Day 59 – Wed 4/18/18

Day 59 Clingman’s Dome to Newfound Gap – 7.7 miles.

I got a ride from the infamous Miss Janet to Clingman’s Dome. She’s super amazing!

Once I got up there, I was just not feeling it today. So, I ended up wasting a bunch of time and not leaving until like 3 pm.

While I was wasting time, I saw a pledge sister who is also hiking the trail this year, Kristen Deterding!

She was as shocked as I was!

Once I finally started hiking, I started feeling weird and freaking out for some reason – I think it was just anxiety.

So, I decided I was going to get a hitch back into Gatlinburg for the night. However, when I decided this, it was getting late and I had no idea how I was going to get a ride back in since it was after dark.

Once I got to Newfound Gap, I had no service, and it was well into dark, but thankfully a family on vacation happened to drive up. I asked them if they would mind giving me a ride down, and they agreed, thank God!! I don’t think they understand how much that did for me that night!

I can’t remember their names, but they were a pretty cool family! And thank goodness they didn’t mind having a stinky muddy hiker in the backseat with their 2 year old! I was so thankful for that ride, words can’t describe.

The trail was a mud pit that day too, so I was extremely muddy. I’m just so thankful for these people! Haha.

Thanks for joining me on Expedition Elizabeth!

Day 58 – Tue 4/17/18

Day 58 unexpected Zero in Gatlinburg… they opened the road to Newfound Gap, but not to Clingman’s Dome… 🤷🏼‍♀️

The first thing KTom said to me this morning was “I’m so hungover!” 😂

KTom can’t hang! Haha. JUST KIDDING!

He was able to leave out this morning since he got off at Newfound Gap.

Nooner called me on my way to the post office to mail some things forward and back home. I was really glad to hear from him! I like to hear him laugh, it makes me happy.

I ended up getting a room for the night at River Edge Motor Lodge – super nice front desk attendants! They let me check-in early too! The rooms are REALLY nice too!

I caught up on my blogs and got a late lunch/early dinner at Howard’s Steakhouse – also very good!!

Then, Nooner called again (he said he’d catch me after he ate all the chips at the Mexican restaurant in Cherokee – haha, just kidding! He said he’d only needed 3 baskets. 😂), and I got to hear him laugh some more! It really does make my heart feel a little fuller. 🙊🤐

I’m bummed I can’t see him now, but I think he’s going to catch me in the Smokies! That’s what he plans anyway… however, I surprised him when I told him about my double digit days! So, he might have to push to catch up to me!.. 😏😁

To put it in his words, “… the plot thickens!”

After eating, I got a drink at Sugarlands Moonshine Distillery, but was run off by the construction workers…

Then, I came to hang out at Blaine’s Bar and Grill for a couple of drinks… hoping to find something to get into tonight… like more trivia!

And more trivia is exactly what I got! I went back to Smoky Mountain Brewery hoping for trivia and there was! Even better though, when I walked upstairs to get a table, I saw some of my favorite people… THE SMITH FAMILY!

I asked them if they wanted to play and it was a “No”, however, I was persistent and we had a great time! I think they were happy they played once it was done.

Also, I was really happy I got to meet the girls of The Smith Family! They are truly an amazing family – so well rounded. I’m really blessed to have met them.

After trivia, I went to a karaoke bar that I had passed earlier in the day. And just as I expected, thru hikers were there! I got to meet this great young couple Justine and Felix who are French Canadians. It was Justine’s 21st birthday! They were adorable!

We had tons of fun! They even got me to sing “Barbie Girl”! I hope Justine had a great birthday!

Thanks for joining me on Expedition Elizabeth!

Day 57 – Mon 4/16/18

Day 57 Zero’d in Gatlinburg for the winter storm coming through.

KTom split the room with me again.

We went moonshine tasting.

Nooner called me! It kind of upset me at first… I think because I was still bitter.

He’s just over in Cherokee.

Rainbow, Kelsey, KTom and I all went to dinner at the Smoky Mountain Distillery where they were having trivia night. I convinced them to play and WE WON!

Thanks for joining me on Expedition Elizabeth!

Day 55 – Sat 4/14/18

Day 55 went from Siler’s Bald Shelter to Clingman’s Dome – 4.5 miles.

Tons of wonderful views today!

I had actually planned to get to Newfound Gap today, but there was a storm coming in, and I didn’t want to try to get a hitchhike into town if I was wet… no one likes to pick up a wet hiker… I can’t blame them.

