It looks like spring has finally sprung for us on the Appalachian Trail. I had thought that spring may have started for us when we reached the AT, but mother nature still had a couple surprises for us. When we left Neels Gap (the last place I updated) the rain poured on us almost constantly for the 11 miles to Lowe Gap Shelter where we planned on spending the night. When we got there it was full and overflowing, so we set up our tarp, and crawled in as quickly as possible. In the morning we woke up to dry conditions and thought it might be a better day, and then it started to snow…… We had not planned at dropping down into a town that day, but road into Helen Georgia was only 9 miles from where we had camped, and after getting snowed on all day we decided to hitch in. The Helendorf hotel had an AMAZING hiker rate of $25/night for the both of us, including a simple continental breakfast! So we had a lovely hot shower, and had the chance to explore the cute Bavarian Village the next morning. The weather improved greatly the next day, and so we headed up the trail again.
Now there are plants peeking out along the trail as we hike, especially when we drop to slightly lower elevations. I am like a kid in a candy shop when we come across something blooming. The beautiful flowers bring me such joy! I look forward to this new experience of spring in the east.
We have covered quite a bit of ground since I last updated, much more than my mind can put into type at the moment. But I will share the highlights. As we crossed into North Carolina it seemed like we moved into steeper country. This gave my muscles a really good workout, propelling me to another level.
We resupplied at Fontana Village, a lovely little resort that provided us with a nice partial day rest. We had breakfast at the lodge, yummy, and a very good price! And then we sat on the portch of the General Store and visited with other hikers after resupplying. Our first stop on the climb up out of the Fontana Dam area was Shuckstack, a lookout tower. You could climb all the way to the top, which we did. It was truely a beautiful view from the top, but my stomach had that that amusment park ride feeling. We had the most beautiful weather through the Smokey Mountains, a true blessing. We were often surrounded by beautiful views, highlighted with warm sunshine. There were many different feels to the landscape through the park. I love the Smokey quality to the air in the mountains, it truely makes it feel like a painting when you look out across the layers of mountains dissapearing into the distance. We will have many beautiful photos to share from this section of the hike.
Bernie and I have been enjoying a wonderful break with a beautiful couple we met on the PCT last year. Lindsay and Jordan (or Petal and River if you go by trail names). They have been so kind and loving towards us. First of all they drove an hour and a half each way to pick us up from the trail. We were picked up on Saturday afternoon, and will be headed back to the trail tomorrow. It was a longer break than we thought we might take, but one that our bodies have greatly appreciated! Its been so wonderful to get to visit more with Lindsay and Jordan, and the exciting part is that they are soon moving to the Leavenworth, WA area for a year. So when we are done with the trail, we will get to see them again. They will only be about 3 hours away from Bellingham. I look forward to a beautiful fall hike with them through some part of the North Cascades!
Alright, I am off to watch a movie to enjoy our last evening off, and then we are back to hiking tomorrow. I think my body has fully mended itself, getting plenty of rest and good food! Now we will see what it thinks about hiking again in the morning. =) I wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful comments! I am sorry I do not have the time to respond to each of you, but you each touch me deeply with your warm and kind words! Enjoy your spring everyone!