Day 30-32 May 14-16, 2022 Allen Gap to Jerry Elevation Profile +3833/-1818 12.2 Miles; Total 301.9 Miles

Oh, it was extremely hard to leave Asheville. What a wonderful weekend I had with The Sigworth’s! Jeff, Karise and Noelle were the perfect hosts. Beer is King in Asheville, NC. In the past it was all about Moonshine. But in the 1990’s the innovation of Craft Beers began and now there’s 44 Breweries in this small little town USA. I’d like to say we tried them all, but we didn’t have time. It all started at Mellow Mushroom Pizza with their many beers on tap. Afterwards, Jeff and Karise introduced us to a few they had at home. We tasted many, well into Saturday evening. Jeff made a Smoked Tenderloin that was the most flavorful pork I’ve ever tasted. Karise made her Mama’s Coleslaw, flipping amazing and Dad’s Corn on the Cob. I’m feeling a bit like a Southern, and I’m not complaining at all.

No Alcohol Consumed in this Photo Noelle, Blue and Me

On Sunday, we headed to Biltmore Church. A great message from the Book of John regarding Jesus’ and the temple. The Pastor did a honest interpretation regarding Jesus’ temper in regards to vilifying his Father’s House of Worship. It makes me truly understand how slow to anger our Heavenly Father is, yet there is a point where we finally see the wrath of God. Not the warm and fuzzy message but the truth! And how we truly need that, right about now.

After church, we went to this extravagant hotel called the Grove Park Inn. It’s on top of a hill in Asheville overlooking the valley below. There is a signed contract with The US Government that if the Supreme Court is needed to reconvene in another location, this would be the Highest Court of the Land. There was some politicians that did not agree with this, imagine that, but the contracts were found to be legitimate and so, it stands. It’s truly a piece of history, opulent and over the top! We walked the grounds and pretended that we belonged there. Blue and I were fashionable in our town hiking attire. Perfect!

Blue, Me, Jeff, Karise and Noelle

Afterwards we went for lunch at Wicked Weed Brewery. I indulged in Fish and Chips and of course, Craft Beer. We drove to The GreenMan, another Craft Brewery in town. And to finish off the day by visiting The Biltmore Estate.

25 Year Commemoration Poster for The GreenMan Brewery

The Biltmore is lavash beyond the esteemed Kensington Palace. I’m sorry Queen Elizabeth, the Biltmore trumps your palace. It is the centerpiece of Asheville and still allows common folks to walk the grounds, gardens and tour this elegant and stately residence. It was built by the Vanderbilts and is still owned by the family. I was in awe of the gardens. The same landscape designer for the White House and other premier properties designed these 100,000 plus acres of land. It’s incredibly beautiful and maintained by a staff of hundreds. From what Karise said, if you are an employee of The Biltmore, you have arrived! It’s quite the prestigious career to be employed by the Vanderbilt’s.

The Biltmore Estate

Well, I finally did get back on the trail. Jeff drove Blue and I back to where Karise had picked us up on Friday, Allen’s Gap. Luckily it wasn’t raining this time, but we did get a bit spitted on today. The ground was wet from previous days rain. We climbed, I know, didn’t even need to write that! Before noon, we met The Nuts Family. They are from Arizona-New Mexico and are thru-hiking with their four children. They decided on Nuts because everyone including their family thought they were nuts to do this! Mom is Natella, Dad Pecan, the kids from oldest to youngest are Pistachio, Almond Joy, Chestnut and Donut. Super cute family put us to shame as they are hiking 15-17 miles daily and started April 20th, five days after me! The kids range from 6 to 12 years old. So impressed with them. And the kids seem to be having a ton of fun!

The Nuts Kids

As I was approaching our lunch spot, at Big Firescald Knob, I nearly stepped on another rattlesnake. This time it was a Timber Rattler with 11 rattles on its tail and maybe four feet long. What gives? This guy or gal was just sunny itself on the rock step that I was suppose to be using. There was a Mom and Daughter ahead and I told them my dilemma. I decided to, once again, go off trail and attempt to high tail around this behemoth snake. The issue was the route was an intense rock climb and I wasn’t sure if the snake would decide to head my way. It wasn’t rattling and didn’t seem to care that I was there so I rock climbed around it. I’m getting a bit tired of these creatures hanging out on the trail! I made it safe and sound and continued to lunch.

Timber Rattler, I Think

After my meal which was not, but could’ve been rattlesnake meat, Blue and I headed off the mountain as the rain was coming our way. It was fun bouldering and “attempting” to find our way. Blue was a bit misplaced as she didn’t see the white blaze that was painted on the rock. As I climbed up, she went low and got stuck in the pucker-brush. After realizing her miscalculation, she managed to bust her way through the brush and meet back up with me. Navigation on the AT is a bit challenging at times. Once back on course, we continued north and stopped a bit short of our intended destination. Water was a concern and my feet were done for the day. Tomorrow will be a better day with an earlier wake up and longer miles.

Kicking Back on Big Firescald Knob

I received a text from my sister Kari today. She was woken by our Dads dog Dandy last night. At first she thought maybe something was wrong with Dad, but thankfully, he was fine. She took Dandy to the backyard but that wasn’t what she wanted either. Finally Kari headed out front to the neighborhood park. She said she felt like someone or something was following or watching her. She turned around and saw nothing. As she continued, she felt it again and turned and saw three lights. Kari realized that this was nothing to fear but was spiritual. After walking a bit, she and the dog went home.

Handwritten Note from Mom

This morning when Kari awoke, she talked to God about what happened. Were they angels Lord? And were there three? From heaven above, a note flew into her room that was handwritten by our Mom (see above). It was indeed three angels, sent to protect and encourage both you and Dad. I do believe that our Lord sends spiritual beings, angels or whatever you may call them, to get our attention, to protect or warn us, and maybe just to love and encourage us. I have felt the presence of angels as I hike this trail, many times. I truly believe that we have angels that keep us from harm. As I continue my journey on this trail, I pray that Jesus will continue to send down a legion of angels, to watch over all us hikers and travelers that walk down these trails. We can always use an Angel to keep a watchful eye over all of us.

Wisteria Arbor overlooking Grounds of Biltmore Estate

“Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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