What a week.
I was without phone signal for most of the last week, so there's a lot to catch you up on.
It's May 2nd and I have been on the trail for over a month and I still love the life of an AT Hiker.
After returning to the trail at Newfound Gap and a decent day of hiking, I faced two days of heavy rain and more. The shower of the night before turned into a pretty intense lightning storm with hail and high winds. Those that left early got hammered with golf ball sized hail. I and most of the rest at the shelter delayed our start. It was the second day when I got caught with dime sized hail.
It took one more day of hiking to finally leave the Smokies...finally!. Now I can camp anywhere instead of only at a designated shelter.
During this week I have seen a Perigrine Falcon and he let me video him for couple of minutes before taking his leave of this hiker. It was a special moment.
Climbing is getting a little easier very slowly, but I do feel some improvement. I definitely have a better handle on my hiking pace and style. I am still out here moving northward and that's what counts. As a matter of fact, I had to give the same advice to a fellow 50-something last night.
I topped Snowbird Mtn a couple of days ago and lunched next to an FAA beacon tower. The next day I was on Max Patch Bald - a beautiful view forever in all directions.
I did my first 15 mile day trying to get to a place where I could meet Susan, but phone connections weren't possible until it was too late. I wish I could have a town stop and a weekend coincide before I get out of reach further north.
Most of my original group have finally caught up with me here in Hot Springs. I am taking the day to do chores, pick up my mail drop, and eat: I've had breakfast, lunch, mid-afternoon sandwich and finished with dinner. I shared experiences and wild tales with the other new trail friends over some pretty good local porter. Batteries are charged, laundry done, I am showered and ready to get back on the trail in the morning. I am now supplied for 5 more days till the next town: Erwin, Tenn.
Feeling good - hiking my own hike!