Day 34 (April 26th): Erwin, TN to Indian Grave Gap

Miles hiked today: 8.8
Miles hiked total: 350.3
Miles to go: 1835.0

We left Erwin today super later than expected. We called the shuttle around 9:00 and the woman said she was driving someone to the airport, so she recommendd we call Miss Janet for a ride. Miss Janet is the ultimate trail angel. She pretty much follows all of the hikers in her van from Georgia to Maine every year and is only a call away whenever anyone needs anything. So, we gave Miss Janet a call and as fate would have it she was actually in Erwin and she agreed to come pick us up in an hour. We packed our things up and went out into the lobby to wait for her and ran into Cape, a fellow hiker friend of ours. When he heard Miss Janet was coming, he decided to wait with us and grab a ride (he was originally planning on hitching). Well, a couple of hours passed and there was no sign of Miss Janet. Wing It gave her a call and found out that she was delayed because a car rolled down the road and flipped over, which caused the whole road to be blocked off and Miss Janet was stuck in traffic.

We sat in the lobby and talked about what we should do, and while we were discussing our options a shuttle from the hostel in town pulled up and offered to bring us back to the trail. It was after 12:00 by the time we started hiking, and we only ended up doing an 8.8 mile day, instead of the 12.7 we had planned. We’re going to hike 17.8 miles tomorrrow to make up for it, so it’s going to be a long day. It’s also supposed to be in the 80s tomorrow, so it’s going to be hot hot hot – yikes!

When we got back to the trailhead, we popped into Uncle Johnny’s (the local hostel and outfitters) and ran into Littlefoot who let us know that the rest of the group was only a couple of hours behind us. We haven’t seen them since Hot Springs and were happy to hear that they were finally catching up! Wiki and True Story had actually already left the hostel and were a couple of miles in front of us on the trail. Blacksmith, Wing It, Stylez, and I all started hiking and eventually ran into Wiki and True Story at the next shelter. It was great to see them again! For some reason, they got it in their minds to only hike 5 miles today and hike 22 miles tomorrow with the goal of meeting up with us at the shelter we’re planning on staying at tomorrow night. I’m not interested in hiking 22 miles tomorrow, so I pressed on with the rest of my little group and did another 4 miles instead. Hopefully they’re able to hike the 22 miles tomorrow so that we see them again!

So, Blacksmith has been pink blazing me since Hot Springs. Pink blazing is when a guy goes out of his way on the trail to hike with a girl; he’ll either hike more or less miles than he’s capable of so that he’s always around this girl, or he’ll even skip sections just to catch up with her again. It’s actually a bit creepy and a whole lot of annoying. Anyway, Blacksmith is a serial Pink Blazer. When he first started hiking the trail, he latched onto two German girls and they finally  had to tell him to leave them alone, that they wanted to hike the trail just the two of them. He ignored them, though, and they actually hid behind a tree so that he’d hike past them. Then he moved onto Simba; she also wasn’t interested and she eventually started “dating” Muffin Man, so when that happened he moved onto Tigger who eventually told him to scram and get lost. Twist and Stylez both have boyfriends, so he knew not to waste any time on them. So this left me.

He never came out and said anything about his crush, but he’d stare a lot and always seemed to know what my next move was going to be. It eventually got to be too much, and Wing It and Stylez were actually the ones to bring it up to me because even they were getting annoyed by it. We all decided that someone needed to talk with him about his infatuation so that he realized he was making everyone uncomfortable, especially me. Wing It volunteered to have this conversation with him, thinking that a “bro to bro” talk would come off as less confrontational than me approaching him myself. After we left Wiki and True Story behind, Stylez and I went to hike on our own and Wing It hung back with Blacksmith. I’m not quite sure of all of the details, but ultimately Wing It told him that we were all aware of his crush on me and that I wasn’t really interested in anything. Blacksmith said that he tries to be nice to all girls and treat them like his sisters, but some girls he treats a bit nicer. Ha, ya think? That’s called FLIRTING! His response made me laugh when Wing It told me. Wing It said that he seemed to be a bit embarrased, and I’m sure that’s true because he decided to push on another 4 miles tonight and stay at the original campsite we were hoping to make it to, which is unusual for him to do because he doesn’t really like hiking alone. He did say he’s planning to meet us at the shelter tomorrow night, and I really hope that he does. I  really don’t mind being around him, I just didn’t want the attention that he was giving me.

At the campsite tonight is Stylez, Wing It, and a hiker from Texas named Longhorn (he looks like he’s in his late 20s/early 30s). There’s also an entire hiking family here! Mama Bear, her husband whose trail name I don’t actually know, and their two kids, Robin Hood (9-years-old) and Cartwheel (7-years-old). They’re the Kallin family from Maine. The parents hiked the trail southbound 12 years ago, and now they’re hiking it northbound as a family. They’re averaging 17 miles a day, which is just incredible. Robin Hood, the older brother, found wood and actually helped build and maintain our fire, and Cartwheel, the younger sister, sat and talked with me and Stylez for a bit. She told us a story about an aggressive chicken they used to have, and then Robin Hood interjected and said, “it’s okay, though. Our grandfather eventually slit his throat”…yikes! That story really caught me off guard (ha!), but they both made me laugh and I enjoyed meeting them!

Time to sleep!

TTFN!

One thought on “Day 34 (April 26th): Erwin, TN to Indian Grave Gap

  1. Hi, Kristen’s baby Myah is now 2 1/2 weeks old is 5 lbs 10 oz and 19 inches long!!! She has finally gained some weight due to a new super formula she had to be put on. So it sounds like you are having the time of your life and all is well. Papa and I will be leaving for vaca to FLA Sat, May 31 and will be back June 7th. I’ll have to catch up with you when I get home. Be careful, be safe and I love you….Mema XXOO

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