Day #28 – Going Home

After finishing the Smokies and the 240 mile section from Springer Mtn, GA to Standing Bear Farm, TN I’ve decided to head home and call it a “section.” Other than the weather, which was horrible, it was an amazing experience.

Sunrise on the AT

It was the first time I hiked with the “bubble” of thru-hikers going NOBO. In fact, Trail Jesus accused me of being a thru-hiker; I felt like one too. I met so many amazing people and made so many friends.

Hikers around campfire at the Cheese Factory

My initial goal was to get in better physical shape; mission accomplished. I realized it when I hiked up Cheoah Bald in 4 hours. I tried out a new tent; the Durston X-Mid 1P was amazing. There were multiple gear failures; a broken pack, a leaking sleeping pad and some terrible food. The big surprise was learning to have patience and hike slower. Persistence was also found; with the bad weather, it would have been easy to quit so many times. And I found angels, oh so many amazing people who offered assistance and encouragement.

Smoky Bear

I want to say a special thanks to Renegade who generously gave me a ride off trail along with companionship during my final push through the Smokies. And best wishes to Bright Spot and Bluebird; great hiking partners.

Trey, Gary, Puffin, Ahavah & Bright Spot

And again I realize why people hike the trail.

Final Section Stats
Days 28 (3/12/23-4/9/23)
Start - Springer Mtn (0.0)
End - Standing Bear (241.5)
Total section miles: 184.1
Section Avg: 8.0*
Total miles on AT: 1220.0
* Zeros (4) not included

Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.

Charles Dickens

Day #27 – Out of the Smokies

I started out early today and the rain has stopped. But only for a short while; it restarted and rained for most of the 10 1/2 mile hike.

Low Gap (Before the rain)

The views continued to be filled with clouds, and the rain continued all the way to the end of the hike. It felt great to be out of the Smokies and have the national park behind me.

Fog and Clouds

The gem of the day was meeting Chris, who just finished a fastest known time of the Benton MacKaye Trail. He’s a Triple Crowner and he’s the real deal.

AT Thru-Hike Stats
Section Day #27 (4/8/23)
Start - Cosby Knob (231.1)
End - Standing Bear (241.5)
Today's mileage: 10.4
Total section miles: 184.1
Section Avg: 8.0*
Total miles on AT: 1220.0
* Zeros (4) not included

Life’s Tragedy is that we get old to soon and wise too late.

Benjamin Franklin

Day #26 – Drowned Rat

The hike today was a long one in the rain. Including the distance from the shelter to the trail it was 13.4 miles. I was surprised at how quickly the miles went even though the weather was absolutely horrible.

The “Smokies”

I arrived at Cosby Knob Shelter in time to get a spot before the crowds arrived. It was a good thing, because the rain continued on to the next day.

A walk in the clouds…
AT Thru-Hike Stats
Section Day #26 (4/7/23)
Start - Peck’s Corner (218.2)
End - Cosby Knob (231.1)
Today's mileage: 12.9
Total section miles: 173.7
Section Avg: 7.9*
Total miles on AT: 1209.6
* Zeros (4) not included

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.


Day #25 – Into the Smokies

Ate an early breakfast here…

Started out at Newfound Gap after hitchhiking from Cherokee; got a ride quick and easy. The hike was long along the ridge with amazing views. I’m at Peck’s Corner Shelter for the night with rain expected overnight into tomorrow.

Who gets the fish?
Charlie’s Bunion
AT Thru-Hike Stats
Section Day #25 (4/6/23)
Start - Newfound Gap (207.7)
End - Peck’s Corner (218.2)
Today's mileage: 10.5
Total section miles: 160.8
Section Avg: 7.7*
Total miles on AT: 1196.7
* Zeros (4) not included

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It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.


Day #24 – A True Zero

Funny Sign in the Tiny Cabin

Today I forced myself to take a day off trail. I will be heading from the Tiny Cabin in the Woods to Cherokee, North Carolina. Rest, laundry and resupply are on the agenda; perhaps some ice cream and tourist shopping too!

To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.

Abdul Kalam