Day 36 Heading to Double spring Shelter Mile 451

I woke to pouring rain and decided to use the bathroom first.
Then I packed as much kit into my pack as I could before trying to take my tent down from within.
It took a while as every thing was soaked but soon I was packed I wandered up to the hostel . Dan & Beth were having breakfast so i joined them and  poured myself a coffee grabbed a banana and several nectarines and enjoyed the moment. I grabbed another coffee then filled my water bladder and I was ready . I was just about to leave when  i fancied a lemonade so brought a tin  that  I quickly drained.
Some hikers were Slackpacking this is where they are dropped up the trail with out their pack then hike back.
I personally think this is cheating or not in the spirit of hiking, but that’s my opinion.
It didn’t happen on the PCT but seems common on this trail.
As I made my way down the road I remembered my pizza in the fridge oh well I’m not going back now . I crossed the road and began the trail which took me around a beautiful lake or it would have been if the mist wasn’t hiding it
It was  pouring with rain as I followed the trail around the lake.
As I came to a junction I was confused on which way to go, as I was deciding  which  way to go .three American hikers  that i met  yesterday appeared.
Straight on they  said
I let them pass , then tagged onto their train and followed them for many miles as I liked their pace amd  could keep with them.
Eventually they stopped for a break ,but i carried on until I came to the first shelter my lunch stop so  I dropped my packed and was relaxing when the 3 Americans appeared .
I enjoyed  my  beak and lunch and then was just about to leave when Beth and Dan turned up.  We  chatted  as we walked, discussing mileage . What did I need to do!
Okay, so 20 miles will take me here. or 23 will take me to.!!
I fancied the last option , so pushed on as Dan & beth  took a break. I hadn’t gone far when it began to chuck it down. I pushed on pounding through the puddles.
I seem to be able to hike much faster in the rain, maybe it was because the ground was soft, or  maybe because  I could switch my brain off.
It wasnt lomg until  the  second shelter came into view. I stopped ,signed the book before pushing on as  I was on a mission and wanted that 23 miles .
At last the rain stopped and the sun tried to shine meaning that i neded to stop to take off my rain jacket as I was soon roasting.
I stoed my  jacket  before  contnuing  on, it was now  hot  but the trail still resembled a river , but i felt  good as  i pushed on .
Eventually I emegerd  out by  a road, I looked around the trail head and  noticed another hiker  named called Green bean sat on the fence We chatted for a moment before i crossed over the road.
The first mile had been especially designed for wheelchair users and so the gradient was very low as it snaked through the field.

At the end of this stretch was a view-point with an actual perfect view of the mountains.
I sat on the bench and  took a few snaps before moving on, The next field had cows in the first that I had seen on this trail. I crossed into the field and followed huge stone blocks that marked the trail. The hours ticked by as my legs began to grow weary , now where is that shelter.
I came to water and automatically filled up, there were  some nice spots to put my tent. But no I wanted that 23 miles so pushed on .

At last  the  shelter and my traget for the day appeared , okay need a place for my tent . Theres room inside a voice said ,
Great  i  said  and  dropped my pack
A hiker named  3 socks asked if I wanted to finish her spaghetti. ?
I grabbed the packet and woofed the content. then set up my bed before cooking my own supper.
As we sat there , mice began scurrying about in the rafters.Nice!
and it wasnt even dark
There were 5 of us in the shelter and soon we were all asleep.

Start 428
Finish 451
mileage 23 miles
Remaining 1739 Miles

Day 35 Heading to Boots-off Hostel mile 428

Tuesday 15th may .

I was determined to make a good start so I was up early and packed by 6.30. drank my tea and wolfed a Danish and hit the trail at 7
It was cool and overcast perfect hiking weather for me.
The trail started with a small but steep climb then I was on my way .

I am not a fast hiker, more of a plodder, but i am doing the miles . I felt I was  amking fast  profress until handstand and another hiker zoomed past me . It is a little intimidating but hey hike your own hike.
I pushed on and  passed Bumble Bee, who was camping in a field, why  you  here i asked  as  your get a lot f condesation
Bumble be point  to a tree, i wanted to  go  there  but  the spot was taken ,
“Laters”  i said  and  pushed on
Several miles later   i came  across the  hikers who I met  at the shelter but  whp had decided  to hike on. I was impressed  with  the mileage that they had made. and i guess a lot of it in the dark.
I pushed on until I came to water, I drank a litre and topped upmy bladder. It was 2 miles to laurel falls  which was my  first target.
AS  i crossed  over a road   i  entered another park and  joined the river, I  following the river for a while before  crossing  over a bridge. Once across the  climbing started , I climbed up and  over  rejoining  the  river on the other side.
I then continued to follow  the river  as it flowed far below me.  It was time to climb down. the decent was down huge stone steps  that took me a while.  AS  i made my decent  the  roar  of the falls gready staedily  louder  then  i  could see them. Wow this decent was well worth the effort as the falls were magnificent. some mad people were swimming  in the pool  in the front of the falls.
I stayed for about  30 minutes  enjoying the  stunning  views of the falls, before moving on. The trail followed the river for most of the day before a huge climb.
At 1pm ,I decided to stop for lunch  and relax before tackling the next climb.
Several hikers streamed past  me , so  i  packed up  and  headed off   continiing to followed  the river  . I then caame across a huge wooden log  bridge   that  spanninmg  the river ,
Once across it was time to climb . this first climb took me 2 hr and once again  it seemed  a pointless climb. with  no view  and no purpose. But this is the AT.
I have to say it was so humid that my shorts were soaked, I  thought that i had a leaaking  water bottle but no it was my sweat. YUCK.
At last I was at the top  and typivally on most of these climbs   imeaditly  statterd my decent. As i made my way down i began to hear thunder rumble in the distance .
I may be getting wet, as I began the ever ending spiral down I was sudden it passed by Beth and Speedy .
Where are you  heading  snail Beth  said ?
Not  really sure    i  replied  laughing
We are  trying to get to Boots  offf, If  you  make  it  there Snail , do you fancy coming out for dinner later  “
“Of course” I replied.
Beth and Speedy  were  so  fast they wee soon  goon.
It was 2 miles to the hostel so I pushed  on trying to  crunch  the miles as fast as I could An  hour I arrived  at the Hostel, but sadly no more rooms . I checked in grabbed a soda then the heavens opened.
I quickly found a tent spot and put up my tent as quickly as i could before everything got soaked once  my tent  was up  I  sorted  out my gear.
OKay  i  need a shower , i walked back  to  the main building and found the showers  The shoers were great  , powerful and  hot,   Once  done  i went to find Bethand Dan.
they were in one of the bunk houses,  ,Sat outside was Bumble Bee  so  i  cahatted  for  her  for a while , before Beth   arrived shortly followed by Dan .
They went to  meet their friends,
Snail are  you coming ?
I dint want to intrude   but  their freinds were  graeat ,
How  are we all going to  get  to  the resturant?”  asked  one  of their  freinds
Snail  will you be okay in the trunk,?
No  probs  i said
I  got  into  the back  of the car  and  we were soon on out way
They found a pizza place with live music.

It was great ,I ordered  a 16″ Pizza which was awesome washed down with 4 pints of various ales. we had a great time laughing and enjoying each other’s company..

eventually it was time to leave .once back we had a few more beers than it was time for bed

Start 413
Finish 428
mileage 15 miles
Remaining 1762 Miles

Day 34 Heading to Moreland Gap shelter- Passing mile 400

even though I was by the road I slept well but woke in the night saturated in sweat not good when your bag is down.
I tried my self down a d went back to sleep walk g at 6.30. I was in no hurry as breakfast wasn’t until 8 am.
But I needed the loo. So unzipped my went and groggy made my way to the porter potty as I walked. Zippy past me by all packed.
Fuck your all packed.
I did my chores then hurried back to my tent dropped my food at and began stuffing items into my bag.

I actually impressed myself ,as  i managed to be  packed in 25 minutes a record for me.
I swept my tent space  before slinging  my pack onto my back and walking  the short way back to the hostel.
My eyes were not REALLY awake but as  iapproached the hostel , I could see two people waving to me ,speaking to me……. Omg it was Dan and Beth.
I dropped my pack at the hostel and went and gave then  botha a huge hug, It was so nice to see them again. they had  stayed in the hostel in one of the nice beds,  picked up by friends at the trail head and had been for beer and food (Envy envy) . They arrived late last night .
I said I would catch uplater as there was coffee being served downstairs. I drained two large cups flowed by a few Danish.
Then breakfast was announced as .much as you can eat for $12
I am. not familiar with the foods and all of their names. But I left with a very large plate of food that i quickly devoured. washed down with lots of orange juice cranberry juice and more coffee.
I was then ready to head out.i filled up my water then flavoured it with lemonade. I just needed more gas. So had to wait for the store to open.
I went and said goodbyes to Dan & Beth. they were still waiting for laundry and so would be a while..

