south a few days. Since Rick had a month off from work we took our time driving. I won't bore you with the driving details but do know Rick got locked in that restroom at the Pilot in Staunton, VA. I will never forget that, HAHA! That fool had the whole truckstop thinking he was an idiot. That was the highlight of the drive. Then three days later after we left Maine we made it to the Nantahala Outdoor Center just outside Bryson City, North Carolina. The parking lot there is were we began our hike of the Appalachian Trail.
The hike was amazing. We were putting in a lot of miles each day. The trail was hot and beautiful. At nights the temperatures would dip lower and feel great. Luckily along the trail they have shelters that we could stay in each night. That made it easier on us since we wouldn't have to carry a tent the entire trip. That choice ended up hurting us later on.
If you're asking yourself what we ate while we hiked well don't worry, we had great food all along the trail. Most nights we whipped up some amazing noodles that came with little packs of seasoning. They were so easy and super delicious. Can't remember what they were called but Rick picked up a bunch for us. He never would let me pay him back for them. They must have cost him a forture. That Rick is one heck of a guy to have hiking with you. Along with those fantastic noodles we had energy bars, oatmeal, powder milk, rice, crackers, tuna, and lots of water. I'm tired of drinking water after this trip. A few places on the trip we came across wild blueberrys and blackberries. They were the sweetest I've ever tasted. My goodness they were good. There were a few other berries that I didn't know the names of that weren't as flavorful.
Our first sign of map reading trouble came about half way through the hike. We stayed at a shelter named Double Spring Gap. It was a nice place and wasn't that easy to get to because it was on the uphill side of Clingman's Dome. That Clingmans Dome area is pretty cool and super crowded. I tried talking to this one family but they were rude and wouldn't get anywhere near me. Anyways, we woke up the next morning and started hiking the wrong way, which we didn't realize at the time. Around lunch time we noticed that we hadn't seen any white blazes. For those fools that don't know what white blazes are they are the markers that mark the AT (Appalachian Trail). After lunch we checked the map and realized we walked half a day in the wrong direction. We turned around and spent another night at Double Spring Gap to wake up and hike to the highest of our entire trip.
We made it through Clingman's Dome, Newfound Gap, and Charlie's Bunion perfectly fine. It wasn't until we stayed the night at Tricorner Knob that we ran into trouble again. We woke next morning to being our day in the wrong direction again! This time we walked for a few days in the wrong direction. After the white blazes disappeared we couldn't figure out which we we came so we ended up making two circles to get back to the original AT trail. Spending two nights without a tent or shelter were two of the worst nights ever. I'm thankful that I've watched Man vs Wild on tv a few times or I probably would have died. Rick and I had our two nights under the stars. He said 3 bugs crawled up his nose those two nights. I didn't tell him but I flicked one bug off of me and it must have landed on him. Ooops, haha.
Saw a live bear hiking in the woods while we were hiking on the trail.
We spent another night at Tricorner Knob and continued our trip on towards Max Patch where we left the rental car. Luckily we had no more map issues and compeleted our trip 4 days later than we had originally planned. We were so thankful to get out alive that we found a Cracker Barrel along the way and pigged out like a bunch of wild animals. Those chicken 'n dumplins are amazing!! Great job on the service, Martha! I left her a heck of a tip because she never let my chocolate milk run dry.
With us being so far behind we weren't able to make it Nashville and the Ragin Rookers Live Tournament. Sorry friends that I wasn't able to come show you fools how to play some cards. I was pretty bummed about missing the Nashville part of trip. Rick felt pretty bad and decided to take me to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. That area is AMAZING!! I want to move there right now. I have never seen so many go-carts and bungee jumps in one area besides the beach. We ate at the Dixie Stampede, rode go-carts, saw a magic show, went to the Ripley's Believe It or Not, saw the #1 aquarium, rode a ski lift, went to the top of a space needle, and bought some moonshine. That's right, you can buy and taste real moonshine in Gatlinburg. I bought 3 jars of white lightening.
Overall we had a pretty amazing trip. I would do it again. Hopefully I will if I ever move to Gatlinburg, TN. Throughout the whole trip I couldn't wait to see my new friends from Duelboard but it's ok, I'll still get to hang out with them online.
The big picture of my hike.This is the actual hike. A few wrong turns but eventually the entire thing.
The crazy bear we saw while hiking. Luckily I'm quick with a camera and caught this beast in his natural habitat.
One of the shelters we stayed at a few nights. Actually the one we got really bad lost at. That fool Rick is in there trying to make "home" of the place.
This is the Harper Family from Gulfport, Mississippi. We talked to them for a while on top of Clingmans Dome. Told them of our trip and they were floored. Hope they can join us one day. Nice meeting you Harpers!One of the many trail signs we saw. Wish there were more at some points on the trip.