Days 36-40

Day 36 (Apr. 26th) – 13.1 miles from Laughing Heart Hostel to Deep Gap. Well we got a break from the rain, full sun and HOT, 84 degrees. ALL up hill from Hot Springs, at least it felt like we went uphill – all day long. Surprisingly, my feet feel GREAT! I think the key is a bed, shower and laundry the night before. Greg is exhausted. We are having lasagna for dinner and then will lie down in our tents and test! ⛺️
Day 37 (Apr. 27th) – 14.1 miles to Jerry Cabin Shelter. Made it here and fired up our dinner right before the rain. Rained a bit off and on all day as well. Sunset’s birthday today (will celebrate more tomorrow on a non-rainy day). Met Mother Goose, she is a trail legend and has thru-hiked 5 times (this is her 6th) and was the first woman to yoyo (hike the whole trail north and then turn around and hike it south) in 1991, she is amazing. Good hike today, most challenging part was a one mile “rocky and strenuous” part on an exposed ridge line. It was crazy boulder climbing – for one whole mile! We both feel good today. Oh, also passed the 300 mile mark!!
Day 38 (Apr. 28th) – 13.3 miles to Big Flat campsite (mile marker 313.6). Full sun today and hot. Trail nice most of day, but lots of uphill (always). A nice 3 mile uphill towards the end of our day. Had trail magic – ice cream and coke! Campsite to ourselves (for now), good night for Greg’s birthday cigar and wine. 

Day 39 (Apr. 29th) – 12.6 miles to stealth campsite (mile marker 326.2). Very hard uphill climbing in hot sun all day. Greg struggled but rebounded in the afternoon. Big Bald was totally beautiful! A bunch of us laid down and relaxed at the top. Big day tomorrow, 16+ miles into Erwin, TN where we will take a much needed zero!

Day 40 (Apr. 30th) – 16.6 miles into Erwin, TN, our biggest day yet! Sun was out again but more shade today and less uphill climbing (i.e. not all day long), we did 10 miles by lunch and finished up strong by 4:20 and got a shuttle in to the Super 8. Showers, eating, laundry are in order! We both felt strong, today was a good day. Greg says today felt easier than yesterday. 
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Days 32-35

Day 33 (Apr. 23rd) – took a day off and stayed at the hostel one more day – flash flood, thunderstorms and high winds called for all day and night. This place is not a great place to take a zero, but we made coffee this morning (on our stove, as the tiny communal kitchen was packed), are doing some writing and journaling, did some repairs, studying of the guidebook, reading, took showers, and will cook a yummy meal tonight on our stove. Headed out tomorrow to hit Max Patch!

Day 34 (Apr. 24th) – 14.1 miles from Standing Bear Hostel to mile marker 264.2 – our highest mileage day yet. Rain held off all day until we got to camp and set up tent and ate dinner. We are stealth camping tonight! It is flat and beautiful. We saw Max Patch today but it was totally fogged in, no views and pretty cold. We hiked 10 miles before lunch today. We are getting stronger, faster and better. Tomorrow we have a shorter day into Hot Springs. 

Day 35 (Apr. 25th) – 8.9 miles from our stealth camp site to Hot Springs, NC. We thought today would be easy, but every time we think that, the trail surprises us. We are at Laughing Heart Hostel and luckily a private room opened up (we were going to tent out). Laundry, showers, post office and eating are in order! Not sure if we’ll stay another day or hike tomorrow. The actual trail goes through the town of Hot Springs and we’ve been looking forward to being here for a while now!

For pictures or videos, search for “Appalachian Trail Tales” on Facebook and YouTube. 

Days 28-32

Day 28 (Apr. 18th) – zero day in Gatlinburg. Had fun sleeping in and having coffee in the cabin, then hung out with Betty and a Robert all afternoon in a Gatlinburg – great time! They are so sweet. 

Day 29 (Apr. 19th) – 10.3 miles Newfound Gap to Pecks Corner Shelter. Rained all day – whether it was sprinkling, misting, or dripping from the trees – it was a wet day. Good to be back out here, we both felt good. Did not see a lot of hikers today, maybe because of the rain.  