I hoisted my pack and set off , as i walked toward  the gate a pickup stopped an d offered me a ride back to the trail head oh yes please .
I hit the trail at 9am , I  wanted 17 miles  but allready it was hot and I knew thatthere were  several smallish climbs first  thing  and then it would be reasonably flat.
I started in the forest then exited into lush fields ,the trail wound its way across and up.
Once again  when you leave  town or  have resuppled you are heavy so my back ached as It grew accustomed to the new Load. The fields made a nice change ,as I wound my way across I came to a very well-kept cemetery. I stopped and looked at a few graves more out of curiosity before returning  to the trail.  Theforests are l changing , flowers are coming into bloom and the birds are  singing away.
I stopped and tried for 10 minutes to try and get a photo of this bird called a Cardinal.
It is the size of an English blackbirds but it is bright red. But he did not t want his photo taken.  The chipmunks also  seemed much tamer here , as i walked on a red squirrel shot  out in front of me making me jump.

northern-cardinal
northern-cardinal

But best of all the trail was nice, no big climbs, no big decents , just a gentle roller coaster trail , I loved it as  I was in no hurry I decided  to  get to the first shelter  then see how I feel.  I shortly vame  to a signpost  that  pointed to a waterfall , as i was in mo hurry  i thought that i would go take a look
Oh wow it was lovely, Well I loved it.
I stopped and stared at the gusiing watrer   for several  minutes  before  heading back to the main trail. Several miles  later i came to another watefall ,but not quite as grand but still good.
As I stopped to  get water ,  I accidentaly dropped  one of  my  bottle tops  that  was quickly  washed away. Dam that was careless I said to myself. Luckily I carry a spare. I walked on knowing that the next shelter was very near and I was in need of a break.

The shelter soon appeared and it was fairly new. No one was there so I ate lunch alone signed the shelter log and stuck a sticker on the graffiti board.
Okay  on to the next shelter, yes  I can do that.!

I set off the sun getting hotter and hotter, i should have  started earlier, but i was looking forward  to that famous breakfast. The trail continued as the morning , a lovely gentle trail  with no rocks .  I love  and so was able to push the miles. . Once  again the forests  were alive with bird song. Most of  the singing  was  from  tiny birds called warblers.
It  was roasting as i pushed  on so  soon neded to take 10 minutes  so at at 4 pm i found a spot  and  collapsed into  the warm grass to rest . I ate the rest of today’s snacks glugged my lemonade before  checking  my map. It  was  4 miles to go.I guessed i would be  there by 6.30. I packed up and set off again, As I had a few  hills to climb I  didn’t want to carry any extra water up them . Once  up  the second climb I  pushed on  my bladder was getting low but I didn’t want to stop.
My plan was to fill up every thing at the next  water before the shelter, as the shelter had poor water and it was far.  I crossed over a rushing creek , should I get water? but decided  to pushed on . I did this scenario at every  water source  I came to but still carried on .Then I  began to panick  that the last water may be crappy so I decided  i would fill up at the very  next water . As I was getting water a young hiker came by , she too stopped and watered up. (Speedy)
Okay I mile to go but I was now  hauling 4 liters which was heavy and of course UP-hill.

At last the shelter came into view. I quickly found a tent spot and put up my tent and got organized. I was just getting g my cooking gear when Bob arrived and OMG He had packed me out a beer. Good man, we toasted. each other than necked them .
I made tea then realised my Chilli Mac that I was excited to eat for supper was actually Mac cheese, bugger oh well my fault eyes test.
I cooked it up added bacon and pine nuts and it really was good but  i  had a lot  of it and was struggling to eat it.
As I’m eating Zippy arrives  shortly followed by Pig-Pen.
I offered  Pig-pen the rest of my dinner but  then realise i have bacon in it thinking that she  is a veggie
Sorry  I say  its got Bacon  in ,
No  its okay snail  i  eat bacon,
Then I add  ” Oh and its got  nuts in !
She imeaditly spits it out,
What sort  of nuts SNAIL !!
Pig-pen is allegric   , OMG i am so sorry  , Its pine nuts ,
Who puts fucking nuts  in Macky cheese  ,
Luckily  shes okay  and  we can laugh about  it, although i feel so bad and keep apologising  OOPS !!!!!!!

We carry on chatting but it is late so we hang our food then turn in. night all

Start 395
Finish 413
mileage 18 miles
Remaining 1777 Miles

Day 33 Heading to Mountain Harbour Hostel

Sunday may 13th

As I was close to town I could afford the luxury of a lie in. So enjoyed the time.
At 7.30 I unfit my zip and peered out .I half expected Bob to be gone. But no, he also slept in.
I retrieved my food bag and began to make tea. Then a few hikers began to appear god they must have gotten up really early. One of them,  Amy was in Bob’s posse she was on trail by six. You go girl.
I made tea the. ate a honey bun like a Danish but with 4 times the calories.  omg it was yummy.  I then slowly packed up. and I was soon. on the trail.
I only had about 7 miles to do. But standing before me was huge mountain. I stood and stared at if before beginning the climb. Luckily there was a nice cool breeze.
I chugged up it little by little. stopping at about a 1/4 to video and again at half way and at the top. I have to say that the views were amazing. But I am done with mountain’s. I would like to see something new!  But some how I do not think that I will.

