Hot Springs, NC to Erwin, TN [341 miles]

hotspringstoerwina

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I have just purchased a chocolate ice-cream cone. I can see the chocolate sprinkles in vivid detail.

I am about to take my first lick.

I hear a voice.

“Acorn. Wake up. It’s time.”

The bubble bursts.

It’s 3am and my group of fellow crazy hikers has decided to attempt a 31 mile hike to celebrate a hiker’s 31st birthday.

I’m not sure why I agreed to do this.

I zip open my sleeping bag and the cold invades.

The long trek begins. I am soon night-hiking with 2 other hikers and a dog. We turn our headlights off and hike under the light of a full moon. We pick out constellations, watch satellites streak across the sky, and hoot at owls.

A few hours later, we arrive at a mountaintop. The sun is rising and it’s one of the most beautiful moments of my life. We linger to eat snacks and the dog whimpers. He wants to keep hiking.

The 31 miler glides past. We push beyond mountains, streams, and valleys full of white flowers.

I feel strong until the sunset.

I find myself climbing a mountain in the rain, at night, alone. It’s a very difficult 4 miles and I can’t seem to understand why I’m still doing this. My body pushes back and my leg muscles start to ache.

Finally, I find myself at mile 31, around midnight, and I can’t find the other 3 hikers who were supposed to meet here. I start to get confused and finally decide to hang my hammock between 2 trees.

The wind whips my hammock all night and the rain bounces off my tarp. I am lucky to be warm, but I am barely able to sleep that night.

31 mile days.

It’s done.

I wouldn’t recommend it.

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Categories: North Carolina, Tennessee | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Hot Springs, NC to Erwin, TN [341 miles]

  1. 31 miles is most impressive, I bet the hammock felt good afterwards!

  2. jack/snorz

    Wow! Way to go!

  3. Peter

    Just remember its a marathon, not a sprint, but still very impressive. Peter

  4. Mark C

    Good for you. 21 hrs is a long hiking day. Be happy it wasn’t his 40th… 😉

  5. 31 miles! I cant imagine. Hang in there, routing for you from Maine

  6. Thats impressive mileage for the southern Appalachians. Way to kill it!

  7. Josiah

    Love it 😉 your so awesome!!

  8. James workkman

    Your too cool hike on girl , I wanna be there to do the crazy things!!

  9. Laura L

    Did you ever find your hiking buddies? That would bumm me out. Hi I am a new follower who found you through TNT. Love the posts and the pictures.

  10. I hope you found them! I would have cried hiking in the dark solo, but maybe you get used to it?
    Hmmm…I think 31 miles deserves a ZERO!! Enjoy one soon. 🙂

  11. Congrats. You’ve been Liebed… (i gave you an award on my blog) yipee!

  12. David

    Hi! The idea of hiking the AT has just been recently planted in my head and I look forward to following your journey as I prepare for my hike in ’14.

    I do love me some ice cream so I am VERY afraid that I will be waking up every morning with that dream 😦 That just might drive me crazy.

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