Day 30 (Apr. 20th) – 12.5 miles Pecks Corner Shelter to Cosby Knob Shelter. Low spirits today. Rain off and on all day, and we got a lower start this morning because of it. Slow going with all the mud and rocks. Greg’s foot hurting tonight – he’s taken Advil and has it elevated, not sure what the deal is bunion area, though he has no bunion). 
Day 31 (Apr. 21st) – 10.7 miles Cosby Knob Shelter to Standing Bear Farm Hostel. Today was a better day! Made it out of the Smokies today and there was trail magic waiting for us. Greg’s foot MUCH better, he used my bunion pad today and with dry socks and more Advil he felt good. Still swollen but not hurting as bad. It was a sunny day until early afternoon when it poured on us. We are at Standing Bear (which we wanted to go slightly past, but with the rain we decided to stay). There is a resupply box here from Mom Beck which had some extra goodies in it (thanks Mom!). 

Day 32 (Apr. 22nd) – We are slackers! We slack-packed today, and hiked 10 miles before lunch! Slack packing is hiking without our full-weight packs. Someone drove us ahead of the trail 10 miles this morning and dropped us off. We had a small day pack we shared with just water and snacks and rain jackets. Then wE hiked back (south) to the Hostel, where we’ll stay again tonight. It was awesome! Even though we had a 3-mile uphill climb, we seemed to be flying. Did about 3 miles/hour today (vs our regular just under 2/hour). Having no heavy packs on made a huge difference. It did rain on us a bit towards the end, but we didn’t care. We just took showers and are going to see about getting a frozen pizza to make for a late lunch/early dinner. Life is good. 

Days 24-27

Day 24 (Apr. 14th) – 12.6 miles Fontana Road to Mollies Ridge Shelter. Today we entered the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! It was a good day, I felt so much better than yesterday (some minor foot pain yesterday that dragged me down). The shelter was full and others were tenting out so we are too. 
Day 25 (Apr. 15th) – 12.0 miles Mollies Ridge Shelter to Derrick Knob Shelter. Pretty nice hike till lunch, then the uphills started. Hard day but our bodies felt good. We are slow slow on the uphills, but we get there eventually! We hit Rocky Top Mountain, TN. Tenting again, shelter is full. Had some 4-cheese mashed potatoes for dinner – yum. 

Day 26 (Apr. 16th) – 13.6 miles Derrick Knob Shelter to Mt. Collins Shelter – our longest day yet! We hit the highest point on the AT today at 6,612 ft, Clingman’s Dome. Also hit the 200 mile mark. Had planned a short day, but turned into a longer day (as thunderstorms expected for Monday, so now we only have 4.2 miles to do Monday where a friend is meeting us). Long day, but we are good! I was chatting with a guy about how there’s always a steep uphill right before each shelter, and he said, “Yep, but if it was easy, everyone would do it.”  

Day 27 (Apr. 17th) – 4.2 miles Mt. Collins Shelter to Newfound Gap, 10th day of hiking in a row. Short day today, spent some time hiking in the rain. Hung out with trail angel “Yard Dart” in parking lot, who’s wife is thru-hiking, we’ve seen him for trail magic three times now, nice guy, but haven’t met his wife yet. Then our friends Betty and Robert picked us up – we had dinner and then they took us to this LOVELY cozy cabin in the woods outside of Gatlinburg (Pigeon Forge) that they are generously letting us stay in! It is so cool and private and very comfortably furnished. Relaxation time…

Days 20-23

Day 20 (Apr. 10th) – 5.9 miles Wesser Bald Shelter to The NOC (Natahala Outdoor Center). After yesterday, hard morning with steep downhills and decided to stay at the NOC before attempting 6 miles straight uphill (trail passes through the NOC so we were having lunch here anyway). Found an awesome stealth campsite thanks to our pals Tiffany and Trace, right by the river. Gorgeous!

Day 21 (Apr. 11th) – 10.4 miles from the NOC to Locust Gap Campsite. What a day! We were rested and ready, but out of the 10.4 miles, 7.7 miles of it was uphill, baby! Very difficult day, but we did it and were in good spirits for most of it (Greg had some slight heat exhaustion-going uphill in the sun, but we breaked and he cooled down and we breaked more often after that). Doing camp duties video tonight, so stay tuned!!

Day 22 (Apr. 12th) – 8.3 miles Locust Gap to Cody Gap Campsite. We had trail magic in Stecoah Gap! And then we climbed Jacobs’s Ladder – which is basically a mile of steep uphill climbing. It was hard, but we’ve done harder! It was a hard day despite the low mileage. Tomorrow is 10 miles into Fontana Village where we will do laundry and take showers and spend the night before hitting the Smokies!!
Day 23 (Apr. 13th) – 8.7 miles Cody Gap to Fontana Village and Lodge. Even the easy days are hard, but it was still a good day. We had two trail magics and now a shower! Doing laundry next, eating, and then sleeping in a real bed! Tomorrow we start the Smokies – wish us luck, they are hard and we are required to stay in shelters. 

