Well it’s 7:30 in the morning, I’m just grabbing some coffee and doughnuts and hitting the trail. Gatlinburg has been a very interesting place to stay. It’s like a mini Vegas. 3D movie theaters and a Ripley’s Believe it or not Museum. Plus 1000 little shops. It’s kind of crazy.
A bunch of the hikers and I went out for food and drinks last night. It was really fun. This guy from Ireland was a blast, we danced a couple of songs and I had to insist time after time that having another drink when I have to get up at 7 to go hiking just wasn’t something I was interested in. Some of these hikers can really put them down. We’ll see how they do on the trail today.
Like I said before, it’s been going really well. I spend a lot of my time on the trail thinking very happy thoughts and writing haikus. Here’s a few of them:
Ode to Montana-For teaching me to layer-And to mind the bear
Ode to Glacier Park-For making me a hiker- Strong legs and thick skin
Ode to my homeland-For teaching me what bugs are-This shit is nothing
Ode to my fine feet – You little guys impress me – My apologies
Ode to my Jesse-For knowing I’m a nutcase-And loving me still
Ode to my fam’ly-For never ending support-And pep talk phone calls
Those are the kinds of things I think of when I hike. I also think a lot about numbers, since I’m kind of a numbers person. I make weekly goals, monthly goals, 3 day goals, and hourly goals. It really keeps my mind occupied.
There are some really amazing people out here. Some of the ones I’ve been seeing a lot are starting to feel like close friends. Especially Shenanigans (a man from Scotland), Bam and Maximus (two young guys from Texas), John (a man from Buffalo, NY, who had his kayak stolen in Brainerd, MN of all places. So he teases me about my hometown an aweful lot), Gator (A south bound hiker finishing the end of his hike going north), and Tide Walker (a really sweet young woman from Alabama). I don’t know if I’ll be around them the whole time, but I’ve really enjoyed seeing them all the last couple of weeks.
There are record breakers out there hiking as well. A man called Nature Boy trying to break the speed record going 40 miles a day, an 88 year old man going for the age record, and a guy who only has 8% vision. Which is unbelievable, because the trail is rocky and steep. There are often roots and rocks sticking out all over the place. The grade is so stupid steep, that sometimes there are stairs, and sometimes the steps are three feet apart. It’s hard enough with great vision. So I’m impressed. There are also some youngins on the trail. Goldilocks (age 15) and Forrest (age 13), they’re hiking with an older man who’s a good friend of the family. They’re great too, so positive and happy about all the little things.
My favorite day was day 4. When Kat and I realized around mile 15 or so, that if we hiked 5 more miles, we could make it to a cute little German town. That perked us right up, and we pulled a 20 mile day to arrive at a cheap hotel and go out for burgers, a veggie burger in my case, and German beer. I’m a sucker for German towns, with the cute buildings, the Bavarian cream doughnuts, and the tuba music blasting down town. Don’t know why, but I adore it! And a really nice guy recognized us as through hikers as soon as we limped into the bar and bought us our drinks. He had just hiked the whole trail himself, so his enthusiasm and advice was very encouraging.
Having Jess and Luke hike was awesome! Jess has such a high spirit for hiking and being outside. There were lots of laughs, especially remembering some of the things she did when she was younger. I recalled a joke she told me once, “What’s the difference between a girl from Upsala and a cow?” “Two hundred pounds and a mustache!” She didn’t remember telling that one 14 years ago, but was glad I did.
So, I guess that’s enough info for now, sorry to give everyone a small novel to read. But life is good. I miss Jesse, but we’ve been able to keep in touch pretty well. I feel behind on talking to everyone else though. Which makes me feel like a bit of a jerk. Hopefully, I’ll get caught up soon.
Guess it’s time to go hiking.