Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike, North Carolina to Tennessee

Written by Afterburner. Added on April 15, 2006.

This travelogue was written while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Every once in a while Afterburner had a chance to let us all know about what he had seen and where he was. You might want to start reading from the beginning of the log.

Headed out of Hot Springs after a great down day, saw the Kentucky Boys camped about one half mile outside of town, because of their dogs. Hiked out of the Southern Smokey Mountains National Park and into the Cherokee National Forrest. Very beautiful mountains, most are grass covered tops and everyone had fresh bear scat on them, but never saw a bear. About mid afternoon, ran across some trail magic: Fal & Hercules, previous thru hikers, opened their home for hikers. Menu included stuffed peppers, BBQ beef sandwich on homemade bread, pork stew, baked potatoes, fruit salad, brownie sundae and my favorite, banana split. After eating our full, we all headed out to waddle to the next campsite. When we arrived, we were too full to eat supper, so we made a campfire and then went to bed at “Hikers Midnight,” 9:00 PM.

Next day I continued thru the Cherokee Forrest, which is a game preserve. Saw more evidence of bears and hiked 21.5 miles to the next shelter.

Started out early the next morning, as I was headed to meet a friend of mine who lives in North Carolina on the AT. We met in Korea while we both worked for Pratt & Whitney. Mid-morning I ran into more trail magic, three men from an outfitter store in Ohio were set up on the trail cooking breakfast for everyone who hiked thru. Two of the men were previous thru hikers. After two weeks, they will move to Damasscus for more trail magic and then to Pennsylvania to set up again. They are all from Pennsylvania.

I arrived at my friend Bill’s home at 11:00 AM, and spent the entire day with him and his wife, Joan. They have a huge log cabin home in a gated community near the trail. It is funny, but one side of thier road is in Tennessee and the other side is in North Carolina Bill drove me to Erwin, Tennessee the next morning and after I checked into the hotel, he drove me around town. Along the tour, we picked up Chillout and Outbreak and took them to the hotel. After lunch, I arranged a ride to the Balds to slackpack back to Erwin. Now I know why so many people do this when thet get close to trail towns, it is so much easier to hike without a heavy pack. Will head out tomorrow morning, will arrive in Damasscus in one week, if all goes well. Just heard on the news that a six-year-old girl was killed and two others were mauled by a bear in Northwest corner of the Cherokee National Forrest, which is a ways from here. They are still looking for the bear.

Have hiked a total of 340 miles so far and am starting to get my “hiking legs”—feel better after hiking all day and don’t ache as much.

Until next time, will continue down the trail and keep you informed,

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike