End just north of The Jump-up, 4.7 miles
Left the luxury of the NOC behind and began our journey up and out. What a hike up it was...crossed several rockslide areas today, which are quite challenging. The black flies are swarming and driving us nuts as well, we have permethrined our clothes and are using deet on our skin to keep them at bay. we were beat when we got to The Jump-off but had to keep climbing up Swin Bald to find a flat spot to set up our tent. We called it quits at the first 6ft square flat area we came to.
Trail Magic colored Easter Eggs as we were getting on the trail at NOC Easter morning!!
Memorial along AT honoring fallen forest ranger
Day 37, Mon 21 Apr, 147.6 miles
Start just orth of the jump-off
End Locust Cove Gap, 5.6 miles
Full day of hiking, up and over Swim Bald and Cheoah Bald. Mom fell off Cheoah Bald on our way fown. She tried to walk down a section she should have crawled down. She only rolled 5 ft down the mountain until a rhododendron tree stopped her. She is fine, no serious injuries, just a scrape on her right arm and a bruised pride. We continued hiking and stopped at Locust Cove Gap. Our feet are getting better. I am trying to get us on a schedule of hike 3 hrs, rest 2, hike 3 more. We did this today and it worked great and our feet weren't killing us at the end of the day.
Mom after falling off Cheoh Bald
Day 38, Tues 22 Apr,
Start Locust Cove Gap
End Base of Jacob's Ladder
Hitchhiked into Robbinsville, NC to get food to mail to ourselves at Fontana Lodge for our trip through the Smokies
Day 39, Wed 23 Apr
Start Base of Jacob's Ladder
End Yellow Creek County Rd
Climbed up Jacob's Ladder today, absolutely sucked, it was like climbing a ladder for 0.6 mile.
Looking up Jacob's Ladder
Hendo trudging up Jacob's Ladder
We stopped at Yellow Creek Rd and camped for the night along someone's access road/driveway. Mom was worried about getting arrested for trespassing, I told her if we got arrested at least we would get a bed to sleep in, hot meal and a shower in jail. No one said anything about us camping.
Saw Fontana Lake for the first time today, looking forward to a zero day and seeing colleen at Fontana.
Fontana Lake off in the distance!!!!
Day 40, Thurs 24 Apr
Start Yellow Creek County Rd
End Fontana 28 crossing/Fontana Dam
We made it to Fontana, NC and my friend Colleen has come to visit us for the next day and a half, yay, it is so good to see someone from home!!! Met Rocky who is using 2 cars to shuttle himself between sections so he can slack-pack. Rocky said the Smokies will be nicer because the trail is graded for pack animals, so the climbs are more gradual. Met Tumbles at Fontana laundry room. Tumbles is from Idaho and owns pack animals, he stated as well that the trail through the Smokies is graded for pack animals and will have grades of only 10%, not the extreme grades like we have been climbing in GA and NC. We hope they are right, the up and downhills are a big cause of our ankle and foot pain.
Day 41, Fri 25 Apr
Today Colleen chauffered us around in her yellow Ram Pick-up truck and earned the status of Trail Angel and trail name of Buttercup!! We also ran into Tumbles and his friend Skittles today. They ended up hanging out with us all day and spending the night on the floor of our cabin.
Hendo and Tumbles soaking their feet in the bathtub in hot water with epsom salts