Hey there. I’m updating again from my phone, but this time from the relative comforts of the hiker hostel at Neel’s Gap, where I’m spending the night.
I suppose I should start with the hikes, since that’s what this is all about after all. Everyday has brought some uniquely beautiful stretch of trail. Day one wound through a valley of rhododendrons, which I have never seen outside of my backyard, and was one of the nicest stretches of trail I’ve ever been on. And it has some steep
competition in that regard. The first few miles of day two were spent along a beautiful ridge line, with great views off of the side. And today I sumitted blood mountain, the highest point so far.
I hiked 12 miles yesterday to the woods hole shelter. I had hoped to make it to Neel’s, but by the time I got to woods I realized that the hostel would definitely be full, so I decided to stay there then hike to the hostel the next day. It ended up being a great decision, a bunch of the people ive been playing leapfrog with ended up showing up later in the evening and a good time was had by all. There was also only 7 of us there which was a nice change from the tent city of the prior night.
There are so many things I’d like to write about, but it is a pain to type on this small screen so I suppose I’ll have to pick only one.
Trail names seem to be a kind of fetish amongst us rookie thruhikers. Everyone has their own hopes and dreams about what theirs will be, along with their own opinions about how one should be come by. Personally, I’ve been given a bunch so far but none have stuck quite yet. Before the first day was out, Yappy had dubbed me young punk (for not knowing a famous old school tennis player), sort-you-out, zoom, and when I demmured saying I’d be crawling along soon enough, oZoom (occasional zoom).
Trail names seem to come from three main categories, arbitrary bits of personal information, a funny story, or personal choice. Last night I dubbed one of the section hikers, the commercial diver I mentioned earlier, “frenchie” because he greeted me with a hearty Bon jour the first morning on springer and he’s from baton rouge. He liked it well enough and I’ve done my best to get others to use it.
In response, or perhaps retribution, he dubbed me coal miner because I was wearing all black (like I had just come from a coal mine) and I mentioned my dads extended family lives in PA and in the past worked in the mines (which I think is true?). I kindof like it so I might pick that one up and besides my cohort of hikers has kindof picked up on the joke. I was also dubbed smiley by a grumpy dirtbag (which is an affectionate term) hiker, so smiley coal miner was floated as a possibility, but I think that’s a bit too cumbersome. Maybe SCM or CM.
But that’s enough of that.
It’s hard to express just how wonderful it is being out here. I’m just beginning to slide into trail time and, for my money, there’s no better feeling in the word. And that’s just one small part of what has made this great so far.
I’ve packed up three days of food for the next stretch to hiawasee Georgia, which should be a more relaxed pace. My feet have been hurting recently and I think it’s because I pushed too hard the first day. So I’m going to take it easier for a while even though I’d rather be walking longer days.
I’ve got some great pictures I’d like to post but that’ll have to wait until I get to another hostel or library.