A very nice family gave me a ride into Gatlinburg – a late twenties young woman and her parents who were on vacation from Florida.

I had to call Mom earlier that day to get her to reserve a room for me in Gatlinburg because I couldn’t get enough service to do it.

However, I couldn’t get service to get her texts about where my hotel was, so as I got a ride into town, I saw my friend KTom walking along the strip and before I knew it, I had pushed the button to roll down the window and shout at him! I did it before I could even realize what I was doing!! I would have never done that in a complete, but very nice stranger’s car before I started the trail!… the trail has given me a lot of confidence!

So, they pulled over to let me out to meet him and we went and got No Way Jose’s!

After, I was able to get a call through to Mom and we split a room at River Terrace.

Thanks for joining me on Expedition Elizabeth!

Day 53 – Thur 4/12/18

Day 53 went from Mollies Ridge Shelter to Derrick Knob Shelter – 12.1 miles.

Today, I hiked with an older married man from New Brunswick – Thumper is his trail name. I had passed him yesterday a couple of times, but when I got to Mollies Ridge the night before, I learned he was friends with my friend Rainbow and that he was apparently as slow as I am! Yay!

We had a very enjoyable hike together. We both agreed that we had enjoyed each other’s company (something we had not necessarily found with other faster hikers…).

While following his lead, he suddenly shouted “Oh!” And scared me to death, but turns out, he was just really excited about this bug!

Another plus to hiking with Thumper is that I got to take a couple of perspective photos which I can’t do when I’m alone.

About lunchtime, we happened upon a nice clearing where we took lunch and Thumper took a short nap under a tree.

We also had a guy who has my favorite trail name by far pass us during lunch… LORD SNOW!

How perfect!!

He is hiking with his Uncle (Hounddog) and cousin (Lunatic – 9 year old boy) aka The Smith Family! They are REALLY incredible! The entire family began at Springer (Mom, Dad, 2 daughters, and son), but the girls decided to get off trail in Franklin. However, Lord Snow started with them all because he was helping the family by carrying some of their weight! Such an honorable thing to do! I do believe they have a blog. They are missionaries!

I knew the first 6 miles for today wouldn’t be that bad, but I heard the second 6 were pretty tough… and they WERE!

Thumper and I did not make it to camp that night until 9:30 pm! Aka we night hiked! Like headlamps and all! It was quite an experience! I don’t think I got any pictures of the night hiking, though.

Thanks for joining me on Expedition Elizabeth!

Day 52 – Wed 4/11/18

Day 52 Went from Fontana Dam Shelter to Mollies Ridge Shelter – 11.8 miles.

Today started with a nice meltdown about 2 miles in! Haha. But for real. I packed out WAY too much food, so I stopped in the middle of the trail and set out my food and did some on trail Trail Magic. Ain’t even sorry about it! I gave a lot of my food out, and ate half a pound in Nutri Grain bars. I felt so much better after that. Moral of the story, DON’T PACK TOO MUCH FOOD!

It really didn’t help that it was all uphill too…

I started getting some great views though and I went up to Shuckstack! It was so high! It was scary climbing up the tower!

Towards the end of today’s hike, I got to walk through sections of little white wildflowers in lightly tree-d meadows. It made it look almost like snow!

Thanks for joining me on Expedition Elizabeth!

Day 51 – Tue 4/10/18

Day 51 slackpacked from NC 28 to Fontana Dam Shelter – 1.2 miles.

I only did this to cut off a mile for the next day’s hike because it was going to be a long one!

I was able to go by The Lodge and pick up my package from REI! Yay, new toys!

I got a sleeping pad, pillow, and a pair of underwear.

Tomorrow I enter the Smokies!

Thanks for joining me on Expedition Elizabeth!

Day 50 – Mon 4/9/18

Day 50 slackpacked from Stecoah Gap to NC 28 – 14 miles.

Jeff and Cynthia at Creekside Paradise on the AT slackpacked me.

I went over Jacob’s Ladder today, and boy was I so glad I didn’t have Paxley on! It would have been killer!

It was very foggy today, so no pictures to be had. It was just a full day of hiking.

The descent to Fontana Dam takes forever! The AT took “switchback” to an extreme. I hiked with Rainbow who was sharing the room with me at Creekside Paradise on the AT and K-Tom.

Once we made it to Fontana, I picked up my mail drop where Mom had also sent my meds! Thank God I could sleep again!

Also, filled up another section!

Thanks for joining me on Expedition Elizabeth!