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Appalachian Trail 2003 - Chelsea's Journals

Entry #34 - April 26, 2003

Decided to walk the 15 miles to get into town yesterday, instead of staying at Deer Park Mtn Shelter, 3 miles from Hot Springs. Saw George @ the Alpine Court Motel right away when we got in (around 4) and he said he didn’t think there were any rooms left. We were worried, but checked & there was so we got it for 2 nights. The place is pretty expensive for what it is. $60/night and there’s no phone and the cable’s out so we only have 3 channels. Spent the afternoon checking things out. It’s a neat little town, but not much in it. A couple of restaurants, grocery store, laundry, a nice outfitter, and, most importantly, the Paddler Pub. Did laundry and half of it still stinks. Went for dinner, waited an hour for our meals, and then got a stomachache from too much food as usual. Headed to the Paddler Pub later, where everyone was hanging out. There were a bunch of folks playing great bluegrass and everyone was drinking and dancing. It was a fun atmosphere, but we didn’t stay too long as we were pretty tired after many long days of hiking.

Got up today and went down to the outfitter to look around and use the internet. After that had breakfast @ the Smokey Mtn Diner where we had dinner the night before. Bought a few groceries, looked @ the thrift store, and a really neat gift shop with all kinds of beautiful arts & crafts. Unfortunately, shopping is just not practical when your whole home is on your back and your budget’s even smaller. I suppose we’ll do some more browsing today, and head to the pub again tonight. We know most everyone around, but there are still a few who are behind us. Maybe they’ll be rolling in by tomorrow?

We’ll also have to decide whether we want to go to the Hot Springs or not – it’s a bit spendy, but cheaper w/more people. $25 to start, $5 each additional person, I think.

Well, tomorrow we’ll be heading into the woods again. It is strange being a “vagabond” and following a trail through the forest day after day, not really sure what is ahead of you. We’ve walked 270 miles, have 1,900 left, and already it seems to have been a very long time. But 1 month done and 5 to go does seem like progress.

A person would think with all this time on your hands, doing nothing but walking, that you would have time to figure out some grand master plan for yourself and your life. It really doesn’t work that way, though. It’s almost like your mind regresses, back to the simplest, most basic functions. It just doesn’t feel the need to pore over the details of life in the “real world.” All that matters boils down to food, water, walking, shelter and sleep.

The most wonderful of feelings is the anticipation of something great.

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Preparing to Hike the Appalachian Trail?

Commonly used guides by A.T. thru-hikers include the Appalachian Trail Guides (published by the Appalachian Trail Conference), the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion, and the Appalachian Trail Data Book. The guide series includes a guide for each section, along with a series of trail maps. The Thru-Hiker's Companion has helpful info on towns, shelters, and water. The Data Book has basic distance info for road crossings, shelters, and other features. All are excellent tools for use during a long distance hike.




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