Once over the trail snaked its way across some lush meadows before deciding to head down. Again it started nice but then turned to Ankle twisting rock. i battled through this for about an hour until the trail passed through some nice cool forest crossing several streams.
I was spiralling down whilst listening to the beautiful bird song. Most of the birds I have seen have been tiny finch like but the most amazing colours.
I continued my spiral decent for about another 2 hours until I began to hear traffic.I began to follow a stream. that kept getting bigger until I arrived at the road.
Okay snail left for Roan or right for Elm Park and beer.
I turned left and as I walked along the road i noticed a sign for the Harbour hostel.
Well that will do me. I. carried on walking and soon entered, It was really nice and very CLEAN
I Signed for tent spot $10 washing a dollar and all you can eat breakfast in the morning $12.
I dumped my clothes into the machine after soaking my socks for 40 mins yes they need it. Then to the shower OMG they were good .
Once we. it was lunch I had the AT burger a  12 0z burger and fries washed down. with cherry coke
Then after I dozed until I had room for ice cream I did a pint of strawberry cheesecake yummy with more soda no Beer here !!
After I went to put up my tent in by the river so may be condensation in the morning.
Once my tent was up I finished my chores ie laundry and resupply and ordered supper. Healthy chicken salad
now I’m now in my tent doing my journal night

Day 32 Heading to Little Hump mountain Mile 389

Saturday 12 May

I Dozed for a  while before getting  up.

Somersault had already left and left early. I went to the woods then retrieved my food bag. I removed my fly and then put water on to boil.
I began to pack up as the water came to the boil. I ate breckfast then finished packing. By the time I walked into the trail it was already in the 70s I think somersault had the right idea.
The trail began gentley but I knew that I had big climbs to do later and the sun was hot.
I pounded along  the  trail heading down , i seemed to be decending  for a long long time as i reached and crossed  over a  road , Bob caught me, Bob is fairly tall s and so can really stride  so skips up mountains the bastard.
This was the start of the the first climb,  again it started gently then  became steep  I climbed for over 2 hours beforeI reached thetop and had to take a break as I was shattered.  I pushed on  and down for  short  distance before my next 2 mile climb   oh joy . Luckily this climb was mainly  sheltered from the sun by  pine  trees , but OMG it was still steep

2 hrs later I emerged on top of a  grassy bank with nothing to see and then the trail  imeaditly  began to decend  and of course STEEPLY down.
The trail  bed became pebbles and busy with clean people and many dogs. I guessed it was a tourist spot but I hadn’t a clue what or where I was  until an hour later I emerged out onto  the Tennessee / North Carolina border.
There were cars every where. then I spied Bob sat by the forest sign  so joined him.
Whilst here i decided to take lunch, we tried to  yogi some free  stuff a apple a soda  but no one was being  generous

Shortly  Amy and Pig pen  arrived  from yesterday’s camp
After my break I hoisted my pack and set off with all the clean day tripers up the other side of the hill. once up the views were spectacular but the trails continuous climbs and decents  were exhausting me. I ploughed on for several hours  meeting a bunch of scouts out hiking,  they were very chatty so I tagged along with them for a few miles

My  original target was the second shelter  around mile 16  But when I got there I  felt that it was too early so decided to push on as I wanted more miles.
This may of been unwise as  the trail quickly began to climb and  very steeply . It continued climbing for several hours , I thought i  was done as i crosssed sevral meadows but then it  began to climb again , before crossing several  more hills. My map said two miles but I’m convinced it was more likely 4 .  I needed water  but the next water i came  too was crappy  , bugger  as i was relying on it . I then passed a camp   which i was to be my target, but i needed water .
I carried on up the trail  suddenly  i met Bob coming the other way . Hey  BOb
Snail there’s water  about .2 miles  im now heading back to the camp.
Cheers Bob , i will join you later when i have water.

I soon found  water an d was on my  way  back to  the campsite
I spied Bob putting up his tent and quickly followed suit.
As we  ate dinner,  a deer decided to join us , completely unfazed that we were here. After eating  I hung my food bag  then turned in

Start  369
Finish 387.8
mileage 19.8 miles
Remaining 1803 Miles

Day 31 Heading to Clyde Smith Shelter Mile 370

I slept well ,waking to a lovely morning, my fly was a bit damp due to condensation, but it wasn’t soaked.
I put on a brew,followed by a bowl of instant oats before getting ready to hit the trail. I was soon packed and hoisted up my pack.

