Erwin to Hot Springs

30 May

This week has been an incredibly tough, but rewarding, week. After hiking 26.2 miles last Saturday into Erwin, TN we spent the night at Uncle Johnny’s campground where we had sent our resupply box. We ate a hardy breakfast at Huddle House (including sausage for Bear) and set out on the 68 mile section to Hot Springs, NC. As we have learned over the past 1,900 miles, each town stop ends with an uphill climb back into the mountains. This was no different. With full packs, full bellies and brand new shoes we had shipped ourselves we were struggling. It has become a seemingly impossible task to make ourselves hike more than 10 miles out of town, and Sunday was no different. We got 9.5 miles before finding a beautiful stream to camp by and enjoying some cheddar broccoli pasta for dinner.

Monday we fared better, hiking 17.5 miles including lots of climbing over Little Bald and Big Bald, which included incredible 360 degree views. We even got to enjoy some southbound company in the form of two section hikers, Sarah and Tammy. It has been a little isolating to be the only hikers going our direction and over the next three days we got to enjoy the comradery of leap frogging with other folks and sharing food (mainly them sharing with us beggars thru hikers!). Tuesday we did 14.7 miles from Hogback Ridge Shelter to Jerry Cabin Shelter, including breaks to dry our tent out in the sun after a spontaneous rainstorm soaked everything the night before. Unfortunately, by this time it had become very obvious that Emily’s new shoes were too big and the little “hot spot” that had started Sunday had become a full-blown blister. Morning wound care was soon introduced and became TID (3x a day) by the next day. Huge props to her for not letting it slow her down one bit and continuing to knock out the miles!

Wednesday started off with 5 miles of beautiful cliffs and some more technical terrain over to Camp Creek Bald, before we descended 6.5 miles into Allen Gap. There we enjoyed some sodas from Mom’s Store while chatting with Sarah, Tammy and some bikers touring from Florida to Canada. Then we proceeded to climb the last 7 miles of the day before camping on Rich Mountain and enjoying some dehydrated meals including a ridiculously good chicken, potatoes and dressing with breadcrumbs. Yum!

This morning we got up at 8am (our usual wake up time) and had tea and pastries before knocking out the last 8.2 miles into town. We hadn’t been able to find a dog-friendly place to stay and were getting stressed out about possibly being unable to “zero” tomorrow. Luckily, we walked right into Iron Horse Inn and they welcomed Bear along with us for two nights. Again – the trail provides! Now we are off to nap (and time off our feet for blister healing) before heading out to enjoy some beers by the river and then a long night’s rest!

Here are some photos including some views from Big Bald, our “yard sale” drying method for our gear, and Bear and I cuddling up. Also included is one of Emily’s blister- not for the feint of heart!

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2 Responses to “Erwin to Hot Springs”

  1. khpixler May 30, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    Em, that blister is seriously horrid. WTF!!! Take care of those beautiful feet:))

  2. ann June 8, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    Ouch! But still going on and on.

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