I met Butterfingers while hiking the PCT in 2016. Having seen each other a few times since, on various road trips and having kept in touch, we worked out the logistics to meet in Hot Springs North Carolina and hike the section together to Erwin Tennessee.
On her way to Hot Springs, she helped me out big time by picking up a phone for me in Knoxville, which is on her way. Having been in communication darkness for over a week, I can’t describe the feeling of having a device again.
We spend the rest of what would be my second zero day in Hot Springs finishing up my resupply, downloading maps, music and podcasts. Spending the evening along the river bank drinking beer, eating hiker food and catching up on what’s new while also reminiscing about old times on the PCT. We prep for the following morning and get to bed around dark-o-clock.
We pushed long miles and the first couple of days were very warm. Between the heat and the steep ascents, I struggled to stay adequately hydrated. But in the end the clear skies provided some excellent views from some cliffs and ridge lines.
The last couple days held the looming threat of rain and thunderstorms, which mostly held out for us besides the last hour of the third day just before getting to camp. The skies harder and thunder could be heard the moment I said, “All I want is to be able to set my tent up before it rains.” I ate my words very soon after. But after waiting 10 minutes and gathering water, the rain let up and I was able to pitch my tent on wet ground but without getting soaked.
The last day it was comfortable temps and there was a bit of drizzle which kept me cool on the last few climbs. Taking minimal breaks and pushing for Erwin, I was extremely fatigued walking into Uncle Johnny’s Hostel, but I was happy to sit on a chair and have the possibility of taking my first shower in over 2 weeks.
In Erwin, Butterfingers and I went to dinner st Los Jalepenios before going to Walmart to resupply. I took many showers at Uncle Johnny’s and ate lots of ice cream. We got ourselves all preped for the following morning before relaxing in the cabin for the evening. She would be leaving early in the morning and I’d have to figure out my gameplan for the section ahead.