Wednesday, April 16, 2014

271 miles down, 2004 Email Update #2

From: Jen Sober
Subject: 271 miles down
Date: Friday, April 16, 2004, 11:16 PM
1904 miles to go!!!!!
(i swear... i will really work on getting these email to be shorter..sorry) (i am not spell checking either, last time i did that i lost the email, so i apologize now for my bad typing)
We are now in Hot Springs, NC. We ended up getting here 2 days early, so we are now enjoying a couple days off to recover the feet and freshen up (and hopefully get some weight off our packs).
Let's see.. Wallace Gap (Franklin NC) was our last update. Hiking times have been so wonderful! The weather could be a bit drier and warmer, but we are still enjoying each and every experience we go through.
The first think we missed after leaving Franklin was a toilet...digging a hole is just not quite the same. Or, sometimes we get the privledge of a Privy at a shelter. We were very homesick for the trail and were very excited to be back "home."

Nantahala River
The Georgia mtns were very up and down and great weather. The NC mtns. have been more go way up and stay up over rolling hills but horrible weather. The elevation differences are amazing. We remember the first week saying " oh my we are hitting 4000 feet today" and now it is "6600 feet"
We had a blast when the AT went across the Nantahala River. We hiked 6 miles straight down to the river dropping about 3500 feet to arrive at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) right there on the trail. It was one of the most beautiful days - 70 and sunny! Across the river was a cafe where we got some coffee and sat by the river relaxing (took the boots off). Then we went back over the river to the resteraunt and ate their famous Cheeseburger!!! We were at the NOC for about 4 hours before we put our packs back on our backs for a 6 mile hike climbing back up 3500 feet on the other side.
As we climbed each mountain each day, we could see Fontana Dam/Lake as well as (we think) Clingmans Dome (the highest peak on the AT). Clingmans had a bunch of snow on it's peak...very scary! :-)
We got to Fontana Dam on April 7th. It was really neat there! Largest Dam on the East. Enormous lake, cute little village where we picked up a mail drop and ate...LOTS!!! The Dam is also the beginning of the Smokies!
The Smokies have been a section of the trailed we have feared for some time. I kept picturing being up there in a blizzard on Clingmans Dome. But, luckily (if you call this lucky) we only had rain. The first day and a half were nice, then we just had rain all the way to Hot Springs. It is really making us tough hiking and camping in the cold rain and strong winds. We never really were dry! But each day it is worth it cause even in the rain the views are amazing!  It is really fun to look at the peaks we just hiked a day or two before. There just isn't any words to explain the beauty of these mtns. I said one day it looke like an Ocean of Mountains! It truely did.
Pokey, Zippy, Indy, Jen, Monkey, Andy, & Tawain John
(I did not have my trail name given yet)
We ended up increasing our miles a lot in the Smokies many 15 miles and a 19 miler to get out of there after only 4 nights. The nights it didn't rain though, we have had a great time around the fire pit talking with other hikers. We have been really greatful to be able to meet up many times with our fellow home town hikers Julia and Mike (also from Western MD).
Standing Bear Farm is a place we stayed our first night out of the smokies. It was there off the trial and it was a great set up. We will tell you all about it when we see you...(outdoor shower, bunk house made all from trees and a tin roof, best fire pit ever)
The next day we hiked through every possible weather there is... started in a monsoon rain storm, sun came out along with the heat and humidity, the rain came again bringing with it major fog mist and really strong winds (esp at the top of the mtns). Then it started sleeting on us. The top of Max Patch was a miserable time.... you will see pictures the next time around. Then we got to camp after another 19 mile hike (we just wanted to get to Hot Springs) and decided to stay in the shelter there so we wouldn't be packing a wet tent. The snow started up as we were cooking dinner..,.... Oh...I was so cold! Even Sean was having trouble staying warm. All night, snow blew into the shelter on our faces and our sleeping bags were soaking wet the next morning. We hightailed it that morning to get to Hot Springs and to lower elevations. We hiked 15 miles that day and never stopped moving/hiking for 12 miles.
We are now dry and visiting family (Harry & Kathleen). They picked us up and we are now in Asheville, NC enjoying a nice vacation away from our job of hiking :-)
As for how we are doing... GREAT! Never better! Sean is in the most amazing shape. You would all be so surprised, i think we could blow me away in a 5k race right now. We have really become stronger out in the mtns, which has really allowed us to up our miles. Each time we sit down and take a break.....regardless of the weather....we both are looking out at the scenerey and say "This is the LIFE!"
Pictures. Thanks to Jumana, i have our first roll of film on a online album. I do not have time to enter all your addresses in it yet so i am going to give you the info and you can use my user name etc. to view them. Eventually i hope to be able to get the time to organize it better. I will also tittle each picture at another time. But enjoy. These are of the Georgia Mtns. We we get more on there, i will be sure to let you know to go back and view them. We are sending 2 more rolls to Jumana now so in a week or 2 there will be 50 more pics to view.
That is all for now. We miss you all and look forward to hearfing from you.
Sean and Jen
PS...Charlie - Sean is following in your footsteps and tapping the first white blaze he sees every morning. :-)

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