Oh where to begin?!?!?!?! First off, thank you all so much for the many words of encouragement and comments on the blog. It's a real treat to hear from you guys and gals when we are able to get on a computer. I know it's been a while since our last post, so I'll try my best to recap the past couple of weeks. Here it goes... The day after leaving Neels Gap, we had a nice surpirse in the form of Jonathan Hall(Bess Depriest's brother) meeting us along the trail and spending a night with us on top of Rocky Mtn. Not only was his company awesome, he brought 7 steaks with him and cooked them for us that night. WOW!!! Steaks on the trail!!! I think the infamous "trail appetite" kicked in, because I had 4 of them. Jonathan, you have attained legendary status in our minds. We cannot say thank you enough.
The next morning we woke up to some pretty terrible weather. High winds, rain, and hail. By mid day we were completely soaked, but we pushed on and hiked a little over 15 miles to make it to The Blueberry Patch Hostel outside of Hiawassee, GA. It's operated by a former thu-hiker and his wife out of their home, and it was awesome. They took us in all wet and muddy and smelling lovely I'm sure, and gave us a bed, hot shower, and then did our laundry for us. We were in disbelief. Then in the morning, they fed us a breakfast of eggs, pancakes, sausage, biscuits, gravy, and homemade blueberry syrup. At this point I considered giving up the dream of thru-hiking and instead adopting the new dream of living with Gary and Lennie!! Not really, but, wow, what great folks!
Fast forward to today... It's our 21st day on the trail and we just walked out of the northern egde of Smoky Mountain National Park. We spent the last 5 days traversing the park and it was absolutely unbelieveable. The mountains were magnificent, stretching out like endless ocean waves. There were miles and miles of ridge-walks, postcard views from rocky peaks, another powerful storm with lightning and hail and everything else, and for stretches we were hiking in two and a half feet of snow!! If I knew how to insert a "face in the sun, arms open wide, arched-back yell from the top of my lungs" link on this blog, I'd put it right here. We're both still letting it all sink in.
Overwhelmingly overwhelmed so far! As of today, we've walked 247.2 miles, and as I look at my guidebook, it tells me there's only 1940.7 to go. Life is good! Thanks so much to everyone for the comments. We feel truely blessed to have you all in our lives. We'll post more pictures and hopefully some video as soon as we are able. Much love, many blessings, and happy hiking . . . Sunrise Over Sea & Lola
P.S. Oh yea, we got trail names. Laura's (Lola) was inspired by Isa Finegold and mine (Sunrise Over Sea) by my tatoo.