Appalachian Trail- NC & TN

Orlando Lifestyle Photographer  | Travel Photography

This trip started off a little shaky with a hole in the tire of our rental, strange hotels, mysterious Mexican restaurants and a little rain which set us back a day, but we made it safely to North Carolina and it was beautiful. Our generation is so silly, we all feel this need to unplug, but that typically doesn't happen unless you drive to the top of a mountain and literally can't plug into anything.

My husband and I along with our favorite travel buddies, Bryan and SueAnn packed up our backpacking gear and headed for the mountains for 6 days and it was lush. Every time we share our backpacking stories with others, we typically get asked the same question, "so...you poop in the woods?" YES!!! And guess what? It's not a big deal. There is so much more to backpacking than this. It's an experience I cannot even fully put into words. Are some of the hikes that we do hard? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Does a shower feel like the most amazing thing ever when you return? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY. So why do we backpack? We love nature. And exploring it for several days or more, on your own, challenges you. You will never experience the sound of nature/nothing or see a more beautiful night sky like you will when you are literally in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention the amazing memories you create with your travel buddies. 

After many hours of driving and spending a day in Asheville because rain set us back a day, we made it to our first hiking destination Blue Ridge Mountains Black Balsam where we did a short day hike, 3.79 mi and then drove to Hemlock Hollow Inn where we stayed the evening. I didn't get any photos of this place, but it was pretty cool. It was wayyyy up in the mountains and on several acres. There where cabins spread out all over the property and there was a creek on either side of all the cabins, it was so peaceful. We woke up before the sun and met our driver at 5am who drove us even higher up the mountain to a parking lot where we would begin our 4 day hike. We started near Spur Trail and detoured a bit to climb to the top of Max Patch for a beautiful morning 360 view of the mountains...too bad it was a little foggy. We then climbed up and down the mountains for 5 days and although we've backpacked in Yosemite, Malaysia, Utah and other locations together, this hike kicked our butts. We were exhausted at the end of each day and each had our own aches and pains to attend to, but thank goodness for our middle of our hike retreat at Hot Springs (which is a tiny town that consists of a tiny town that holds about 10 stores, but just an FYI you'll probably only come across 3 that are open, just in case you decide to stop by). We sat in a hot tub fed by the natural local hot springs and let all of our aches soak into the water, but by morning we were back at again. 

We hiked on average 10 miles a day which is typically not so bad, but when it involves constant climbing and ascending, climbing and ascending, CLIMBING AND ASCENDING, your knees are screaming at you and you're ready for dinner! haha We joked and encouraged each other along every stretch of the hike as well as kept our eyes peeled for wildlife...or mushrooms. We saw more unique mushrooms than anything, most of which my husband named with names such as "Umbrella Mushroom". haha We made it out without seeing a single bear on our hike, but we did see some through the car window on our drive. 

We spent our last days enjoying day hikes (that means lighter bags, praise hands), searching for more wildlife and mountain side sunsets. We hiked a total of 59.31 miles on this trip and as always we logged another 342394787 of memories that we'll cherish forever!