It’s been a while since I’ve updated, so I’ll have to condense the last few weeks worth of hiking into a quick post. Luckily, I have a few pictures.
I left Franklin with Giggles and Anthony, who would be my hiking partners most of the rest of the way. We hoped to get away from the Hiker Bash crowd before they dragged their drunk asses out of town. Luckily, a pretty good crew of other hikers had the same idea, so we had a recurring bunch of friends and familiar faces for the next several days.
We hiked further into the high elevations of North Carolina, with various issues slowing us down so that my hiking plan went from “I’ll go to somewhere in Tennessee” to “I’ll take it nice and slow to Hot Springs,” to “I’ll just get to the other side of the Smokies.” With the 90+ degree heat, late days, and long climbs, I was pretty happy with that. The company was great, too. Giggles and Anthony are great hiking partners, and the rest of the crew– Jenky, Kumquat, Captain Radish, Alkaline, and others– was nice and laid back.
After spending way too much time at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, then at Fontana Village, we finally got to the Smokies, which had unusually clear views and no rain for the entire week. Lucky me. Usually I bring the rain with me wherever I go.
Giggles and I ended our hike at Standing Bear Hostel, after having left Anthony in Gatlinburg. She’s heading out west a little while after me, but she’ll be volunteering in the Olympic National Park, while I walk through all sorts of National Parks on my way up north.
This weekend I’ll head out to San Diego to start the PCT. Scary. So much stuff to buy to get ready, so many new things I want but don’t need, and so many little things to be nervous about.