I knew I had a few climbs early   well that’s as far as I dared look.
I was soon back on trail and continued my way.    It wasn’t long until I arrived at some pylons  that one of my fellow hikers was aiming for.
It  was a great view if I could only  erase the pylons out of the picture.
I  pushed on and began climbing, it was already warm and  so I was soon puffing and panting as I struggled  up my first climb eventually emerging
out into a lovely meadow , Wow  so  pretty. I  went to take a drink,Nothing , dam I thought my hose  must be kinked. Once I start hiking I do not like to stop  but  I was hot and thirsty  so  had no choice .
I dropped my pack and  checked the hose  which  yes was kinked.
I adjusted it  then threw my pack up onto my shoulders  but  FUCK !!!
As I slung up my pack I accidentally stood on the hose ripping off the bite valve, which shot into the air and into the Unknown .  Immediately my precocious water began to leak all over the ground. I moved quickly to stem the leak   and dropping my pack. Once that was done I began a fruitless search for the bite valve. After 20 minutes   I gave up.
Losing my bite valve was a complete pain as I like to hike without stopping but without it I will need to stop more often to refill my water bottles Arrrhhh.
But what is done is  done  , maybe I can get another today ?I  hiked on and  to my next climb, I was a bit concerned as I was fairly low on water and it was 5 miles until the next, Oh well I thought I just need to take it easy.
I had  just started  climbing when I came across a hiker named Brear Rabbit.
Did you see the water, He asked?
No I hadn’t,
Its just across the road  he said ,
As I didn’t think could do 5 miles  in the sun and whilst climbing I though it only wise to  go  back and get some. I thanked him and  made my way back down the mountain. quickly found the water that I hadn’t spotted earlier.
I topped up my bottles then  set  off back up the mountain.
I soon caught Brear Rabbit as he was slower than me, I thanked him again for the Info and pushed on
As I came over the summit I noticed a tree that was decorated, it was a shrine of memorial to a young lad who had died very young. I paused to read the tribute’s, which were very moving. While here I took a 10 min break too. Whilst resting Brear Rabbit appeared we chatted some more.

I pushed on and was soon in my stride, my goal was Cherry Gap shelter which was about 6 miles away .But due to the missing valve , i was slower as I had to keep stopping to  top up with water, which was a complete  pain .
At 12 pm I decided to take  lunch  as I  was struggling , but that was mainly because I kept stopping to chat to people ,
After lunch I was in a better mood as I came to Cherry Gap shelter, but I wanted more miles so continued.

My new target was now 5 miles away, as I began to drop down I met another hiker going southbound, He was a professor (teacher) we chatted a bit and explained about my Bite valve.
To my amazement he had one that he didn’t use. After 5 minutes rummaging through his pack he produced the bite valve.
Thank you, thank you so much I was so grateful.
I continued on with a huge smile on my face.
The rest of the day was a roller coaster of ups and downs and ups and downs. Eventually the Clyde Smith Shelter came  into view,
as I arrived Bumble Bee and her Hubby were here, another hiker  called nopoles  handed me water as i looked very warm.
I thanked him and  drained it , Thanks so much i said .
I then went and found a spot , as i walked  past the shelter i spotted handstand , and  several  new  hikers that I didn’t know .
I set up my tent then went to get water , whilst here i washed my socks and myself before  heading back.  One  of the girls was cooking dinner on a log so i went and joined her, Then another Girl  called Amy   joined us ..
After  dinner i hung by  back then hit my bed
Considering  the day    i had i was pleased to  get  here

