Almost back on the road…..

Hi there. Wanted to give an update on the things going on. A bit much actually…


From my last post you saw that I dropped my phone in the French Broad River while rafting. After some debacle, I was able to get a new phone.(Hooray!) The new phone came in and unfortunately, it was fully functioning so I had to get myself into Asheville, NC. It was a place I had liked to go but not intended so in it’s own way, things worked out. I met a veteran Marine gentleman living in Orlando hiking around Hot Springs and he was happy to drive me in when the conversation came up. I got in yesterday morning after some breakfast and was dropped off right at the Verizon store, thankfully. Within a few minutes of being in the store, they had fixed my phone. I walked myself into town and found a cozy place to stay. After I settled and cleaned myself up, I walked into the downtown area and just about fell in love with the city. I strolled around and did some touristy things and found my way into the first micro-brewery I saw, in which Asheville is known for. From there, I hopped around based off my servers suggestions at each location. It was a interesting approach and would surely try that out again. it was surely worth being a spontaneous. You never know what fun and lesson could come out of it. By the end of the night, I had went to two breweries(One World & Green Man) and had some delicious Jamaican/Mexican fusion food. After my stops, I made my way home.

Asheville is a really pretty city. It has a lot to offer, very cultural and diverse, and people are overall nice and welcoming. I hear though, it’s pretty tough to get a job here because the city itself is booming. Someone told me the unemployment rate is about 1% and it’s very competitive. Around town it is very apparent that the town is growing as you can see some taller buildings for dwelling and business being built. I would recommend Asheville to be a place to visit one day.

I’ll be here for one more night and heading back into Hot Springs tomorrow. I can’t wait to get back on trail and moving again. I’m very excited. Once I get into Hot Springs though, there’s another issue that will arise. There are wild fires in the area and I just read that part of the AT is closed and will have to skip some part of the trail to avoid. I believe it was 14 miles, from what I heard from another hiker. Additionally, there are other areas in Virginia with the same issue and will have to re-route if that continues. These instances right here is where I find how ‘Real Life’ is so relative to ‘Trail Life’. Things are going to happen, especially unexpected things and they have to be overcome. You may not want to face these realities but things have be taken care of if you want to move on. As difficult as times can be, they can also be just as rewarding in the experience and lessons learned. Live life, love it and make it your own. As we call it on trail ‘Hike Your Own Hike’.

As I said, I’ll be making my way back to the AT area tomorrow afternoon and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been off trail for about a week now and I’m getting antsy. I hope things will work out where I’m able to hop back on but I don’t think it’s going to be possible with the aforementioned wild fires. That is something not to mess with and I promise to be careful.

Hopefully my next post with be after some miles on trail. My next major stop is in Erwin, TN but I might get there sooner than expected with the wild fires and trail jumping. I will surely advise but please keep in mind for the time being my GPS will be off until I get back on trail.

Be well all.

Happy Trails,


Down but not out

Hi there. Been a since I lasted posted, right? It’s because I lost my phone. When I got into Hot Springs, I met up with some folks and we went tubing down a river. I took my phone because I thought it would be great picture opportunities with the waterproof case and dropped it when I got out – in the water of course. They need to make a tether for this thing. Lesson learned, don’t bring your phone with you on those types of adventures. Everything leading up into Hot Springs though, was just awesome. I cowboy camped(Sleeping Bag only) on Mack’s(Max) Patch Bald and saw the most terrific sunset of my life. Of course, I had pictures but lost them. All of them. But in the end, they’re just pictures and i’ll have my memories.

I’m sitting now in the Hot Springs, NC library whipping up this post to let everyone know, I’m doing OK. My spirits are down because I’d like to get back on trail but it’ll be at least another two days before then. The weather has just been perfect too but at this point there’s nothing I can do except for wait for my phone and continue on. In retrospect, it slowed me down to appreciate what is here. I’m seeing trail folk I started out with and meeting new ones at the same time. As the title, down but not out.

It’s unfortunate, I’m bummed but the trail will be there, help me clear my head and get into a better place. I’d like to move forward but as we know, the phone is important for emergencies and I have to be patient. I did stay at a nice old hotel here for two nights. It was recommended by a former thru-hiker I met on trail. I’m glad I did but it’s a little expensive so I have to relocate to a campsite nearby. There’s a good crowd here too so I’m not worried.

Here are some cool things that happened since my last post:
-Finished the Smokies in two days and came to a good mental place, a very good one
-Being able to put in some bigger miles. I had a nice 20 miler and 17 miler recently
-Saw some hikers I started out with. haven’t seen them in nearly a month
-I’ve showered- multiple times in a day 🙂
– Met some other new hikers
-The weather has been wonderful

I’m keeping my spirits up. They are a little down but I’m looking at it as being only temporary. I’ll probably get back on trail on Friday or so but if I were to be stuck anywhere, I’m glad it’s here. I’m looking forward to getting out but maybe hanging out in town will do me some good. There’s a very nice town here with an excellent trail community and I’m pretty grateful.

Once I obtain some more info and move along, i will let you know but until then, be well all.



Clingmans DomeHiya!
First off, just want to say thanks for everyone for their support. A shout-out to my friends in Mrs. Tuluca’s class, Brian Kennedy for setting this site up, my family for their wonderful comments, and a shout out to the Bradley Family I met on Wayah Bald. All of you are awesome.

