Hampton, TN Update

We are now at Black Bear Hostel. Yesterday we were rerouted off the AT because of a fire in the area. We had 7 miles of USFS road to hike around the mountain. We were able to camp at the field where a fire break was being put into place. All night long we could hear trees and branches falling in the forest. We have also just heard another fire has started in the area. We will see where before we leave here tomorrow. We should be in Damascus, VA by the evening of the 25th. We also have to avoid the Watauga Lake shelter due to recent bad bear behavior. The shelter had been closed for 2 years because of a sow and her 2 cubs causing problems. The shelter was just reopened and all ready 2 hikers had their tents shredded. Sorry no pictures. The hostel has asked us not to use up all their data. Just letting everyone know we are safe and that you may not hear anything for 5 to 6 days from today. On the bright side. I was walking down the trail yesterday morning and a young bearded man and his dog were walking south towards me. I looked up and said, “Matt, is that you?” He looked at me and said, “What are you doing here?” It was a young man I had hiked with on the trail from Helen, GA. last year. What a surprise!!!! Trail magic indeed.

Update: All hikers that were held in place since noon today have now been brought off of the mountain. The hostel went and picked up the hikers that the USFS walked out of the danger zone. A lot of planes were in the air all afternoon. There is now a fire ban in place. Since we have been hiking we have only had a 1/2 day of rain. We are all hoping for rain, even though it isn’t fun to hike in.

Sookie

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I Think I Have Entered the Twilight Zone

When I  decided to return to the trail after last year’s injury, I never realized how difficult it would be to get beyond Erwin, TN. Last year around this same time, Spirit and I hopped a ride from Miss Janet to the Jonhson City bus station. My trail days were over for 2015.

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Enter this year, Spirit, Whatever Works, Lambo and myself got on the trail +30 miles south of Devil Fork Gap. The place I had left the trail. This time we traveled past this location with a minimum of normal aches and pains. My husband was heading home from visiting his brother in the state of Virginia and I asked him to swing down to pick up gear we needed to unload ourselves of. Which he did.

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We went in to Erwin and got a hotel room in the late afternoon of April 6th. The weather has been cold, windy and at times wet. All things that we usually put up with, but one in our party had what we thought at the time was athlete’s foot. So, we tried a few things to try to heal the feet. Bleach baths, Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, creams, the list goes on. I asked the Facebook group, Appalachian Trial Women’s Group who were all very helpful. As the days passed without improvement it was decided today that a visit to the Dr. was in order.

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Verdict-not athlete’s foot. No definite conclusion of cause. Though Dr. stated another hiker came off the trail with hands looking the same. So a steroid cream prescription was given and we hope this does the trick.

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3 of us were able to slackpack yesterday from Sams  Gap to Spivey Gap. It was a cold and sometimes windy day. The views where great as alway, but with one of our group down, it really didn’t feel the same. It was like last year. I would see something interesting, beautiful or amazing and have no one to share it with.

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But what really helped the day feel doable, was that another hiker had taken the time and placed a simple symbol along the way in the snow.

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So, fellow hiker whoever you are, thank you for lifting my spirits.

So, what does this article have to do with being in a Twilight Zone episode? Today was spent going to the clinic and hospital I had been in a year ago. Tomorrow we go back on at Spivey Gap which once again leads us back to Erwin. Hmmm.

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All I’m saying is this. If I am still in Erwin, TN in the September, someone try and pull me out of this rabbit hole.

Sookie

Seriously now. WTH was I thinking!?!?!!!!

I didn’t even get to have a drink of water and we were off hiking. It was 23 degrees on my little thermometer. I had been warm and comfortable in my hammock when my mom called me out to pack up and get going since everyone else was frozen little Popsicles. We would have breakfast when “we” and Mother Nature warmed up a bit I was told. It wasn’t long into the hike when we had caught up to Lambo who was waiting for us in a sunny spot when I threw my hiking poles down and pack to the ground and flopped down next to them and started screaming and my mom and Lambo about how crazy they were to be doing this and enjoying it. I literally threw a fit like a 2 year old with adult language involved. So far I’m thinking this is stupid but, I’m not quitting.

We are in Erwin now, Dad (the greatest man in the world) picked us up yesterday off the trail so I could doctor up my poor feet. Today we went and picked up new boots for me since mine are to small. It feels as if someone has replaced my lower half with Lego man legs and my feet and toes have turned into plump uncooked sausages. And when I’m not moving I have shin splints ( lovely ). Spirit says I’m laughing all the time tho so it’s not as terrible as I may make it seem (*cough* bullshit *cough*).