An Appalachian Trail Series – North Carolina/Tennessee, Part One

Part one in this two-part post covers the Appalachian Trail from the Georgia/North Carolina border north to Hot Springs, NC:

195.4 miles

  •   384.7 miles total in NC/TN

18 Days from the GA/NC border to Hot Springs, NC

  •   38 total days spent in NC/TN

Highest elevation: Clingman’s Dome – 6,643 feet

IMG_2283

With nearly 200 miles of trail that weaves on or close to the NC/TN border, I’ve decided to combine the two states into two shared posts. When you are hiking this section, it can be hard to distinguish what state you are in – distinguishing the two while writing about them is just as hard. Thus, you’ll get to read about the awesomeness that is North Carolina and Tennessee in TWO WHOLE POSTS.

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An Introduction to the Appalachian Trail Series

“Springer Fever” – a serious, but not fatal, affliction experienced by many hikers that provokes an overwhelming urge to be (back) on the Appalachian Trail – is upon us!

While the term is generally used to describe the few months leading up to the hike’s start date (similar to “It’s-Freaking-Cold-Outside-and-I-Wish-Winter-Would-Be-Over-With-Already Fever”), “Springer Fever” is a year-round sentiment felt by many hikers whenever time is NOT spent in the woods. Nevertheless, I know for a fact that those planning an upcoming hike on the Appalachian Trail are spending much of their free time Googling things like:

                                                                   “Hammock camping vs. tent camping”

                                    “What should my base weight be?”

                                                                                   “Did Bill Bryson hike the entire Appalachian Trail?”

                     “What are my odds of getting eaten by a black bear?”

                                                                                                              “How do I effectively shit in the woods?” Continue reading

Bull Testicles

Warning: Viewer Discretion is Advised

It’s an end of an era.

Our cars are no longer strutting their stuff with Michigan plates.

We’ve had our Colorado driver’s licence for a couple of months now but we’ve hesitated to switch our car license plates until a few days ago. Partly because we’ve had other things occupying our time (read: testing out Denver’s infamous craft beer scene) and partly because Colorado enjoys annoying new residents with jumping through hoops to get your car plated (read: your car has to pass emissions testing).

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Clinging to Rocks on Evans

Of all the differences between people in this world, there are a few things I think we can all agree on:

1) Election season is the absolute WORST. This fact is absolute. There is real danger in being crushed by a TV thrown out the window after hearing for the billionth time how “so-and-so” is a racist and hates babies.

2) Sample day at the grocery store makes you as giddy as a five-year-old in a toy store. Especially when there are samples of booze. Yes, this does exist!

3) A running basset hound may very well be God’s gift to earth:

But perhaps most universal is how frustrating it can be to hear your alarm go off at 5:30 AM. It’s as frustrating as the Detroit Tiger’s during playoff season. It takes every ounce of my being to peel off the comforter, force my sleepy body upright, and swing my feet onto the cold hardwood floors.  Even more frustrating, however, is how jovial Rob can be with very little sleep. It honestly makes me want to karate chop him right in the throat. So far I have managed to resist. So far. He claims it’s because of his baby face. I’ll let you be the judge of that: Continue reading

Pikes Peak, Sexy Legs, and Heart Attacks… Oh My!

The Garden of the Gods are in the foreground framing Pike's Peak in the background.

Pike’s Peak in the Distance

After hiking through the peaceful and serene Garden of the Gods, we decided that we wanted to take on a more challenging, more Coloradan-type feat. We wanted to take on a 14’er (slang for a 14,000+ foot mountain). With the behemoth Pikes Peak looming in the background all day, we agreed that we would make this mountain our bitch (and our first 14’er). That is, if it didn’t take US out first. Continue reading

An Update from the Mile-High City

As I am sitting in our new apartment, while Rob is at work, I’m thinking about how much I love our new city and trailed off to “Huh, I haven’t updated too many people on what it is we are actually doing.”

Yes, we’ve finally committed. Not to a mental institution, though that may have seriously been the first thought on some of your minds, but instead to a place to settle down for a little while. While home in Michigan, our response to where we were heading after the Colorado Trail varied from one day to the next: Continue reading

The Spirit of Adventure and the Art of Balance

A long, long time ago, Rob and I took our first steps on the Appalachian Trail and felt a combination of two feelings:

“This is so freaking exciting”

and

“Oh shit, what the hell did we get ourselves into?!”

We later understood that the combination of those two feelings would accompany us down the road of one of the best, most fulfilling adventures of our lives.

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