The GPS isn’t operating as best as it could. The cold weather is causing the battery to die out pretty fast. I’ll have it back up soon. The last few days in the Smokies has been great but I’m beat. However, as difficult the terrain is, there is no disappointment. The views and the change in terrain have been awesome. There are a lot of ups and down causing the miles to seem longer and the weather has been unpredictable. The night before the Clingmans Dome approach i pushed an extra 1.7 miles to the shelter just before. I’m glad I did. The views were remarkable. Just awesome. A precursor for what was to come. Unfortunately, when I got there the shelter was full and had to sleep outside in my tent. I love being in my tent but being in the colder weather doesn’t do me well. That night was a small thunder/snow storm which kept me awake.

The next day was a 3.5 mile hike to Clingmans Dome- the highest point of the AT. I got a late start with trying to sleep a bit but eventually got on my feet. I got to the Dome and felt pretty good. Cold but good. It was very windy and on/off flurrying but the views are something to see for oneself. I’d hoped to get there one day but to hike 199 miles there is an accomplished feeling. Afterwards, I walked to the visitor center to sneak out some postcards and grab a few snacks:) One thing I enjoyed about this part of the Smokies was the terrain change to evergreens. I enjoy the smell of the pines and hemlocks. The woods thickened as I got further and more snow stuck to the ground. It became muddy in some areas causing me to lose my balance more than a couple of times but these miles seemed so long.

When I got to Newfound Gap, I didn’t feel well. Weak, my body hurt and my head wasn’t in the right place at all. The time was 5:00pm and I could either push on 3 miles and 1000 ft ascent to the next shelter or try to get some rest in nearest town of Gatlinburg. Mis-Match and Johnny B were already there as they were in the shelter the night before and not bothered as much by the storm. Luckily for service I texted them and of course the shelter was full with spring breaker section hikers. Knowing another cold rain/snowy night was ahead with 50 mph gusts, I just couldn’t do it. I called for the shuttle into town.

Luckily, the shuttle came pretty fast into Newfound Gap and I was soon in a Motel 6. I got in and rinsed off my muddy clothes to dry while I showered. Those are my only clothes and course I couldn’t go into town with dirt and mud all over me from the day. After a nice warm shower I walked into town and upon leaving ran into some fellow hikers from Australia. We walked around Gatlinburg for a bit and found a pizza restaurant to try out that was recommended to them. It was nice to have full warm meal and a drink with others. The camaraderie on trail is one of my favorite things. Having a conversation with others about things I do not know goes a long way. The biggest trial on trail in the mental state. As they say You Are Your Own Worst Enemy and I believe it. I’ll talk more about that in another post. After dinner I walked back to the hotel and went directly to sleep.

This morning I got up early and packed my bag. At 3:20am the hotel’s garbage truck came and emptied the dumpsters on site and couldn’t really get back to sleep. My back and body was sore but good enough to hike. I walked into town and instead of waiting for the 10:30am shuttle to the trail and tried my luck with hitch hiking at 9. I started walking to the trail 15 miles away in hopes someone would pick me up. Within a mile in, a trail angel slowed and pulled to the side. She ended up really being my trail angel. Kathy(Red Cap)drove me back up to the trail gap and from the lower elevations looking up, you could instantly see what happened overnight and it worried me. All the slush froze over and more snow fell. Things did not look well. More on the way up, we saw abandoned motorcycles with a few inches of snow on them, more worry. When we reached the trail gap, it was worse. The plow marks were in the road and salt was on the pavement. Before Red Cap let me in she said, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’. I said ‘Yes!’ Because I felt good and was just excited that someone even stopped to pick me up. I should’ve said No. The trail looked just awful and dangerous. Icy and snowed over- something I’m not prepared for. In conversation going to the trail we chatted and I found that she is a former thru-hiker and she learned I was going to see family in the area after the smokies. She mentioned how dangerous it would be with a 1000 ft ascent over the next 2 miles and I took it in. I changed my mind and she offered to drive me to a town near my sister as she was on the way to meet someone else. I took the offer and came to Townsend. I couldn’t thank Red Cap enough for her help. I offered a few dollars for gas but she wouldn’t take it so I just left it in the coffee cup. I gave her a massive hug before exiting the car and getting to the Townsend visitor center.

I’m not going to say ‘unfortunately’ here but I had to re-route. Things happen and the weather got in the way but in the end I get to see my family sooner and I’ll have to wait a few days until the weather clears. It is what it is. I’ll keep you posted

Happy Trails

Here comes the Smokies

Hope all is well everyone. Been a good past few days with some good ups and downs and some great views. Cheoah Bald after the Nantahala Outdoor Center was just amazing. Service isn’t good so I can’t post a pic.

We made to Fontana Dam today just before the approach to the Smokies and resupplied at the resort here. Pretty nice place for a few days vacation in the woods. We’re considering on staying here but i think the consensus is to move quickly. These days I’m traveling with Mis-Match and Johnny B Good. We have a plan to get through the Smokies in 5 days or so. My pack has never been heavier but I think we have a good plan and provisions to go with. I was smart and got some electrolyte mixes to go with. The Smokies are one of the hardest parts of the AT. I believe rated an 8. And in comparison Georgia is rated a 4.

Afterwards we are taking a few days off with some of my family in Tennessee so that big push will be worth it. Looking forward to a climate controlled room and maybe some home cooking!

In TN I’ll have to get some new boots. My feet are becoming cut up from the ones I have. We’ll see how things are after the Smokies. I’ve been bandaging my feet for now but there’s now way I’m going into the Smokies trying to wear in new shoes. Wish me luck.

Happy Trails