Thursday, April 23, 2009

Franklin, NC and 100 mi mark


Hi all,
I'm in Franklin, NC at the famous Haven Budget Inn. I was hoping to stay at the hostel next door ran by Miss Janet but of course they closed that yesterday. It took Matt from Maine (who is now 'Transition', and I awhile to to get into town. After an hour of failed hitching attempts we called Ron Haven from the Inn and he sent someone after us. The last few days of hiking have been perfect. Pretty easy except for a couple of 5000 + ft. climbs over Standing Indian Mtn and Albert Mtn Great views from the top though. Tuesday night was very cold, probably in the 20's with a strong wind. It was slow going the next morning. I've started hearing a lot more turkey calling and I flushed a grouse the other day. Today I heard about a dozen grouse 'drumming'. We past a sign yesterday warning us that there is a bear in the area stealing food bags that shows no fear of humans. Donny was carrying firecrackers so we felt pretty safe, ha! I'm sad to say it but Donny left us today. He met someone going to Asheville and said that he heard it was a cool town so once we got to the road crossing he was gone. He wasn't planning to go the whole way anyway. I hit the 100 mile mark today! Hard to believe I've gone that far already and only 2000 more to go. I plan to be in Fontana Dam by Monday or Tuesday. Not sure about internet though. Thanks for all of the emails (and poems). They're great! Still no trail name. Take it easy.

Zach

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hiawassee, GA


Hi everyone,
I'm in Hiawassee, GA at the public library taking a 1/2 day to rest up before I get into the NC mountains. The trip has been great so far, only one day of rain. I've met up with two guys, Matt from Maine, and Donnie from Pennsylvania, who I've been hiking with for the past couple of days. Some things I forgot to mention in the last email...there was a lot of bear activity around Neel's Gap, mainly on Blood Mtn. A couple hikers food bags were torn down and basically destroyed. One of the guys said the bear came back to his tent looking for his pack but he was able to yell at it and scare it off. On my second day I heard tell of a strange man who hiked into one of the shelters late at night carrying a 22 rifle, a machete and another big knife. Turns out that a lot of people have ran into him but last I heard was he was seen hitching a ride off the mountain. This guy Kevin who I met at the Walasi-Yi hostel has inherited another hiker's dog, Rooster. The dog apparently left its owner about a week ago and is now following Kevin. Well the owner, who had contd hiking north, showed up at a road crossing 2 days ago to get his dog back. Kevin thought he had gotten rid of this dog who had become a burden to him, but later that day Kevin showed up at our shelter with the dog! I guess, the dog doesn't like his other owner and Kevin is now stuck with Rooster. Other wildlife I've seen has been pretty slim. I see loads of chipmunks on the trail and here a lot of turkey. I met a woman last night who saw a bear and a wild boar on the same trail that I had just hiked...?? Hopefully I'll see some bears in the Smokies. I plan to be in Franklin, NC by Friday and hopefully in the Smokies by Tues or Weds. I'll try to find internet in Franklin so I can send another update. I'm pretty happy with all my gear so far. Staying warm every night in my 40 degree bag and toasty down jacket (thanks to Chuck). So far, the trail has been an emotional roller coaster. Hiking all day can get pretty boring and you have a lot of time to think. The trail has been highlighted by periods of highs and lows. Its always good to get encouragement from everyone following along so thanks to all of you that are following along. I've been pretty rushed when I find internet so if I don't respond to the emails, it doesn't mean that I didn't get them just that its hard to get to all of them. I hope everyone is doing well. I hope to update you soon.

Zach (no trail name yet)

video

Neels Gap


Hi all.
Here in Neels Gap, GA at the Walasi-Yi Center about 30 mi up trail. Making good miles but may slow pace so I don't blow out my knees. Heading to Hiawassee, GA, should be there in a few days. Nothing too crazy has happened yet but I'll keep everyone updated. For you wildlife freaks, I saw one eastern kingsnake today (almost stepped on it). Hope all is well.