Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hot Springs, NC

Leo and I reached Hot Springs, NC last night after a long three days of hiking.  Uncle Tom and Rory were waiting at the trailhead for us with cold beers and sodas!  We headed back to Asheville and grilled out some steaks at Tom's place.  It was great to be back here after so long and today I was able to see a bunch of family, watch some football, and stay off my feet.  We resupplied for a big six day, 110 miles section through the Smokies which will start first thing tomorrow.  It looks like more rain in the near future so our views from Max Patch might be spoiled, but we're still real excited to get back on trail.  We are planning on slowing down a little from here on out to take it all in - the plan is to finish on Oct. 16th, which allows for 16-17 mile days.  I was able to use a computer to finally upload pictures today, so these span from the Beef Event (9/8) to here in Hot Springs.  Thanks again to Uncle Tom and Kim for all the hospitality this weekend, it has been a very relaxing final stop before our last stretch.  Check out photos at the link below:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Erwin, TN

Quick update form Erwin before we hit the trail.  We rolled into Uncle Johnny's hostel last night and got a shuttle to town for resupply.  Soon I had a call from my Uncle Tom, who had driven out to meet us!  We got picked up and went out for a great dinner in Johnson City and had a few beers.  It was great to see all the pictures from his bike trip and catch up after so long.  The last few days through the Roan highlands were pretty spectacular, and we had clear weather to take in the views.  We went up and over Hump Mtn. Monday and saw probably the best view since New Hampshire - full 360 degree and you could see for miles.  We hiked through the evening and saw tons of deer grazing up on the balds, stayed that night at Overmountain Shelter and headed over Roan Mtn. the next day.  You can really see the hillsides filling in with color, and its more noticeable every single day.  The last few nights haven't been quite as cold as we've seen, I think one night after Damascus it got down to ~35 and we were still OK in the tent.  Uncle Tom said its actually supposed to warm up so maybe we'll have less worry going into the Smokies.  Either way I think Leo and I have the gear we need to get to Springer - the trail-runners have worked out great for Leo and they haven't shown any signs of wear so far.  Looking at the mileage now its crazy to think how close we are at this point (~340 miles).  The plan from here is to push 3 big days to Hot Springs, then spend Saturday night/Sunday in Asheville.  After that it'll be a big 6 day section through the highest range on the trial - the Great Smoky Mountains.  We're looking forward to a good rest day since we've been pushing steady 20s since the beef event, but even more excited for the Smokies.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Damascus, VA

Leo and I made into Damascus yesterday, just north of the VA/TN border.  Virginia has been an awesome section.  We had an epic day in the highlands on Wednesday that offered great views and close encounters with feral ponies. That night we saw the sunset from Buzzard Rock and caught a glimpse of the peaks to come in TN/NC.  We're really excited to keep moving into foreign territory and enjoy the last 500 miles.  We've been doing low 20's on full days and shorter days out of town.  Legs are feeling good but the days are getting shorter, and the nights colder.  The trees have started to show color and there's a blanket of leaves starting to cover the trail (and less people to clear them). We finally got to catch up with Duda, Lance, and Phil yesterday, so we may be seeing them this next section.  Major changes for Leo who mailed his boots home after picking up his first ever pair of trail-runners for cheap in town today.  I also got to touch base with my Uncle Tom who just got back from a motorcycle ride, and looks like we'll be able to meet up later next week in North Carolina! I know it has been awhile since we last updated, but we've been stuck on the trail rather than in towns.  I have some great pictures from the Grayson Highlands but unfortunately they'll have to wait til I'm not in a public library.  OK its onto Tennessee - 3 states left, 466 miles!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The first 50 days with Jeepers Crow

Here is something to entertain yourselves with at work while Ben and Leo hike all day.
Its a lot of photos. Sorry I'm not sorry