Absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder and although I had an absolutely wonderful time relaxing at the pool bar with Brian for a week, I'm very ready to "get back trail." Can't wait to get caught up on what I missed---including the notorious "Trail Days" (NotBad's recap of the weekend is coming soon...) Mostly i can't wait to see everyone: Not Bad, I Slack, Boss, Ice, Licious, Lucy, Jamie and everyone else. And get back to the day to day (anything-but)-routine of a thru-hiker.
But its been almost a month since we posted ANYTHING, so allow me to fill in some of the blanks.
Erwin, Tennessee was the 300 mile mark and the location of our last post. We headed up into the Roan Highlands---one of the most beautiful sections that we've hiked so far, even though it rained and sleeted for most of it. Can only imagine the views on a clear day.
The morning we woke up at the Overmountain shelter (an old barn that had been turned into a shelter for hikers) our wet clothes that we hung up to dry the night before were now cold and wet. So we put them back on and hiked the 10 miles to the Mountain Harbour Bed & Breakfast, in Roan Mountain, TN----- who's bunkhouse was booked up! But because the weather was so bad, the wonderful couple who owned the place let us squeeze 8 people into the 'honeymoon suite' at a reduced rate---and cooked us a baller breakfast the next morning. We're talking like thanksgiving dinner style breakfast...
We left the B&B at a leisurely pace that afternoon to sunshine. NotBad had a short bout with a case of "the Nolichucky's" or "Uncle Johnny's Revenge" as it's affectionately called --a 24 hour bug that had been affecting several hikers up the trail and may or may not have originated at the hiker hostel in Erwin...
She soldiered through though and we made it to Kincora---a true hiker oasis--- a day later.
Kincora hiker hostel, run by trail-legend Bob Peoples, features tree house bunks and an authentic wood burning stove steam room (we took advantage of both). He also gave us shuttles to town for resupply and an opportunity to slack pack. All for a suggested donation of $4.00.
Have we talked about slack packing?
Slack Packing involves getting a ride up the trail (or sending your pack ahead) and then hiking back (or up to) your pack with just enough snacks and water for the day. Without 40 extra pounds it allows you to move a lot faster, or more comfortably. It allows you to cover a lot more mileage than you might otherwise be able to do. Some thru-hiking purists consider it "cheating"...
I don't think making your hike more enjoyable for yourself is cheating so I never pass up an opportunity to slack pack : )
After leaving Kincora, we hiked a couple more days (including a 26 mile slack pack day!) to Damascus, VA where we zero-ed at another wonderful bed and breakfast. Had a really good spinich/artichoke pizza and a few beers at Quincey's, and caught up with quite a few hikers in the 2 days that we spent there. Damascus is a real milestone for thru hikers, its right across the Virginia border and almost 500 miles in. It feels really good to have a good chunk of the trail under our belts and makes me even more excited about the next 1500 miles.
More to come.
Is there anything you guys want to know about specifically?