I’m now at the Lodge in Fontana Village. Today was mostly uneventful, except for lunch at the Dillard House. It was easily more than my mom and I could eat in a single sitting, but we took a good bit for supper too. Behold and be jealous of my last minute carb-loading:
Sometime after arriving, I decided to pull out everything I was packing and reconsider it. A few things didn’t make the cut, but the tent will be going. I don’t expect to have to use it, but I need to get used to carrying it since I will need it once I get out of the Smokeys and Copper joins me. Take a look and see if there is anything here you would do without:
There are very few hikers this far north. Four are staying at this hotel. The two from Oregon are waiting for a package, but the two from Pennsylvania will be hauling themselves up Stecoah with me in the rain tomorrow. I’m only planning to go the first ten miles to Mollie’s Ridge tomorrow after a satisfying last real breakfast for at least a week.
The hardest part is going to be hiking without the dog. This will be the first overnight hike without him since before we adopted him. I miss him already!
Jimmy just announced a sustained silent reading period while I read your blog on my phone and he read it on the computer. We are excited to read along and jimmy is going to keep a fan fiction blog that takes your routes/adventures but replaces you and copper with a boy with a backpack of booze and a dog much stupider than copper.
Okay, you might have guessed…his blog is about he and Luke.
Hope you are having fun!
Good luck. I’ve heard the hike in Georgia weeds out most of the pretenders. If you make it into North Carolina, you’ve probably got it. The Mid-Atlantic is almost easy by AT standards and by the time you get to the hard stuff again in New England, you’re too dead inside to recognize the suffering.
Also, why did you decide to start off sans Copper? You’ve got 165 miles (about) of hiking to do before you hit the last parking area before you’re in the SMNP (Fontana Dam, I think). I’m sure you could have convinced your mom to rent a cabin in the mountains for week to pick up Copper and drop him back off on the other side. She likes to travel. Also, do the other national parks you pass through allow dogs on the trail or are the Smokies unique?
Also, when you hit the top of Standing Indian, take the time to go uphill off trail to the peak. It has a gorgeous view and is one of the higher points of the trail. My favorite visual memory from hiking is waking up one morning on that peak and looking out at a rainbow halo around the shadow of the mountain on the sea of clouds below.
If you’re averaging 10 miles a day, I could meet you for a few days in Virginia. If you’re doing 15, I could meet you in Maryland. Maybe if we’re lucky I can do something during spring break when you’re not halfway through.