Start  369
Finish 369
mileage 17.8 miles
Remaining 18 Miles

Day 30 Leaving Uncle Johnnies Hostel

Again I slept really well waking around 7 and just dozing as I hadn’t  planned  on leaving until after lunch.
Happy feet, who was camped next to me was trying  to use up gas canisters and so was boiling water for people so I grabbed my cup and tea bag before  visiting  the loo
It’s such a treat to be able to flush a toilet.
I drank my tea  whilst chatting to Happy feet and Optimist. I was telling her about loosing my stakes  and that I really  needed to buy a pole repair sleeve just in case.
I began to slowly pack away my tent as it was forecast to rain and I wanted a dry tent,
As I dragged my pack out of my tent , my missing tent stakes fell out onto  the  grass .
I looked at happy feet and she looked at me, WTF I said I have just brought new ones.
I have been with stakes , for almost a week and  just as i brought new ones  they appear I emptied my pack out at the chapel In hot springs and they were not there then Oh well I now have spares.
At that moment Danimal appeared ,
“Jess is  here”,  he  announced
So i went  to find her and say hi and  tell her that my tent stakes  had  miraculously appeared which made her laugh
I gave her back the two that I had borrowed.
It was  really sunny as I finished packing then i carried it  to the  porch and joined Jess for a couple of breakfast beers . SAS we enjoyed our beer Big Mike  appeared and gave me  half of his  ham Sandwich that was huge.
There was a shuttle going to town for breakfast. but I was going to go in on the next one around lunch time, grab a  pizza and a few bits from the store.
So continued  chatting to new and old friends until it was shuttle time. Omg about 25 of us squeezed into the bus.(wouldn’t happen in the UK) and headed to town.
We were dropped us at the store. and  quickly went shopping ,  I got most of what I needed then crossed the road to the other store to finish off
I wasn’t really hungry so sat on a bench and  decanted my food in to Ziploc bags whilst munching on a bag of grapes. Several other hikers joined me as we waited for the bus to return.
Once back I quickly phoned AT&T to renew my phone contract. good  that’s sorted
I weighed my pack and was pleased that it  was now 40 LB, although that’s without the  food that I had just brought or the  2 liters of water.
But I was happy as  I stuffed all the extra stuff into my pack. I then peeled an orange to pack out( didn’t want to carry the peel ) . One last check  before saying my good-byes.
As I hoisted my pack there were several very large claps of thunder, but  i am still going.
As I headed towards the bridge, It began to drizzle with but  I didnt care  Yet !

My back groaned under the weight of my pack as I found my stride, I crossed the bridge then followed the railway track  for  a while before crossing over it and up.
I knew I had some big climbs as it  had been a long decent into town.

I climbed a bit I came down I climbed a bit then I came down I climbed some more than did some sketchy rock climbing  that with l a full pack was no fun. I was then  in the forest , still climbing but gentle. I was then followed the river  crossing  over it  about 5 times using very sturdy bridges.
the sun now decided to come out which was nice to see until  I  started a mega climb, with the sun I was soon roasting. Omg it was hot ……
it was steep and seemed  never bloody ending, up and up and up some more until at last  it began to level out. It was 5 pm when I cruised into the next shelter.
There were 5 other hikers here and several tents were up. I signed the shelter register then sat for a moment to recover after that climb.
It was 5 pm,  I pondered and pondered some more. I  then hoisted my pack and said I am going on as I wanted another 4 miles ….
I can do that I thought and off I went ..Typically the next part of the trail was rubbish , strewn with rocks and  roots so I was more  stumbling  than hiking .  This type of surface really hurts my feet Arrhhh I shouted at myself. Eventually it became normal allowing me  to speed up, well until a snake shot out in front of me.
That stopped me dead as i reached for my camera  to video it  until it slithered off.

OKay snail  back to the target , i pounded down the trail  going  up  going down   until i caught a hiker named Maps who was standing pondering  if  she should pitch her tent here . There were several spots but she was concerned about Wind!!.
I left her to it as I was heading on, as the next hour passed I began to look for suitable places…… Then at last. that will do me.. and  with several suitable trees to hang  my food  bag. It must be my lucky day, perfect.
Amazingly  I threw my line over the tree and  on the first go,So that put a smile on my face. I walked back  and soon had  my tent up and my bed inflated
I put on a brew  then  began to cook supper  it was a lovely  spot  and   nice  to relax in the late sun . When I was  done I hung my bag before heading back  to my tent and bed

As I had started late  I was pleased with my 8 miles

please note my videos are on Facebook I will add more photos later

Start 343.7
Finish 351
mileage 8 miles
Remaining 1839 Miles

Day 29 Heading To Erwin and Uncle Johnie’s mile 343

As I was so impressed with my mileage yesterday I thought I would enjoy the luxury of lie in. I slept so well so lay dozing as the sun began to shine on my tent.
Aa 8 I got up went to visit the privy,  basically a toilet sat in the woods.
After I lowered my food bag, I scuttled back to my tent where I made tea and Instant oats for breakfast .
I stripped my tent and was packed but decided that I would have another cuppa then i would be ready .I hoisted my pack and walked back to the shelter,said my good-byes I visited  the stream to get water , whilst here I decided  to wash my socks.
I then tied them to my pack and returned to the trail.
The trail started gentle but then wasnt long until   the climbing began  and of course it was steep , and so I was soon  sweating like a pig and puffing like a train, OMG it was steep then once i was up it  imeaditatley plunged  straight down.  So no views at the top   WTF  was the point of that , I muttered to myself.  This was today’s agenda up and down for no apparent reason. it killed me .
There is an acronym for  this and  its called   “PUDS”  which stands for  “Point;less Up and Downs !!”