Days 18 and 19

Day 18 (Apr. 8th) – 12.0 miles from Rock Gap to Wine Spring Campsite. We said goodbye to Debi and Jim today, our gracious friends and hosts in Franklin. We can’t thank them enough for having us! Today our friends Caryn and Keith, from Kentucky, met us at the start and hiked with us today. They are awesome and brought us homemade trail mix (3 different kinds) and made us gourmet rice and beans with Fritos for dinner – and did I mention wine?? So good!! I hope we didn’t wear them out with the 12 mile hike today, but it was so good to have their company. They are spending the night and then will hike back to their car tomorrow (from where we started from today)!

Day 19 (Apr. 9th) – 13.4 miles from Wine Spring Camp to Wesser Bald Shelter, our biggest day yet. Only trying to do 12 miles days this week but this one worked out to a bit longer between camp places. It was a beautiful day, full sun and our friends Caryn and Keith sent us off in style with camp fire coffee this morning. Day was very hard on Greg, Jen was good but tired in the end. We’ve decided we do not like 2 mile uphills at the end of day! Campsite full tonight!

Days 14-17

Day 14 (Apr. 4th) – 12.2 miles from Carter Gap Shelter to Rock Gap. It was a beautiful day today! Sun was out, weather cool, terrain pretty even (except a few spots), we made it to the 100 mile marker, and are with our friends Debi and Jim in Franklin now!! Awesome day.
Days 15, 16 and 17 – extended our zero day to three zero days because of snow and freezing temps on the trail. Stayed with our awesome friends Debi and Jim (who we met while living in Costa Rica and now they just moved to Franklin last week!). They shared their new home with us, which is a comfy and quaint cabin type home in a quiet hilly area just outside of the Franklin city limits. They showed us around Franklin, Sylva and Waynesville – all really cute towns that all happen to have some good breweries too! We have loved hanging out with Debi and Jim again, so comfortable and fun!!
We are ready to get back on the trail early Saturday morning!
For pictures or videos, search for “Appalachian Trail Tales” on Facebook and YouTube. 

Days 9-13

Day 9 (Mar. 30th) – 0 miles, zero day at Budget Inn, Hiawassee, GA. Had breakfast at Subway. Had coffee at Subway, the hotel office, and Starbucks! Went to grocery store for a few resupply items (also had a bounce box shipped here of excess food we had left over from Neel’s Gap). Met Alison, a girl from my AT Women’s Group, staying at Budget tonight and a couple who was following us on Instagram – Ziplock and Betsy. Had Mexican food for dinner, was great and cheap!
Day 10 (Mar. 31st) – 10.4 miles. Unicoi Gap to Sassafras Gap. Today was our longest day so far at 10.4 miles and we were fueled by our zero day yesterday and a good Mexican dinner last night. We did well, despite a later start (9:45 am) and made it into camp by 4:00. We were tired by the end of the day but that’s to be expected. It’s windy here tonight but no rain! 

Day 11 (Apr. 1st) – 10.8miles. Sassafras Gap to Plumorchard Gap. Today was a doozie. It seemed liked we were going uphill all day! We are exhausted but we did it. We had trail magic at lunch time which lifted our spirits. Day started out very cold and windy and ended up very hot and sunny – crazy. 

Day 12 (Apr. 2nd) – 12.2 miles. Plumorchord Gap to Standing Indian Shelter. Whoa first 5 miles we were climbing! Hard day and our longest yet but we felt better than yesterday! We are now in North Carolina! Just 13 more states to go!

Day 13 (Apr. 3rd) – 7.6 miles in rain rain rain and mud! Got poured on and was very cold out. Finally got to a shelter and hung out with some boy scouts and other thru-hikers and tried to warm up. One guy had hypothermia and someone gave him an emergency blanket and he warmed up. After break in the rain we set up our tent and now just snuggled in our dry clothes and layers trying to stay warm! Tomorrow should let up and we are attempting 12.2 miles to Rock Gap where our friends Debi and Jim will pick us up to spend some time with them in Franklin. 

For pictures or videos, search for “Appalachian Trail Tales” on Facebook and YouTube. 

See videos of our Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike: here!