Thursday, May 24, 2007

Update - Erwin, Tennessee

Nolichuckey River Valley

This morning as we descended into the Nolichucky River Valley, we were treated with views of mountains shrouded in fog and blooming Mountain Laurel backlit by the early morning sunshine. Erwin, in Unicoi County Tennessee, lived up to it's name since "Unicoi" is a Cherokee word representing fog-veiled mountains.

We hiked 6.2 miles into town this morning, a "nero day" (near zero), and are enjoying sitting down for a bit.

Unnamed Bald

The four days of hiking since Hot Springs have been sunny with ample shade and beautifully green. We've enjoyed open balds on the summits, a few rocky exposed ridges and lush rhododendron thickets in the drainages. Wildlife has not been as visible, maybe because we've been in proximity to another hiker with his dog. We were threatened with rain and thunderstorms yesterday, but it held off for us, although some hikers a few miles behind us experienced downpours and even some hail.

Once in town we unfortunately discovered that our "bounce box" (priority mail box that we forward to ourselves with repair kit/maps/etc) never made it to Erwin. We last saw it in Hot Springs and were hoping it would meet us here. Hopefully it will show up eventually and can be forwarded to Damascus, VA.

We were considering staying at the legendary Miss Janet's House (Excellent Podcast Interview) where we'd mailed a package to ourselves, but after scoping it out we're having second thoughts - $20 each for a bunk in what amounts to a lively hiker fraternity house. We met some very nice people there, but could probably get a clean room at the Holiday Inn Express for the same price.

There's also Uncle Johnny's Nolichucky Hostel which is right on the trail and has clean cabins for $30 or bunks for $12.5o and we have some friends staying there who we passed this morning on our way into town.

Then there's the other option... Take burritos to go from Erwin Burrito along with some dessert from the Choo Choo Cafe, and then walk on a few miles to the next campsite. We just recently had four days off, including two nights at Elmer's Sunnybank Inn, so we're feeling good and we'll be at the Kincora Hostel in a few days anyway.

Oh, the difficult decisions of being a thru-hiker. We wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. I suspected we might have been close by, we spent our 5th anniversary weekend, May 24-27 just 10 miles from Erwin across the Pisgah forest in NC, right about here.

  2. Ben and Lauren! Craig told us about your sight and I've been reading everything the past few days. I was excited to see your picture of the bridge in Erwin because I had hiked through there in the Scouts when I was in about the 7th grade. We'll be following your progress and praying for you as you hike. Thanks for setting this site up and for sharing your photos because through hiking the AT is something I've always dreamed of doing but probably won't ever do. I was also hoping you'd be around NC when we move to Charlotte at the end of June but it looks like you'll be long gone. Take care!
    Pete Davis

  3. looks beautiful there. nice pics! keep plowing away guys!