Update 2 from a AT through hiker
By dlacher on Apr 21, 2005
Howdy all, it's been 2 weeks for me out here, woooo hoooo!!! I can't believe i'm still hiking, i came so close to quiting, it's a miracle i'm still here. Fontana Dam (the entrance to the smokies), that's where it happened, i had a little mini-breakdown after a tough, tough day, and i walked to the visitor center (which was closed) on the verge of tears, and there i was, huddled in a corner, clutching my cell phone going "why can't i get a signal, just wanna go home, just wanna go home..." that was a bad day, but luckily i decided to take a zero day after that (where you don't hike any miles on the AT) and just rest, relax, and recover. it made a huge difference, so here are the lessons i learned in fontana dam:
1) a day off is good for the soul.
2) after a few minutes in a swing, the world doesn't seem so bad.
anyway, i just made it through the smokies today, right now i'm in a funky little hiker hostel for the night, just trying to make it to Hot Springs, which is only 2 days away and i picked the best weekend for it, this weekend is TrailFest, lots of food, people, music, just plain old good times. But back to the smokies... they were pretty, but not all the much different than any other mountains i walked over to get to them, but the trail through the smokies did follow a ridge line for most of the way, so there were some really nice views. perfect weather through the entire smokies, sunny and no rain the entire time, very rare, apparently. the wild flowers were in bloom when i got there, i climbed over a hill and i thought it had snowed, even though it was 70 and sunny, because there was a blanket of little white flowers on the ground, and they were all along the trail for miles, not too shabby. Oh oh oh, the best was clingman's dome, the highest point on the AT and a real tourist mecca in the smokies, we walked up there and it's not obvious that the AT goes right by it, so we come storming out of the woods all dirty, smelly, and hairy and the tourists have no idea what to make of us, then a couple of guys have the brilliant idea to have lunch right there in the middle of this tourist area, so there they are, shoveling trail mix as fast as they can and pouring squeezy cheese directly into their mouths while the tourists watch. it was like feeding time at the zoo. i could just picture a mother saying to her son: "now don't get too close to the thru-hiker, they're dirty, smelly, and they might try to eat you. just watch from a distance and try not to spook them". ahhhh tourists, it was fun. i did get some wonderful, wonderful trail magic in the smokies, a couple was parked in a lot and they had this beautiful spread, bologna sandwiches, fruit, twinkies, and coke. i'd forgotten how cold a nice ice cold coke could be, and oh man, the sugar high. sugar, sugar, SUGAR!!!! it was awesome! well, i should probably get going... only 2 more days to hot springs. i can make it.