Standing Bear

Well as per usual, a change of plans! The boys did great getting through the first half of the Smokys, but their feet were wet and they were a little cold. They both come down from the mountains with little coughs and runny noses, feeling fine just looking a bit run down. Even though the weather is going to be prefect tomorrow, we are going to take a nero and just hang out at the amazing Standing Bear and recover.

The weather has been great, but the noses are still runny so we just did 3 short miles and spent most of the day working on Christian’s math book which is his new obsession. A $1 math book with addition problems has become the reward at the end of the day, what he most looks forward to doing after hiking. The owner of Standing Bear, Maria,  is just wonderful and she did an interview with Buddy that night for the local paper she writes for. He thought it was just wonderful, and interviewed her right back as if he had prepared a whole slew of questions for her ahead of time. She happily answered them and Buddy really enjoyed his time with her. After another wonderful and warm night at Standing Bear we headed back to the trail, heading north again. We just can’t help it, we’re NOBO’s at heart!

We have gotten a call from the news station based in Johnson City that they want to do an interview with him. Being that we need to make up the section from Green Corner Road to Hot Springs which we skipped over a few days ago, we are going to do that now and meet the news crew friday afternoon. Yesterday after a little bit of a delayed start due to bacon and egg breakfast, llama feeding, and having to say goodbye to all the characters at Standing Bear, the boys did 11 miles from the hostel to Brown’s Gap. Last night, we stayed at Brown’s Gap at a great camping spot right next to the trail. It was so nice and warm, by the morning we had all kicked our sleeping bags off and were up before the sun for the first time in a long while. The weather today is so warm it’s almost like summer is back around and we are loving it! The boys are going to head through Max Patch today and unfortunately I will not be able to hit this spot with them. We have heard from everyone that this is truly a breathtaking spot. Unfortunately we had a spill this morning and all our sleeping bags need to be washed, so I am sitting in the wonderful Iron Horse Coffee House while the laundry is being washed. I intend on getting over to Garenflo Gap as soon as possible to hike in to meet them as much as possible. I have made a commitment to myself and the trail that I will hike no less than 6 miles every day, no matter how much work or “real life” issues I have to deal with each day. This is an experience I will never get to have again with my family and I want to enjoy every day of it which is becoming more apparent to me as our days on the trail are becoming few in number.

Tomorrow we will hike from Brown’s Gap a short six miles down into Hot Springs. We will try to get the interview done as quickly as possible so we can take the 2 1/2 hour drive back to Gatlinburg friday night. Our friends from Marion, Jerry and Sherri whom we just love so much, are going to be in the area this weekend so we will try to meet up with them if possible. We are trying to make it through the Smokys in good weather because it’s proving to be hard enough in the cold, throw in some rain and the might not like it very much! If you’re not having a good time, why do it, right? So, the weather will determine the days after here, as it always does. There are just so many good things going on and friends around that we have to make sure that even though this is about the hike, the hike is about the experience, and we need to make time for all the experiences we can.

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