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.
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.