Around Valentine’s Day Merril, Curtis, Bree (my roommate), and I went to the Banff Mountain Film Festival at USU. One of the short adventure films was called Sufferfest – 2.
Merril and I often call this adventure a “Sufferfest”!
You know when you go to the zoo and walk through that jungle room with the exotic birds/lizards… It’s humid and green… that’s the closest thing I can relate to being on the Appalachian Trial. The days are long, hard, and humid but also fulfilling.
The Smokys were amazing and beautiful! While in the national park you are required to stay in the designated shelters. Outside of the national park you may camp wherever along the trial. From Georgia to Maine these shelters are found almost every 8-15 miles along most of the Appalachian Trial. Many of them look like this one.
These shelters are also notorious for mice and bugs but they keep you dry in the rain. I’ve found that I actually like hiking from shelter to shelter. Merril and I have only set up our tent/hammock gear one night so far.
We hope to camp more in the coming weeks….
Most of the shelters have bear cables already thrown up so you can hang your food bag. Our first night of camping required us to throw our own bear bag. This was more difficult than originally thought, but we got it!
Yesterday we woke up at 4:45 and began hiking by 5:45 to avoid the heat. We have found that the mid-day humidity and heat kills us. We were able to hike 15 miles, the furthest we’ve hiked in one day yet. Most of those miles were done before noon. We plan to do much of our hiking in the early morning hours from now on.
Towards the end of that 15 mile day both merril and I were so ready for rest.
We rolled into a small town called Hot Springs, NC this morning. We will be spending the rest of today and tomorrow here and let our muscles rest. In hiker lingo these are called ‘zero days’.
Another huge part of Appalachian Trail culture is receiving a trail name. On the AT everyone goes by a trail name instead of there real name. Merril received his trail name in the Smoky Mountains when someone in the shelter noticed his huge feet. So, Merril is now known as Bigfoot. I was given the trail name of Utah, because I shared some of my southern Utah hiking experiences and the group at the shelter thought it was neat.
We ate some great food today and are really enjoying our zero day!
We have hiked 75 miles for our first week! Many more to come!