Here’s a basic, flexible “plan” for my section hike in June along the Appalachian Trail from the GA/NC border at Dick’s Creek Gap (near Haiwassi) to Hot Springs through the Smokey Mountains. I’m using the Thru Hiker’s Companion Trail Guide.

To get into the AT mindset of the hiker using a “schedule”, you have to get to a town for food in “x” number of days, so that’s firm, but where to camp between town varies a lot. You meet new people, adjust to weather and try to baby your knees/feet at first. This is all a logistical nightmare for a planner; but to a hiker, it’s freedom. Set due dates aside. Find our own pace and listen to your body. Enjoy and take in each moment. Take one step, then follow your feet. That’s it. Simple.

Schedule Flexible Schedule:

Getting to the AT (half the battle)

May 30-31 – Drive from Texas to Hot Springs, NC and park the truck (This town is on the AT and caters to hikers)

31st – get to Hot Springs by noon, eat and go hike the Lover’s Leap lookout with Patty. Find a place to tent camp that night nearby.

June 1, 10am – Bluff Mountain Outfitters will shuttle me to Dick’s Creek Gap (just south of GA/NC border where I left off)

On the Trail:

Dicks Creek to Franklin, NC (40.2 mi, 5 days?): June 1-5

June 6 ((Thursday): ZERO DAY in Franklin (laundry, eat a ton, and rest)

Franklin to Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC (27mi., 4 days?): June 7-10

June 11 (Tuesday): ZERO DAY (or “NEARO DAY” – in town for the day, back on trail before dark)

Bryson City, NC to Fontana Dam, NC (27.6 mi., 3 days?): June 12-14

June 15 (Saturday): ZERO DAY

Fontana Dam, NC to Newfound Gap near Gatlinburg, TN (42.1 mi., 5 days?): June 16-20

June 21 (Friday): ZERO DAY *I may take an extra day for a hike to Mount Le Conte (Saturday)

Newfound Gap, TN to Green Corner Rd, somewhere, NC (34,2mi., 4 days?): June 22-25

June 26 (Wednesday): ZERO DAY

Green Corner Rd to Hot Springs, NC (32.9mi., 4 days?): June 27-30

July 1: Burn clothes, go find a sterilization shower in a biohazard station, re-enter society.

I’ll be journaling and painting along the way and will post updates when there’s reception. I noted times in towns in case you might join me! (Ehem.. Andy? Michael?) I hope you do.