I normally I  like to do 4 hours before a break but this was killing me  and  so i  needed to stop .I eventually stopped by a stream , topped up with  water and scoffed a few snacks  before  renewing my  climbing.
At last I came to the shelter,  appartantly  the water here had dried up   and so none available , ” of the guys ran  back down the trail  to get water

There were about a dozen other hikers all flaked out from the climbing and the heat so I joined them. dropped my pack stripped off my soaking top and laid it out on the table then ate lunch before resting
One by one the other Hikers began to peel away. reluctantly I packed up and set off in pursuit.  It was six miles to Town but  i  needed to climb a few more crazy  hills first .
Again some  of these climbs seemed pointless and due to low water I  was trying to drink less. Not so much fun as the temperature began to rise, I slogged up another huge hill willing it to be the last. sadly it wasn’t and i  still had several more.
At last I  began to catch glimpses of Erwin or rather the river and railway. I stopped and watched a train crossing before continuing. It was 1 1/2  miles to go and it was down. all the way . As i decended  the  river began to grow louder and  theni was standing on a road  I fancied  staying at  a motel, but in front of me stood “uncle Johnnies  hostel.

Uncle Jonnys


When I walked up, i could see many familiar faces and a beer was thrust into my hand . which i promptly  drained, I equire about bunks  but  theywere all taken and camping was  $17 inc shower.  I paid my money ,then brought 6 new shimmy tent stakes.
I found myself a  spot and put up my tent, then i wemt to checkout the hiker boxes.

NB THIS is where hikers ditch their excess food, kit and other stuff.

Uncle Johnnys 2

I was lucky a big batch of meals. so I added them to my food bag.I then went and joined the other smelly hikers on the veranda.
Hikers have a thing about beer and so as soon as they get to town everyone grabs  a 20 pack of beer.

But  normally are unable to  drink t all  and so it gets left in the fridge  for  other hikers so free beer ..Why thank you girls and boys

Earlier a group of hikers had taken the shuttle  to walmart but as I was still finding my feet I didn’t go.  But now i was hungry , one of  the ladies  then  offers to take me and Robin hood to get. burger and shake.
She drops us off then says  get  me a shake  then shes  is off to  get the guys from walmart .
I ordered 2 X fries and 2 X double bacon and cheese burger and banana shake.
OMG It was the best banana milk shake I had in ages, and the fries and burger  also tasted  so good . I struggled to eat as it was massive.
Once back at the Hostel ,I jumped in the shower , then when i was clean washed my stinky stuff  before i returning to the  veranda.
There was great  wifi  here  so was able  to upload and post my videos, which was a relief as I don’t like them  all saved on my phone…..Just in case!!!

I chatted to old and new friends, toasted a friend’s father for sending him some good bourbon. toasted my late brother. drank a few more beers then bed
I did 16 miles today and it’s tough  so night all

