Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Controlled Burn

I'm writing to you from Uncle Johnny's Hostel outside Erwin Tenessee. Its a nice place right on the banks of the Nolichucky River and just a few yard from the trail which is always a plus. The hike here from Hot Springs has had its highs and lows, with a couple of nice balds and lots of flowering trees, but also some bland sections. The most unnerving part however was the last few miles here; the forest service has been conducting controlled burns that left everything around the trail burnt and smoldering in places, resulting in a black and brown landscape with a lingering smoke smell. Cool, but unexpected.
I seem to have found a group to hike with, or at least a loose affiliation of guys. Bad Dinner and Geoff, who I met at Fontana Dam, have been playing catch up with me and we've bumped into each other alot. Wookie and Wasabi, two guys from Maine, have also been going about my pace for now; we'll probably all stick together a bit until Damascus. My trail name by the way is Sandman, on account of the fact that I use sand in my sculptures, though it can also be "Sandblaster" or "Sandstorm", depending on how fast I blow by people. I still keep a quick pace, but with the Trail Days party in VA starting in 8 days, I've had to slow down to make sure I don't pass it by. Once that's over, the real fun will begin; I'm eager to see just how far I can push my body, and once the restrictions are off I plan on putting out some real monster days and catching up with people down the trail. I might try my feet at some night hiking as well, just to add some variety. Only time will tell, and seeing as my gear and myself seem to be holding up fine it'll be interesting to test my stamina a bit. As always, thanks for reading, feel free to shoot me questions or anything, I'll probably update again in Hampton TN or Damascus.


yomabes said...

Jeff! I love reading your observations on the trail. Keep up the good hiking and writing. I miss waiting tables with you, though you're not missing much, same old craziness. "Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream..."


RandCinHK said...

Don't say things like you might try some night hiking... you are going to freak Mom out. She reads this, too!

elise said...

he's got a headlamp, he'll be fine. plus, i vote jeffrey most likely to punch a bear in the nose, so i think night hiking sounds great.
the weather in NoVA is glorious tonight, i hope it the same where you are.
there have been a lot of forest fires in va this spring and i was thinking about you as i listened to the news- what happens if a part of the trail is in the fire? what do you do then? are there alternate routes to take, do you wait it out?

a friend from work, who works at CRC and lives right on the trail told me to pass on that you are welcome to stay at her house, use the shower and laundry if you'd like once you hit that area. she actually lives closer to the trail than the 1.5 mile walk to front royal proper (she lives across the valley from CRC.) she also offered to let our family stay with her while you're in town. thought you'd like to know!

love you.

RandCinHK said...

I don't care if he hikes at night. I'm just saying Mom tends to get a bit worried.

Rosanne said...

Glad you aren't totally by yourself; stay safe! Miss you!