Ice-covered trees in the Smokies
It feels like a long time since we've been able to update, but we have been moving right along! We left Georgia, spent a few days in North Carolina, then entered Great Smoky Mountain National Park, where we followed the state line between North Carolina and Tennessee. We left the park and have been continuing on our way. I'm updating from Hot Springs, NC, where they have famous mineral baths.
We've seen quite a bit of wildlife since the last posting, including a bear cub, a lynx, a rafter of wild turkeys (because that is apparently the term for a group of turkeys?), a few snakes, and many birds, squirrels, salamanders, snakes, snails and more.
Some highlights from the past few weeks include summitting Clingman's Dome, the highest point on the AT, climbing multiple fire towers and observatories for amazing views, finding some much-appreciated trail magic, meeting new thru-hikers, stumbling upon a Mini-Cooper convention and a classic BMW car show, staying at the Fontana Hilton (a shelter by Fontana Dam with an actual hot shower and phone charging station!!! The height of luxury!), walking over and learning about the Fontana Dam (The largest hydroelectric dam east of the Mississippi, built in 1942 as part of the war effort), surviving the Smokies without a bear attack (hint: string up your food and don't wear scented lotions), and getting to try the above-mentioned mineral baths.
We're both in good spirits and enjoying the trail. Some days have been long (highest mileage so far has been 20 miles) and rainy and humid and some uphills have been hard to muster enthusiasm for, but it has been so rewarding. Some days the hiking feels like a privilege and others a chore, but it has been an incredible journey so far, both on- and off-trail. We'll be spending some more time in North Carolina and Tennessee over the next few weeks, and then on to Virginia.
Hopefully in the next few weeks, we'll be setting up a youtube channel to share some videos with you. We love you and miss you!
Brittany (still on the hunt for a trail name)