Day 52: June 5, 2022 Davis Hollow to Bear Gardens Elevation Profile +3498/-2873 11.1 Miles; Total 558.5 Miles

Big to-do today. Within a mile of the first climb this morning, Blue and I passed the 1/4 Way Sign from Georgia to Maine. That is a significant milestone for me. 547.5 miles down and only… too many miles to go! But I am making progress and I’m still enjoying the trail, most of the time.

Blue and I 25% of the Way to Maine

Our early morning sunshine was helpful in thawing me out from the prior night. I have been freezing the last few nights. Stupid me and total “rookie mistake” on my part, I mailed all my cold weather gear home and swapped out much too early for summer clothing and bag. Needless to say, summer has not arrived to the Virginia nights! So usually, I am the saddest in the morning when I deflate my air mattress but this past week, I rejoice. The last thing I do in the morning before I pack up my tent is roll my air mattress up and start my morning. Nowadays I can’t wait to start my day because movement means thawing and slowly warming up!

Morning Sunlight on Blue’s Feet

Today was ideal temperature and another easy peasy day. Only 11 more miles, and Blue will be off-trail. This is also the saddest day for me as she has been the most perfect hiking partner. We have so much fun walking together, talking about our friends and family, praying and sharing this incredible journey with each other. When Blue prayed to God to introduce her to someone who likes to backpack, I had no idea what a blessing she would be to me!

Walking through the Overgrown Mountain Laurel

The last couple of days have been splattered with all things Appalachian Trail. We had PUDS, River crossings, Ladders and Gates to climb over or squeeze through, Open Fields of Grain, and much R&R (rocks and roots). But what has been more impressive are the animals we have seen of late. We’ve had Whitetail Deer prancing in front of us, Bear running from us, Baby Skunk hiding in a bush wanting to scurry away, and Birds singing all day! I think the critters sent out a memo and came out in groves, to say goodbye to Blue. They knew she was leaving the trail and wanted to bid a farewell.

Blue Holding onto the AT

Blue and I stopped at Quarter Way Inn to pick up our last resupply boxes. It was a good stop as Lisa was an AT Thru-Hiker in 2009 and now runs a beautiful hostel. It’s actually a home that houses stinky hikers like us. No offense Blue as you really smell more like a rose. Lisa also makes beaded necklaces that represent the 14 states you walk through on the AT, all in different colors based on the miles in each state. It’s really a unique piece of art that I acquired and am now wearing around my neck. This is another big deal as now I have to finish this trail or return my necklace!

Me and my Coveted Necklace

The day was complete with a soaking our feet in the North Fork of the Holston River. We had only a mile to go and two hours to burn, so why not. It was cold and refreshing, and seemed like the perfect end to our miles together. The last mile was a narrow path through private property with a few ladders to climb and biting flies to swat! I have been bit before but typically I don’t feel it until I rub my hand over another lump or bump. These flies are feisty. I think they start biting before they even land, like a mid-air chomp! Luckily as soon as I ran into the darkness of cover, the woods, they let me be. Eventually I would need to return but for now, the forest is the trail. Just as we came to the road for Bear Garden Hiker Hostel, the cutest but most deadliest of all creatures waddled in front of Blue. A teeny tiny baby skunk, oh my. I wonder if this skunk stinks as bad as me? No, probably not but no need to find out. We turned down the roadway and made it to our final destination, Bear Garden.

Sadness Prevails as Blue Leaves Me

Bear Garden is a Christian Hostel, equipped with a Chapel, Bunkhouse, Shower and all the amenities a hiker desires. They have two flags flying, an American and Christian Flag. What a concept! I love this place already. We met two hikers immediately. One was Cousin and the gal, Hollywood. This was her first time hiking any portion of the Appalachian Trail, and possibly any other trail for that matter. But she was dressed like she was straight off the runway of the Red Carpet gaining her Trail Name of Hollywood. She had matching shirt, pants and boots all in olive green, one of my favorite colors, along with Stylish Glasses and a Scarf. She was so excited about hiking eight miles today. We talked, shared stories and blogs. And then she helped me set up my first ever Instagram Account. I was advised by Hollywood that this is a great platform to get my blog out to more people. Great. Now I am fully vested in Social Media. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m thinking it’s a God thing and I’m embracing it!

Birdie-Owner of Bear Garden Hostel Blue, Hollywood & Me (Left to Right)

Blue has been my constant companion for the past six weeks. We have laughed and cried, we’ve climbed over mountains, rocks and roots, we’ve slept in undesirable places but most of all, we have learned to love one another. She has been my constant sounding block, has heard my stories told over and over to many hikers, and she is my fact checker! That woman has the uncanny memory of an Elephant. If I say 10, she’ll tell me, it was actually 9 rocks we stepped over! And she speaks the absolute truth. Mrs. Blue, you have been a great encourager, a quick student and made me a better hiker. Seriously, I have never hiked as fast as I do trying to keep up with your tremendous pace. And that will certainly be an important factor that gets me to Maine!

Me & My Blue Our Final Leg

Thank you Lord for answering Blue’s prayer and bringing her to me. What a glorious time we had together, keeping each other from getting lost or temporarily misplaced, and spreading your love on the trail double-time. May she be safely returned to the loving arms of her husband Alan. And may you bring her back to me when the timing is right. I will patiently wait for Blue’s return to the trail. Amen.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

2 thoughts on “Day 52: June 5, 2022 Davis Hollow to Bear Gardens Elevation Profile +3498/-2873 11.1 Miles; Total 558.5 Miles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s