Week 4: I Love/Hate You, Smokies

Total Miles: 240.5

Miles This Week: 63.5

Location: Mollies Ridge Shelter to I-40 Underpass

The Good: I can feel how strong my legs are getting. I won’t say I’ve got my trail legs but I know I can do more miles. More importantly I can do more miles without wanting to curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb afterwards. I weighed myself for the first time out here and I’ve lost 10 lbs.

I loved the changing scenery here. If I was a bear or a witch, I would live in the Smokies. There are parts that are dark and foresty and smell like earth. It is everything I dreamed it would be. I want to kidnap the people that take it for granted and make them live in Houston for a year. Imagine if you had to drive 11 hours just to see a mountain!

Entered, sort of, my third state. Hello, Tennessee! Sort of, because I haven’t completely left NC. It’s still exciting and I’ve hit the 200 mile mark. It’s tiny compared to what I have left but I feel lucky to have even made it this far.

The Bad: The Smokies were beautiful but only what I saw of them. I missed out on Charlies Bunion on a foggy day. The weather was different every day. I was hot. I was cold. I was perfect. I was wet. I fell in the mud a zillion times.

Gatlinburg is atrocious. The only reason to go there is to get drunk. For me, it was a giant anxiety attack. It’s loud and bright and there are way too many people. I mean, if you’re a normal person, by all means go, but if you’re not good with crowds, skip it!

I miss my family. I miss my cat. I miss hugs.

Unless you count the hug Lumpy gave me at Standing Bear Farm when I asked for a ride to the urgent care. I made it out of the Smokies alive but went straight to an ER on my way out. I would’ve gone to the urgent care but the one in Newport doesn’t do x-rays. No worries though! It’s just a sprained ankle but I’m being a good patient instead of a good hiker and following orders. Bad hotel movies, ice, and ibuprofen, here I come!

– Cyndi Loppers


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