Northbound

A few weeks ago, we made our way back to the mountains of western North Carolina.  It was a windy route, with luxurious detours in hot springs in New Mexico and Arkansas, and with friends in Austin.  Our destination was Arthur Morgan School, in Burnsville, where Pat’s sister works and where we’d be staying for the next two weeks.

We arrived late on a Saturday night, stumbling through the door and heading straight for bed.  The next day was a welcome break from road travel; we walked through the woods with Kay, got ourselves oriented to this place, and had a good time hanging out with the school community as they readied for their 18-day trip.  We even got ourselves a dog-sitting gig.  On Monday, students and staff set out for their various adventures, and we started prepping for ours.

We are starting our hike in Georgia and aim to follow the white blazes north.  All the food is dehydrated, our gear organized, and our bodies as ready as they can be for the trip.  Dad’s coming down to drop us off at Springer Mountain and lugging our extra stuff home.  We leave tomorrow.

It’s been good to have two weeks to transition from car travel to foot travel (will we ever stop moving?), to prepare our selves and our stuff, and to enjoy being in this climate again.  Early March was cold, with snow or freezing rain nearly every day, but happily the weather is set to improve, and we’re looking forward to a pleasant, spring-like first week.  Even today, the sun is out and the temperature is rising.  On our morning walk with Cosmos, the giant bear/dog we’re taking care of, we shed layers and walked with a little more spring in our step.

So, we are grateful for our stopover at AMS.  The woodstove at Dewing House kept us cozy even on the most blustery of nights, and the two house cats kept us company.  Cosmos gave us a routine and an excuse to explore the trails that lead through the forest behind the school.  We had a comfortable area to prep, to hash out ideas about gear and food and other supplies, to write out itineraries and pack boxes for mail drops.  The Celo community was warm and welcoming, and we are so thankful.

We expect it to take about three weeks for us to reach Hot Springs, NC.  We’re lucky to have no deadlines to meet or places to be after our hike, so we have the option of taking our time or hustling as our bodies and spirits dictate.  In this first stretch, we’ll stop to pick up mail at the post offices in Hiawassee, GA, and Fontana Dam, NC.

catch ya later

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