Smokies to Erwin
Since exiting the Smokies, ALOT has happened. It would make for a stupid long post that I’m sure none of you would want to read if I wrote it all out in Super detailed paragraphs. So for both your sake and mine, I’ll be laundry listing this post and going over the basics to catch you up to where I am right now in beautiful Erwin, Tennessee.
Exited the smokey mountains and got a resupply from my folks at the Standing Bear hostel. Odysseus has family from Knoxville so they picked up the cuddle puddle and took us to crash at their house. We enjoyed insane amounts of food and hospitality and we couldn’t be more thankful for their kindness.
After leaving Knoxville, we caught wind of a bluegrass festival happening in the next town of Hot Springs. If we hustled we could make it there to enjoy a day or two of music so we pulled an 18 mile day and a 16 back to back to make it in to town. Along the way we enjoyed a magnificent sunset atop Max Patch, night hiked for the first time, and met former thru hikers Boo boo and Mad Scientist. Once we made it to town, we took a couple of Zeros and enjoyed the amenities of town (mainly beer and heavy food). While we didnt make it to the festival due to the steep price tag, we made our own fun and even got to enjoy a mineral soak at the local spa thanks to our buddy Sasquatchs family.
I left Hot Springs late (5 pm) and with a few beers in my system and a full stomach I night hiked past my group and took some time for myself. I chose a spooky night to hike during because during this stretch of trail there were a handful of memorials and tombstones to keep me company. I kept thinking that I’d turn around and see a ghost!
The rest of the puddle caught up to me a day or so later and we were able to catch a ride into Asheville from Boo Boos old friend (and former thru hiker) Bama. Now Bamas a pretty big deal. Not only had he hiked the trail 3 times but on one of those hikes he completed the full mileage in only 92 days. He’s also been sponsored by numerous companies and even helped to design functional backpacks. Bama carted us all around Asheville and went out of his way to make sure we were taken care of. We ate at awesome restaurants and visited local farms were he had friends, went to awesome breweries and stayed at the best hotels. My mom and dad helped us get into the holiday Inn express and it was absolutely amazing. We all want to say thank you once again for helping us get that situated! 🙂 Then the very next night we all pitched in to stay at a hotel of similar calibre. All in all, Asheville was amazing.
Even though we took two Zeros we still caught up to our bubble thanks to Bama. Bama offered to slack us 24 miles to Erwin and upon our arrival we got to stay in the house that Ms. Janet used to run her hostel out of. We got in late and fell asleep fast and the next day I woke up to birthday wishes, singing, gifts, and even a backrub!
For my birthday we got yet another slack, this time from another former hiker named Green Man. This time we got dropped off up north and hiked 20 miles back to Erwin. Once again we stayed the night at Ms. Janets and she even stopped off to make an appearance. The whole day was awesome and Sweeps was even cool enough to run ahead of me and tell hikers up ahead that it was my birthday. One guy got down on a knee to sing to me and another gave me a few swigs of Bourbon. Trail birthdays are pretty much the coolest. 🙂
So here I am, still in Erwin and writing this post on the front step of Ms. Janets house. We’re taking a zero but still figuring out what our next moves will be. I’m still loving life out here and we’ve gotten so lucky to be able to enjoy all that the trail and the towns along it have to offer. We’ve basically just fallen in among trail royalty and legends and I did know what we did to deserve this much help and support.
Hopefully my next post can be a bit more in depth but I’ve been having too much fun to journal at the end of the night lately. If you want more pics and more consistent updates, keep checking my instagram and follow me @gopaddlefaster