Dear Herm’s Hikers,
Due to technical difficulties out of my control, this is my first chance to post a blog. Believe me, I may be out of sight, but Herm’s Hikers are never out of mind. Okay, there’s a lot of trail news to catch up on, so let’s go.
Out of Fontana, we had two day of good weather (partly sunny and cool) until the rain and cold hit as we climbed Clingman’s Dome, the highest point on the AT. Slipped and fell in the mind four times on this trek. Being cold and wet (weighs everything down) made ti tough going, but I made it. We spent the night at the Grand Prix hotel in Gatlinburg before heading out again in good weather (sunny and warm). The bears were out in force at Max Patch, a grassy bald just north at Gatlinburg. Two hikers lost thier food bags while hanging from a tree and one hiker had his tent and sleeping pad destroyed. The hiker who lost his tent and pad had come down to the shelter to cook his dinner. When he returned to his tent, it was ripped open and his sleeping pad was fifty yards in the woods, all chewed up, of course. Have no idea what made this tent and pad so attractive to a bear, but beware, never eat in your tent or leave food in your tent when in bear country. By the way, Gatlinburg is a great place to visit with a lot of great tourist attractions. It’s also a family vacation spot for Amish families from the northeast and midwest. A young Amish family gave me a ride down the mountain while I explained the details of thru-hiking. I had a captive audience as I told great tales of sleeping in a tent, eating camp food, and walking mindlessly for miles, day after day. I think they thought of me a kind of a modern day Daniel Boone. If they were not in awe, they were definitely in wonderment.
Pushed some big mileage (18 mile days) to make it to Hot Springs for Trailfest. Made into town around early evening to find out the concert(s) had ended early afternoon and the festival was over by 4 p.m. I guaranteee I will make it to Damascus for Trail Days. Mrs. T (Rainbow Brite) and I will be at a table with the Caroliina/Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. This is the biggest trail fest on the AT, kind of yearly Woodstock. We have a Herm’s HIke banner and car magnets for our the vehicle. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to post a picture of us at the table with our banner. Thank you, art students at Hereford High. You did a great job with the banner, posters, and magnets.
Yes, Hot Springs is famous for its hot springs. No, I didn’t get a chance to relax in the soothing waters. Some day, I hope to return. It’s a great little trail town. To Karen at the Ironhorse, I will be in touch via e-mail. Thank you for your hospitality. Meeting you was a pleasure. It’s just the kind of story that connects the AT with its people. The journey of your daughter is a remarkable story of courage and triumph that is inspirational and motivational. Her strength reflects that of the mountains. It’s give me the strength to carry on when the mountains seem conspire against me. And to think, I used to complain about my feet being sore. Godspeed on your life’s journey, dear friends.
Okay, back to the trail. The trail along the North Carolina and the Tennessee border is getting boring. One mountain and one valley gap looks just like the other. It’s just one step in front of another to make sure you dont’t trip ove a tree root or turn an ankle on a rock. In certain sections, the trail looks like summer with lush foilage while high in the mountains, it’s still winter. In the valleys, it’s like walking in the Garden of Eden. Mother Nature is dressed in her finest with an an exotic and erotic perfume of pine, wildflowers, and old forest. Late morning and early evening are my favorite times for hiking. It’s a sheer delight, but I’m looking forward to hiking in Virginia. Wildlife sightings have included wild turkey and deer. Rainy days are not welcome visitors to the trail. They make the trail as slippery as ice.
Have to go! Keep spreading the word about Herm’s Hike! Hopefully in the next blog, I’ll include the story about meeting my guardian angel on the top of CLingman’s Dome. That’s the only way to explain this strange occurence. I’ll keep you in suspense until the next blog. Mrs. Singy told me to “hike with my angels.” Little did I know, how true that statment would be. Until our next conversation (blog), keep me in your prayers. Happy Trails!
Yeah, that’s my trail name for now. It means he who dances with the mountains in tribute to his father. And believe me, I dance with the mountains every step of my journey, everything from a waltz to the twist to break dancing.