Day 13: Mail-Drops and Hitched Rides

Day #13

Franklin, North Carolina –> Siler Bald Shelter

4.2 miles

114 Total AT miles

We wake to an all-you-can-eat breakfast and gorge till our stomachs can hold no more. The breakfast is much the same as in the last hotel. Perfect! I eat plate after plate of Sausage, eggs, grits, biscuits with sausage grave, and blueberry waffles. A taste of heaven.

We figure out our food situation and mail ourselves enough food to get through the Smokey Mountains. In a few days, we’ll be in Fontana Dam where food is expensive. It is a very small place with no grocery stores, only a general store and a lodge. I mail myself two medium-sized flat-rate boxes overflowing with 20+lbs of food. We must carry enough for 6-8 days.

The woman who rode us to the post office waited. We found her 20mins later still in the parking lot to shuttle us further up the road. She could not take us the entire way due to a family obligation though she would have been glad to. The people of the south are super friendly.

A truck stops within a few minutes and rides us to the trail head. We take our time walking the four miles to the shelter. I sleep inside this one, my first time on the trail. I don’t think I will again; too noisy.

Breakfast at the hotel’s AYCE buffet. Breakfast of champions! I ate so many plates of food.
They even had cereal!
Packs exploded in our room. Takes a while to get everything cleaned up so we can head out for the day.
Mr. Kool-Aid, Canuck, and myself, Kodak, hitching a ride to the post office.
Canuck and Mr. Kool-Aid mailing their food to Fontana Dam.
My boxes of food. 20+lbs.
Canucks hammock was sent to the wrong city. They are going to forward it on to Fontana Dam.
Oh Yeah!!! What up Mr. Kool-Aid.
The woman who drove us to the post office waited for us and dropped us closer to the trail.
It did not take long before a truck drove us the rest of the way. Thanks dude. Sorry that I forgot your name.
A butterfly at the trail head.
Trail magic that was only trash when we found it.
It snowed in the night. We are feeling grateful to have spent the night indoors.
We have a fire at the Siler Bald Shelter. It was another cold night.
Mr. Kool-Aid started calling me “Princess Leia.” Thank God it didn’t stick…
Food safely hung from mice. The bottles prevent mice from climbing down the line to chew a hole through your bag.
A fire in the light of the full moon and the afterglow of the sun. What a beautiful night.


Day 12: Zero Day #2

Day #12

Franklin, North Carolina

Zero Day

109.8 Total AT miles

We wake in the grass alongside the highway to the sound of a car entering the parking lot: day hikers. Some of our group rallies and begins breaking camp. Not me. I stay in the warmth of my sleeping bag for as long as I can. I turn over, unzip my tent, and brew a cup of coffee. I’m carrying a GSI Java Drip and a pound of coffee. Everyone has their vice, right?!

Hitch-hiking is SO easy right now and it is not long before we have a ride to the front door of our hotel. Cool Dad booked us a night from somewhere on the trail. So crazy that we have cell service out there.

We are too early to check-in but the woman hooks us up. She lets us eat breakfast! We walk into the dining room to find the rest of our trail family finishing their feast. They pushed hard through the night for some sleep in a bed.

Towns are cool. They’re are a lot of work though. After breakfast it’s time for chores. I shower and get my dirty clothes together. Savage does laundry. We go shopping for our next stretch of food plus a mail drop to Fontana Dam. I mail myself 20lbs of food in two medium-sized flat rate boxes. The food barely fits and my boxes are “lookin a little wonky,” as one of the shuttle drivers would say.

Canucks hammock didn’t arrive. The post office sent it to the wrong town, Charlottesville. He’ll have to wait until Fontana Dam. Bummer dude. That tent your carrying is heavy and I know how much miss sleeping above the ground.

We walk to Walmart for more supplies. I need bear cord and alcohol for my stove. My bear line just wasn’t long enough. 550 paracord will work for now. I’ll replace it when I find some climbing accessory cord.

The pizza place’s shuttle, the cook driving the bosses car, picks us up at Walmart and drops us off with the rest of the family for a huge pizza dinner. Afterword, we head back to the hotel.

The hotel gets little crazy. People are piercing blisters with needles while others whittle away at packs that have exploded across the room. Dice are tossed on beds and  bills change hands. What a day. What a night.

It is so nice making coffee in the vestibule of my tent all cozy in my sleeping bag. What a good start to the day.
Mr. Kool-Aid packing up while Cool Dad and Savage attempt to hitch into town.
Savage hoping for a ride.
Stop! Hey! Over here!
Mr. Kool-Aid and Canuck in the back of a pickuptruck hitching back to the trailhead.
Cool Dad taking a photo for me inside the cab of the tuck. Thanks for the ride dude!
There was space inside, they just wanted to be cool. It is pretty fun.
Shaggy, Moonboots, Bambi, and Savage at the AYCE breakfast of the hotel. We just walked in to see these guys already sitting there. They pushed hard through the night.
My foot after a few days in the woods.
Not too grimy…
Mr. Kool-Aid threading a blister on his foot. Keeping the thread in for the night allows the blister to drain.
Canuck, Cool-Dad, and me walk to walmart for supplies.
Bradford pears in flower along the highway on our walk to Walmart.
Minor barrier: a barbed wire fence stands in our way of stove fuel and bear cord.
Walmart! I haven’t seen one of you in like, two weeks!
Group dinner in the pizza bar. Can’t remember the name, but they shuttle hikers from anywhere in town. Smart move cause we eat a LOT of food.
A lamp on the bar of the pizza place in Franklin.
Shaggy with the pizza man.
Beer goes great after a long days hike.
Hitching back to the hotel with this amazing family. The others jumper in the shuttle.


Bambi piercing a blister on his big toe. Look at all that blister juice!
Cool Dad and Mr. Kool-Aid shooting dice on the bed for dollars.
Mr. Kool-Aid hooked me up with this bag of candy. Thanks dude!
Savage asleep with a death grip on her glasses.