Start 327
Finish 343.7
mileage 16.7 miles
Remaining 1847 Miles

Day 28 Heading to Bald Mountain Shelter Mile 327

I was awoken by the red glow of someone getting up
“Shelter etiquette”  if it’s dark you put on your red light so you do not blind people, But  that  red glow was  still bright
I dozed until 5.30 then decided that I too would get up. I put on my shoes visited the loo, grabbed water then let down my food bag. I was pack and  on the trail by 6.45
It was chilly, but I would soon warm up as stomped off down the trail. I  had  dreaded my first climb , but to my amazement it was not that big and I was soon at  the top  and  in  a lush meadow. The  trail was level and a joy to walk  along   that  made me annoyed that I didn’t carry on last night.
AS  the  trail  was so “perfect  it wasnt  long until I arrived at the next shelter and was surprised  to see  that  Tentless was just leaving.
” If I had known that the trail was going to be this good I would have gone on last night  ” I said
I stopped to  grab water , before setting  off after him, but as he’s got long legs and fast I  doubt  if  I would catch him
As I  pounded down  the trail,  I caught sight of bears  backside  as he crashed down through the bushes. i  was pleased with my first  sighting  but  i want  to see  more.
I pushed on in until I needed to take a break I scoffed a packet of peanuts and some skittles.
Next I had a big climb,  which  would be  endless and steep. Thankfully most of it was in the shade, a little way up there was a beautiful waterfall so I paused for breath and a few photos before continuing on and up. eventually I  emerged out into a lovely meadow but still the trail  still continued to climb.
Why is the AT so so steep ?  i asked myself  and  the answer was because it  is
I climbed for most of the morning and into the afternoon until at last the trail began to spiral down through a cool forest. I pushed on until  i  arrived at a sign  pointing out the way to  the next shelter.
I decided  to  haed  to  the shelter  take  lunch  and  get  water  as i  ade my  way down the blue  blazed trail  i ran into Tentless  and Red stripe  who  once againwere just  leaving ,
“I  may  catch  you later and Stay safe”  I said and continued on  down the trail
I arrived at the shelter  at   2pm  , and  had  completed 16miles   which i was very pleased with.
At the shelter, was Tripod and 2 other hikers.
“Where is the water| I asked.
“Its miles away and shitty” was the reply.
But I needed water so set off with my bottle bladder and cup.  It was indeed  a long walk and no, it wasn’t good water but I needed it. 10 minutes later, I was on my way back.
I made a brew  and ate a late lunch. I was just packing up when it began to rain so quickly  packed up  my  things  and  put  my  pack  cover on and rain jacket then i was ready.
I hoisted my pack and set off, the next shelter was 10 miles away, could I do that ?
THe trail was soon climbing once more  and  so it wasn’t long before I was overheating so had to stop to remove my coat.
For the next 5 miles the trail was a gentle roller coaster then as I was  decending  once more I spied Tentless and his new companion. I waved and carried on. but as soon as I had passed them the trail became a  nightmare   it was muddy  and very slipperyinued up for the next 5 miles. and it was muddy and slippery.
I pushed on through but was beginning to tire. so  stopped to check my map, But  wished I hadn’t as the shelter was still miles away. I  put on my headphones, turned-up the volume and pushed on struggling  with this mud.
Another hiker appeared  “not far snail” he said as be passed by.
But it was!!,  If I had enough  water I would of stopped  but  i hadnt as i climbed up another hill . I emerged on a hilltop with amazing views all around.  wow  the views were stunning , but i was tired and  needed to  get  to  my  target  so reluvtanly  pushed om  and  back to more climbing.
I continued for another hour until  I saw a hiked on the opposite hill.
“Fuck Noway ” I said to myself.
I quickened my pace but I was knackered, as I charged across the meadow as the other Hiker disappeared from view.
“It’s just too far” I said to myself. taking a huge slurp of lemonade.
I pushed on  and  began to slowly crawl up the hill following the blazes across another meadow,then another before  at  last  i was begining to decend,
Arrhh   but the decent was   slippery mud , and  i  had to grasp hols of tree branches  to  stop  myself from falling   over. It was scary.
I was so so pleased , when  a sign  to the shelter appeared, and  made myway down  the  trail. There were  about a dozen people sat around the fire. and several  more in the shelter .
I said my hellos , then went to find a tent spot.
I quickly put up my tent before grabing  my food and stove  and walking back towards the shelter .I put  on a brew ,then  made supper. hung my food .made hot chocolate then went to bed

mileage today 27 miles whoop

Start 300
Finish 284.4
mileage 27 miles
Remaining 1906 Miles

Day 27 300 Miles!!Heading to Jerry Cabin Shelter

I slept well apart from getting up 3 times to take a wee.
I woke at 6am, went to use the privy then dropped the suspended bags on the way back.I left  Jess’ s and Dan’s bags by their tents then I put on my stove, then striped down my tent. I put my gear away and was ready to go.
I sat  and  enjoyed my tea  before clipping my mug back onto my pack , i then hoisted my pack then set off out of camp.
It was glorious morning although  rain was due later so I wanted to crush miles early.
I had my ear buds in hoping that  may help with my milage. I had a great start  then the climbs  began
I wanted to hike until 11.30 before taking a  break and I was on target. i leap-frogged several hikers for most of the day. until my watch imformed me that my  time was up.
I really  needed that break. I  took 15  minutes  before returning to the trail.
if was only moments before I reached the next shelter. I spoke to several other hikers. then i moved on

it was a 2 mile climb that was steep. so so steep I chugged up it took me 40 mins to reach the top ,and another 5 mins  for me to get my breath back.
I pushed on,  the trail  becoming very  rockcy , and  so I couldn’t get any pace and the rock was awful . But it what it is     and  so  i  just  hobbled on until i came toa signpost
there were several options , I decided to take the scenic route. It was so beautiful with amzing views but the slabs were  so hard on my feet  and it wasnt long until i  was getting  fed  up and just wanted to get  down and off of this rock . At last I began to desend   but  it wasnt easy  as i  had to shuffle a little  on my  bum    to  reach  the next  rock

As I dragged myself up the next hill, Jess appeared so we walked together to the next shelter and  there in front of the shelter   was  the  300 mile marker . Whoop
I was going on , but  yes  convinced me to stay  and so i wandere off to get  water.
once back at the shelter i puton a brew and  got  my  pad set  up in the shelter.
I decided to  sit in the sun  as it was so lovely but then the bugs began to drive me  mad   so  headed  back inside.
As  i sat  chatting to jess a stream of  hikers  began to pass by, some  got  water then went to find a tent spot  other  whhere attempting to get to the next shelter
I joined several other hikers  and  cooked my supper before  turning in.
It had been a good day  and  i  was pleased to have reached  the  300 mile marker

Start 284..4
Finish 300
mileage 15.6 miles
Remaining 1891 Miles