Day 31 – Saturday, March 9: Erwin, TN (Zero Day), 0.0 miles, 308.9 total AT miles.

I woke up this morning feeling good and enjoyed a continental breakfast while uploading the past few days worth of journals and pictures to the site. The lobby was full of hikers, a few arriving in from the cold, but most mulling about, waiting to leave for the trail.

This morning’s weather report called for high winds (30+ mph) with temps dropping to the mid 20s at night – and that’s for Erwin. I’d be hiking 2000 feet up – that puts the low at 6 to 8 degrees cooler.

There was an actual discussion, a real caucus, with both camps giving their views as to whether it’s best to stay or go. I voiced my opinion for staying – while I’m sure I’d be fine, I wouldn’t make good time and would start tomorrow worse for wear.

While I’m not very pleased about being held back by weather, I think I’m making the right move. I tentatively scheduled a 10:00am departure with a shuttle service for tomorrow morning.

After breakfast, I did laundry and called for a shuttle to Uncle Johnny’s – the same hostel/outfitters I was supposed to be hiking into today. I purchased a new stuff sack for my sleeping bag and caught a ride back to the Super 8.

I went back to my room to organize my food supply. I decided to hike with 7 days worth of food – Hampton, TN is about 115 miles ahead and with good weather, I should be there in a week.

I’m currently waiting for a shuttle to take me (and half the hotel – they’re making two trips) to a Mexican restaurant a few miles away. It’s totally worth the $5 round-trip considering the weather.

So it’s been a month on the trail. Where am I at?

I still haven’t figured much out, except that cursing at the top of my lungs into the driving wind won’t stop it from blowing.

I’m beginning to relax for the first time in my life – I’ve always been an anxious person, attempting to control every detail. Out of necessity I’ve been forced to abandon that perspective. I don’t like it, but am beginning to see the merit in being a little less uptight.

Patience – I’m still the worst at this. Needs improvement.

I’m surprised at how receptive I’ve become to new ideas and perspectives. I’m a little more forgiving – a little less jerk. Maybe.


Super 8 – $25.00

Shuttle (both times): $16.00

Uncle Johnny’s (Granite Gear compression sack): $34.95

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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