Could not have woken up to a more beautiful day.  We all slept really well.  It was a pretty chilly night on the mountain.  Ryan and the kids made a fire, and we slowly gathered up all of our belongings.  We sang a little, made some video of who we are and what we are doing.   

We are beginning to run into people that we “know” more and more.  Faces are becoming more familiar and we are getting to know names and life stories.  It is pretty cool.  I’d say that we are becoming a part of the trail community.  After hiking a few miles, we made our way into Low Gap Shelter area.  Because we had slept on the top of the mountain, away from the water source, I lazily just packed the dirty dishes in one of the bear bags.  (Don’t judge, its like leaving dirty dishes in your sink at night… LOL), we filtered water, cleaned dishes, ate lunch and met some great people, and of course seized the opportunity to use the privy.  

As we were packing up, a gal hopped her way into camp, and shouted over to us, “Are you guys the ThruCrew?”  I guess that it is all the buzz that we, this crazy large family, are on the trail.  It was great to meet Brave and her sister, who was hiking a leg of the trail with her while she was on spring break. 

We got back on the trail, and started craving burgers… all of us were fiercely craving burgers.  It is amazing what one will do for a big, fat, juicy burger.  Well, we have had a number of people reach out to us, after hearing about our journey from all up and down the trail.  One of them, a past thru-hiker named Big Jim, offered to help us in any way that he we needed, and to just give a shout out if he could be any assistance.  We reached out to him and in a couple of hours had made a plan to hike to Unicoi Gap, grab burgers and stay at the Baymont Inn.  We hiked a little more than 13 miles, and it was worth the tired feet in the end.

Our feet were exhausted when we finally made it to the parking lot at Unicoi Gap, but there was Big Jim and a big ole van, ready to take us into town.  He even brought his son, which was super cool. 

We love hearing stories of past thru hikers.  The way that they had to do it, the gear, the support, the resupply… it was ALL so different.  Big Jim shared with us all sorts of stories about how his hike changed his life, and the lives of his buddies as well.  He told the stories in vivid detail, as if he was there all over again.  Have I mentioned he thru-hiked in 1989!

This journey has been so fun.  The people we meet, the face-to-face conversations, the collision of so many walks of life, all on the same path.  Generosity abounds, and it is so refreshing.   Ryan and I had a great conversation with Aaron, a guy who has just left the Navy.  We chatted about all sorts of topics until late and headed off to bed… miles await in they morning!

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