November 15, 2017
Today I am coming to you with pictures of the best, most miserable vacation I think I have ever been on. Generally when people say “Hey lets go hike through the Smokies & the AT on fall break” they have pretty good experience backpacking and although that would have been smart, that was not us. Our original plan was about a 22 mile loop that would take three days. Day one would have been about 6 miles to our camp. Day two was going to be the worse day – about 12 miles to our next camp and it would have been mostly all on the Appalachian Trail. We knew day two was going to be rough but we had high hopes. Day three would have been a 6am wake up and hike out of the remainder few miles…in rain. Like most things in life though, things did not go according to plan. Basically traffic coming in was a lot worse than expected so we didn’t even get on the trail until about 4:30 the first day. This late start led us to us running about the last two miles of the day, in the near dark, looking for backcountry sites to put our tent up on because we didn’t know if we would make it to our camp sight. I don’t think I have ever prayed for so many consecutive minutes. But running through the woods with 30lbs packs on, up an incline and being in pain will do that to a girl. Right as we were about to lose all light, we came up on our site. Threw up our tents, made dinner, and then threw up our bear bag all in the dark.
That night was easily the worst sleep I have ever gotten. Don’t get me wrong, it was so cool to be able to look up and see the stars and breathe in the crisp air. However, carrying a heavy pack all day really does a number on your back and chest muscles so coughing every 10 minutes because of your upper respiratory infection makes its pretty painful, still worth it though. We woke up day two, made breakfast and got ready for the trail. We were all pretty sore but once we got going it was pretty good, until it wasn’t. Long story short – we made it about 4.5 miles at a 70-80% grade and multiple stops before deciding we should turn around. There was no way we were going to make it to our camp by dark, storms were coming and at this point, it was no longer enjoyable for anyone. We turned around, make it back to our camp site in a little over an hour, made some lunch then headed out. After filling ourselves up, everyone was quite a bit more enjoyable to be around and we were back to enjoying our “vacation”.
Kinda surprised this superhuman didn’t turn into trailmix with the amount of it she ate
“at this point you could cut my legs off at the hips with a butter knife”
Remember how I said this was the worse nights sleep ever? That was probably dramatic. I was pretty painful and only lasted a collective 3 hours but the entire night I got to listen to the leaves falling and this river flowing which was pretty dang peaceful.
I thought I was giving a genuine smile until I looked back on this picture. I was trying but I think exhaustion won
I did not get ONE blister until we stopped to play in this river and I didn’t let my feet dry… Four blisters later in the last four miles, I learned my lesson.
Some final thoughts looking back on this trip…