We are in North Carolina!
Franklin, North Carolina to be exact. Yesterday we passed the 100 mile mark on the trail! Only 2079 to go...
Today also marks 2 weeks since we started and we are feeling very accliamated to life on the trail. After we left the hostel at Neels Gap, we hiked three days to Hiawassee, Georgia, slept in a real bed at a wonderful hostel called the Blueberry Patch and woke up to a hot breakfast: cheese biscuits, sawmill gravy, sausage, pancakes with blueberry syrup, orange juice and fresh brewed coffee. (I realize that i spend a lot of time going into detail about the meals at these hostels, but they are worth going into detail about after 3-4 days of dehydrated meals!)
We hit the trail that afternoon and made it to a shelter just after dark. Set up our hammocks in the dark, cooked and ate dinner in the dark (in the privy as a matter of fact so as not to wake up the folks sleeping in the shelter) and hung our bear bag in the dark. Woke up to rain and soaking wet gear a few hours later... (top of the to-do list: get better tarps, with more coverage, for our hammocks.) The forcast for the day was thunderstorms, so we ended up just hanging out at the shelter all day and letting our stuff dry. There were quite a few others with the same idea.
So we kept warm by creating a make shift tetherball court and tetherball tournament and we made a big potluck dinner that night out of stovetop, mashed potatoes and zuccini! AND there were a couple guys from Michigan who had a deck of cards, so of course there was Euchre.
Then the weather cleared up and we had a couple big mile days and here we are in Franklin, North Carolina.
Before I wrap up, I need to explain a phenomena out here on the AT called "Trail Magic." Trail Magic is any stroke of good luck or unexpected act of kindness experienced while hiking. It appears most often in the form of hot food at a trail head or fresh apples where the trail crosses a road, but can be anything. Here for example, the morning we hiked up and over 'Kelly Knob' it was very windy and spitting rain with 40 degree temps and when we came to the road at the bottom of the mountain, Nancy and Cheryl (and their husbands) had a big pot of chili and a cooler full of pepsi and were dishing it out for us before we even crossed the road. They also gave us a ride into town (10 miles up the road). Trail Magic.
There are so many people on or around the trail that will give the shirt off their back to a complete stranger, and ask nothing in return. There are a lot of good people in this world. Its a cool thing to remember after spending the last 5 years in a line of work that tells you the opposite.
Anyway, we're going to hang out here in Franklin today and eat a giant hamburger and maybe buy a tarp. We're only about a week and a half away from Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains! (where it apparently snows into April...)
Thanks for all of the comments! Love Jess & Mal
ps Go Butler!