Blogs 17-1

Day 16,17...Zero Day

Today was my second Zero Day. 

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Yesterday, we played disc golf, which Is my favorite thing to do. We went to the Clayton Homes disc golf course.  It is one of the nicest courses I have ever played.  After that we stopped by REI to get Kate a new pair of hiking boots before we dropping her off at the airport to go to Philmont. 

Last night around 10 o'clock a thunderstorm rolled through Knoxville and it was super windy. It was a short, very violent storm.  I heard a big crack of thunder and when I got up to use the bathroom a few minutes later, the power was out. The power was out until about 6:45 am , so a total of about 8 hours. I am glad I was inside and not camping in a tent. 

It turned out that many trees in the neighborhood were damaged in the  storm inculding one of the trees in Uncle Dan and Aunt Laura's front yard. Tyler and I took a tour of the neighborhood to see the damage.  We cleaned up branches in the streeet for about 2 hours, until Papa came and reminded me that I had to buy groceries. 

After lunch we (Papa, Uncle Dan and I) went to the grocery store to restock on backpacking meals.  Later in the afternoon near dinner time, Aunt Sue arrived.  She, Mimi and Papa, are going to my Uncle Jim's in Williamsburg, Virginia for the week. 

For dinner, we had a wonderful feast of ham, potatoes, layer salad, and green beans. It was a fantastic meal, which I will really miss on the trail. When we were done with dinner, we broke out the cards and played liver pool rummy until late that night.  

And we finished the day with a final dip in the hot tub.

Tomorrow morning I hit the trail. I am looking forward to getting back to hiking, but I have really enjoyed my time here.

Knoxville, TN

Miles: 0

Day 15...Reunion

Today I hiked over one of the highest mountains on the

Appalachian Trail.  At 6,624 feet above sea level, Clingmans Dome is has one of the best views on the trail. Unfortunately after climbing to the top, it was super foggy and windy, so I did not stay long.

I decided to hike faster than I normally would this morning, so I could wait at New Found Gap for my Uncle Danny, Papa, and Kate. I was able to hike 10 and a half miles in 4 hours.  I think hiking this fast is what caused a couple of blisters to form on my toes.

After picking me up, we went to Cracker Barrel, were I got a big chicken fried steak with coleslaw, collard greens, and fried ocra. It was sooooo good!  

When we got to my Uncle's house in Knoxville, Kate and I took all of the gear out of our bags to clean and dry out. Then we enjoyed nice hot steam showers and it felt great. I still haven't got all the dirt out of my toes. 

After a great dinner of hamburger and corn on the cob, we relaxed in a hot tub. It has been along time since I have been in a hot tub, it felt really nice on my muscles. Around 9:00 pm, I FaceTimed home to say hi and to wish everyone luck at their swim meet.

I get to relax until Monday when I hit the trail again. 

Miles: 10.5

Double Spring Shelter to New Found Gap

Day 14...Solo

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Today was the first day of hiking by myself for the entire day.  I woke up around 5:45 am and hit the trail around 6:10 am, just as it was getting light.  Similar to yesterday,  I only saw a couple of people the entire day.  Also like yesterday, it was cold and foggy.  I understand why they call these mountains the Great Smokies.   

I hiked the entire day with a long sleeve shirt and rain jacket on without breaking a sweat. 

When I arrived at the shelter that evening, there were already about 7 people settled in. Everyone looked cold, and nobody really wanted to talk; so I did not press a conversation.  

I got a call that evening from Kate.  Kate said that there was a guy with a trail name of Gram.  She said that you could easily tell it was him by his pack, it was smaller than my school bag. He was a really cool dude, he was going super ultra light, which means his base pack weight (everything but food and water) is under 5 lbs. 

By the time I sat down to type up the blog, my fingers were too cold to type.  So, I called it a early night, and went to bed around 7:45 pm.

Mollies Ridge Shelter to Double Spring Shelter

Miles: 19.4  

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