Mist rises from valleys and hollows as the sun rises over the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. Photograph by Ken Thomas

Franklin, North Carolina

Good morning, Franklin, NC! I didn’t sleep well. I miss the breeze of the mountain air, though I don’t much miss the rain. I’m headed to Outdoor 76 in a few minutes to look at and discuss options. What a great city is Franklin. I missed the 7:15 bus, so I walked the 1/2 mile or less to the First Baptist Church, which provides an all you can eat breakfast for hikers of coffee, pancakes, juice and bacon. I arrived just 15 minutes before they were done serving, so I ate with the pastor and a representative of ATC, Appalachian Conservancy, of which I’m a member. It’s uplifting to have such gracious people in my life.

I just finished repacking some stuff that dried overnight. I also just finished hosing down my tent, rainfly, stakes, poles and tent bags, which are hanging in front of my motel door, tied to some vertical supports. My bear bag rope is currently a clothes line. Today is a day of rest, communion with Franklin and discovery of further refinement of my AT equipment. While I don’t look forward to more rain, as I get back in the mountains in the next couple of days, I’m excited to get ready for the Smokies. Like everyone, with possibly a few exceptions, we’ve all over estimated food requirements. I may be finally getting it down. As I walked off the trail yesterday afternoon, I had left 3 single oatmeal packages, half bag of tortillas, 1/8 jar of honey peanut butter, a single serving of dehydrated stroganoff, one package of noodles, one single dehydrated hummus, a package of gravy mix, a single serving of dehydrated tomato pasta and a single instant coffee mix. Considering that my original plan was to require food for Sunday night, all day Monday, and breakfast of Tuesday, I planned it well. However, I got off 1 1/2 days earlier. I’m a bad patient for the miles I put in, but I proved to myself that I’ve got what it takes to do this trek to Katahdin Mountain. Yes, my left knee is a little sore. This day or two off rest will put me back to being a cooperative patient.

Franklin, North Carolina

It’s sunny right now in Franklin!

I will not get too used to it, as the rain will come. According to the pastor, Franklin gets about 60" of rain per year, enough so that one park area at one border to town is considered a rainforest due to its vegetation. As I wait for my tent to dry, I put my sweaty stinky and wet hiking clothes and silk sleeping bag liner in the wash. While doing chores I ran into Pops, Shaggy. Brandon, and Scruffy, who are all staying at the Budget Inn. Pops is headed back to the trail, having arrived Sunday morning. I also ran into Gilligan and Alon outside First Baptist Church, who I began this adventure with on March 1st. It’s a great community out here. As you are finding out, it’s a long running sentiment of mine in this blog. I may add to this later, but I’ll send what I’ve written and add more if anything strikes my fancy. Xoxo