Day 42 – 44 Greene TN to Flag Pond TN on 2017 Appalachian Trail Thru-hike

Monday 20 May, Tuesday 21 May and Wednesday 22 May

Total Distance: 40.5 km

Mountains: Camp Creek Bald 4750ft, Big Butt Mountain 4812ft


On Monday I was feeling rather melancholy and in a bit of a funk mainly due to the number of miles I’ve achieved so far versus how long I’ve been on the trail.

There are so many others who are constantly passing you who have been on the trail for less time than you… sometimes it is hard to keep up morale. Although no matter how far I get, I will have given it my everything, 100% – all I know for certain is I am not quitting until I have to get on my plane to go back to Australia.

Yesterday was only a 7 mile day and in my current state of mind today, Monday, I had another short ‘poor me’ day of 7/8 miles.

At the Little Laurel Shelter Monday night I met a Kiwi guy with the trail name, Bourne (apparently he looks like Matt Damon). He told me that Wandering Kiwi, a YouTuber I had been watching before I got on the trail, had quit a month ago.

I was really surprised, I guess because it is the first person I have “known” who has just quit. A fellow biker Breeze went off trail but that was due to snow in the Smokies and as far as I know she was going to flip-flop in other words do another section and come back to the Smokies later.

So I jumped on YouTube and watched Wandering Kiwi’s exit video. Firstly I would say if you are going to quit just quit say thank you to your followers and say goodbye. You have no need to justify why you quit, you and only you hike your hike/or end it as the case my be.

Also, when you justify or attempt to explain you leave yourself open for others to comment, to judge, and have an opinion which is of course exactly what everyone did – myself included.

Two of his comments struck a chord with me especially on a day where I had been feeling low and uninspired. So the two comments were:

  1. …I had walked over 700 miles so I know I could walk the whole thing (2189.9 miles)…hmmm, but my mind said, the fact he didn’t walk the whole length of the trail says he can’t walk the whole length of the trial.
  2. … I was no longer feeling challenged and it wasn’t the Virginia blues… it is known that Virginia is so long and monotonous that you can get the Viginia blues with people leaving the trail. However I don’t understand not being challenged or feeling challenged any longer. I don’t understand because for me the challenge is to complete the entire trail – however this was obviously not his challenge.

These two points struck a chord with me and had me pondering for quite some time that night so I decided that the only way I was going to achieve the required miles was to walk further.


Therefore I was up bright and early hitting the trail on Tuesday morning at 6:15 AM doing my first 15 mile day and passing the 300 mile mark.

However I realised when I pulled into camp Tuesday night that an error was made in the amount of food I had and I was a day short – a long boring story. Therefore tomorrow being Wednesday I will have to stop somewhere to resupply.

It has done nothing but rain for two days and heavily, with the forecast being more rain and thunderstorms over the coming week – ugly, ugly, ugly.


Fellow hikers at Flint Mountain Shelter told Butter Bear and I about a brand-new hostel which has only been open for six weeks called Natures Inn Hostel and Cabins which picked up from Devil Fork Gap only 3 miles from the shelter.

We rang and they came and picked us up at 9:00AM on Wednesday morning. There was a two hour reprieve from the rain which lasted until we were safely inside our rooms, which we were both thankful for.



The rooms are fairly well priced and being brand-new everything still looks really nice.The  resupply options are limited although would probably suit most hikers and a little costly, but when you’re in a pinch it will do. Oh and beware, wifi is currently only intermittently available by walking up to the road – but AT&T works a treat, go figure.

Today has seen more heavy rain which made it difficult to get everything dry and clean before heading out again tomorrow. Butter Bear has not been feeling well this evening and we are hoping that she does not have noro virus and I am hoping that if she does I won’t get it of course – only time will tell.

Met Wolfgang hiker from Germany tonight and he has just about the same dates as I for going back home and to getting back to work. He and I were talking about how deadlines, stress and anxiety are part of our everyday jobs. That out here we are enjoying the journey and the stress free environment so it is hard to push oneself toward another deadline – Katahdin. Lots to think about.

All this rain has meant I have not been taking a lot of photos and on some level I’m sorry to say, the scenery all looks the same when you’re walking in it for hours on end every day. Beautiful but the same. Until you hit some parts of the trail you have to climb such as this.


Really looking forward to hitting the trial tomorrow raining or not and getting back into it. The funk his past, time to move on. Plan to be in Erwin on Saturday though will only be heading to Walmart to resupply properly then moving on the same day. 😊

3 comments

  1. I wish I had your addy so I could email instead of jam your blog with long comments. So this will hopefully be my first n last long one (it won’t offend if u delete it). I hesitate to comment as I’m not an experienced hiker and you know-and have hiked-way more than I. But here goes…
    1) I think you’re doing pretty well. At 42+ days in, to have your first REAL funk is pretty impressive. I would think your avg hiker would have been funking it much earlier (I woulda funked at 42 hours, or maybe 42 minutes actually). You’ll get even funkier and have multiple funks before you’re finished, but without the funks the whole thing just wouldn’t be…funking worth it. Before starting, deep down, you wanted the funks. You wanted the challenge. Deeper still, you’re actually enjoying the challenge 🙂
    2) Any day it rains, whether u slog it or nero, remember that spring in your step that you get the moment the sun finally greets u again. Two steps become made, with the energy of but one.
    3) (suggestion not advice) Next genuine sunny day, maybe it’s time to have a crack at a mega-long day of max Serena miles. I think it’s a good time to throw one in now/soon. Obviously, listen to your body and don’t push injury or commonsense safety. You’ve been pushing yourself within your assumed limits for 42+ days. However, I think you’ve probably wondered enough times now, just what could I do if I had to? Throw one in soon cos I’m pretty sure you will surprise yourself. You’ll also get motivated at realising your capability. You’ll also then have your first real baseline for what may or may not be necessary at various points ahead. The terrain will dictate a fair bit of your max, but surely having this max knowledge up your stinky sleeve will be useful (while I think of it, shave your pits next Nero cos other hikers are beginning to talk). Get a max on the board, cos you’re determined and that new max will give u an alternative record to gauge against or break when u need to (and cos you’ll want to). Then eat the shit out of 10 pizzas just cos u know u rock a stanky shirt better than the Hulk.
    4) You were left pondering that guy quitting more than usual…cos he was from NZ! Luckily, you’re still there to fly the silverfern. NZ radio even mentioned u last night. I also saw the tv footage of your entire nation (that’s 13 people) sitting on the edge of their chilli bins urging u on and glued to their Nokia 6300’s sweating on your next blog update. Serena, NO PRESSURE…ok? Seriously (wo)man, it was so electrifying watching the anticipation and weighty expectations of your nation that my hair stood on end!
    5) If any aspect of point four above results in fatigue, delirium, walking in the dark with uncharged batteries for your headlamp, tears, or death…then we don’t know each other and please be sure to delete this post in your dying last steps so I’m not subject to any coronial investigation.

    Hike your own hike. Laugh your own laugh. And yep, carry your own damn pack 🤣

    P.S hoping your new shoes wear in quickly and cause u no grief.

    I think this emoji is the ‘hug’ emoji, so u can have this 🤗 But dang, it looks more like ‘jazz hands’ to me.

    Like

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