Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The best laid plans...

Of hikers and moms may often go awry! (I'm sure the phrase is something like that.) (This is the Mom. Again.)

The new tablet screen did reach Daniel and Sam in a more or less timely manner. That is the good news. The not so good news... while I (The Motherly Parental Unit) ordered a repair kit that came with tools- it came with specialty tools. Common tools usually available to most people are needed to actually complete the installation of the new screen. No access to these on the Trail. Sam boxed up the whole works and has sent it packing to here.
Last night we did get a new tablet ordered... and are hoping it does not play Trail Tag with the guys. They should be back to posting in a week or so.

Meanwhile... they continue hiking northward! They have been snowed on, rained on, and had their boots freeze overnight. They report that town days tend to be expensive. I am told they are taking plenty of pictures. (Actual conversation went more along these lines: (me) "Are you taking plenty of pictures?" (Sam) "Yes, Mom. We are taking pictures.")
I am leaving the details of the adventure to such a time as Sam (or Daniel!) can tell the stories in their inimitable style.
They have covered more than 275 miles of the trail thus far. Sam asks that not spell out exactly where they will be at any given time on the blog- or where they intend to be on any given day.
(Feel free to ask me in person- they don't mind sharing with folks we DO know.)
Once again, Thank you for reading Gravel Journey. Keep Daniel and Sam in your prayers!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hot Springs, North Carolina!

The Parental Units waited futilely for a call all day Saturday and Sunday. Unable to stand the tension a moment longer- Sunday evening a call was placed to Elmer's Sunnybank Inn , the hostel where the boys were supposed to show up.
 To our immense relief, they were happily enjoying the hospitality of the music room at Elmer's! No wi-fi, no cell phone service in the town... so no call home. True to our word, we tracked them down. They are staying in the very same room the first Thru hiker of the AT, (ever!) Earl Shaffer stayed in on both of his visit's to Sunnybank Inn.
They received their first care package from home; and according to Fed-Ex the screen to the tablet has been delivered. In reality, the Fed-Ex delivery isn't likely until tomorrow... it was not there, despite its tracking number claim.
The words in blue in this post are clickable links that will give you more information on the subjects. Hopefully, Sam will be back to writing these updates himself. We ALL miss his way with words.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fresh out of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This update brought to you once again by the Motherly Parental Unit. Sam called, but the service was "terrible poor". They have crossed out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and will be arriving even sooner than expected to the place their first "care package" was sent.
Bad on Amazon Prime- the replacement screen for Sam's tablet was not sent "two day" shipping. It will arrive a few days after the boys depart- so will have to be shipped on to their next, yet to be determined, stop along the trail. I am preparing their next box of goodies to go out! (Our box from home was sent in such a timely manner it IS awaiting them at their next stop- Hot Springs, NC!)
If you are a Wooden Spoon employee, There is a picture postcard from Samuel and Dan (in the office?)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hiker Update!

This is Daniel and Sam's  Motherly Parental Unit with a quick update. The guys have suffered an equipment breakdown- a cracked screen on the tablet. So they cannot update the blog themselves just yet. We are trying to get a new screen to Sam ASAP- but I need a bit more information from him.
The hikers called from Clingman's Dome this morning. They did NOT take this picture, I borrowed it from a Google search:
They are just over 200 miles into their hike. They hope to reach Elmer's Sunnybank Inn, in Hot Springs, North Carolina by the 30th. I certainly hope to have their replacement tablet screen to them by then!
I have had a number of folks ask how to comment. First, sign into a Google account, such as Gmail or Blogger. Then click on the comment button below the post, and you should be able to leave comments. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Here we go!

Well, this is it!
I can hardly believe that this is really happening.

First of all, I would like to say thank you to all our friends at one of our primary outfitters over at Lewis and Clark for all their advice and all the great gear they offer with said advice, and to everyone at The Wooden Spoon for all their encouragement!

Day 1
Mom and Dad drove us to the parking lot at the top of Springer Mountain, and walked with us to the official start of the A.T. and after a we made our Good bye, Daniel and I started down the trail.
And it is a beautiful trail, the weather was mostly cloudy and a little bit wet, and the clouds surrounded the hills around us.

So far we've met four other thru-hikers that started today, a friendly guy from Missouri named Taylor, two other guys, and a lady.

We only hiked ten miles today, but we figured that we should take things easy these first few days especially, and so we wouldn't have to set up camp in the rain. (Plus there was this weird tree that we ate under!)

Day two
We got a very early start today at around six this morning and got hiking when things were still dark.
It rained lightly the night before and we had to deal with a damp tent, but for the most part we stayed dry.
As we were stopes to fill our water pouches, a man asked if we could filter some water for him, and we happily helped him out as it turned out he was a German man here in the US as an exchange student.
Him and his friend are on spring break.

Today we had our first taste of "trail magic" when a couple of guys were having a little cook out for all us hikers.
It was here that we met Ramblin' Rose, a rather kind lady that we've been hiking with most of the day.

It's now day three and quite frankly I don't at all feel like writing anything. (but I am anyway.)
This was our first time on the Appalachian rollercoaster, where you go from a high to low and back again in a roundtable of emotion.
It can be influenced in a multitude of ways, you can hike in the rain for a mile and a half, feel awful, then you reach the outfitter at Neels gap!
You breath a sigh of relief, get out of the rain, pick up a few post cards, wait out the rain, and you're on your way!
Then you fall back in to the mode of hiking, stop and set up camp on the least wet place you can find, start cooking dinner...and then you see your hands(again)...and you realize that they've been dirty for three days straight and you want them clean.
But you can't get them totally clean with hand sanitizer.
You reach a low.
Then you smell dinner, and it smells amazing, and then the wind blows in such a way that your tent dries out at last!
You're at a high.
Then dinner gets knocked over....

Over all though, I can't complain about the weather, it hasn't rained as much as they were calling for, and we made it to Hiawassee before it rained today (Day five).

And as promised a shout out to everyone back at work!
Hi Sue, Becky, Lauren, Jodi, Jenna, Mom, Jane, Stacy, Miriam, Shelby, Brook, Diane, Kelsie, Luke, Sharla,Misti, Janae, Brenda, And Brenda, Martha, Barbara, Tiffany, Shana, Chad, Cam, Rochelle, Stephanie, Sarah, Carlene , and Serena

Wish us luck! And God be with you!
Happy PI day of the Century!

Pictures: Us in our first camp site, Daniel leaning against a weird tree, A friendly cat at Neels gap, Me on Blood Mountain, and Daniel Taking a picture on blood mountain.