April 4, 2000

Nolichucky Hostel,  Erwin, TN 17 Miles Hiked Today 339 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

Nolichuky HostelFirst, last night. The wind was crazy strong. So much so the shelter shook. Then, of all of the places I could have chosen to sleep, I chose one under the spot where the roof leaked, so awoke to dripping on my bivy. So, I had to move to another spot. Then, early this morning a mouse was running around (I kicked his ass out into the dark).

Awoke to 35 degrees and fog. Hiked in the fog, wind, rain, snow, sleet, snow, and hail -- in that order. The beginning of the hike was fun, especially, because the trail was all mud. This made the going 70% hiking, 25% mud skiing, and 5% skating. I did one 360 with out falling. Of course I also fell twice!

The Nolichucky Hostel is awesome. "Uncle Johnny" and Janet provide all the services. Janet mostly just shuttles and Johnny everything else - bunk space, showers / towels / soap / shampoo, essential equipment, laundry, etc. I bought an additional hiking stick for a fair price and may pick up more small items tomorrow. There are eight other hikers here and all of us (Johnny and Janet included) went to La Hacienda (or Garcia's) for dinner. It is authentic Mexican food served up over a little counter (like a deli) in the back of a Mexican goods convenience store. I ate a ton, but since I now think I've lost more that 5 pounds, figure it doesn't matter.

Mileage sign at Nolichuky HostelErwin is exactly what I have needed -- local flavor. Hearing Johnny tell stories about the area (President Clinton showed up here at the last minute for a dedication the day following the announcement that Monica's dress was being DNA tested, probably to avoid the D.C. media), the trail, trail towns both north and south of here, politics, etc. was great. It was also comforting, in away, to hear that other hikers are experiencing the same problems -- sore feet, shin splints, boredom, difficulty adjusting to small town slowness, dry skin, etc. Of course, we also agree on the positives -- snow is cool, storms are exciting, bald mountains rock, this is better than work, the simple life,  appreciation for good food, A.Y.C.Es (all you can eats), and fresh air.

Tomorrow I will switch locations and run errands -- groceries, PO, the library, cleaning of equipment. I also need to rest my foot (I think my right arch is possibly falling but I'm not sure) and sleep. I'm not sure how much rest I'll get tonight with all of these people milling about and watching movies. Maybe a nap...


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