Monday, 29 April 2013

Onward and upward!

Excelsior! Just got a FaceTime call from Gronk, he is getting ready to set out for Fontana Lake and the start of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The sun is shining and the sky was blue behind his face as we talked. He showed me some southern Dogwood blossoms on some trees up the hill behind him. Dogwood are my favourite flowering trees and they don't grow up here in Canada (NB my Dad reminded me that they DO grow in BC and in fact, the Pacific Dogwood is the provincial flower - but they don't grow here in colder Ontario.) I remember them fondly from when I lived in Virginia in the 1960s (as a very small child!)

He says the NOC is very nice and showed me around the extensive site, with lots of wooden buildings, and the river running through the area, the bridge, playgrounds, etc. I'll post some pix below. I am finding this map very useful for following exactly where he is (figure out how to make your browser enlarge it, to see the detail.)

He says that this small group of hikers has been mostly together since the beginning but they may start to stretch out and change as the hiking goes on. It has been two weeks now and the camaraderie has been great. They pool their knowledge and information and figure out what is the best way to go or do something. But now that they have been hiking for two weeks, it may be time to set out on their own, individual hike. It may sound sort of sad, if they part ways, but I think it is a natural progression. They all started as unique individuals and they have their own reasons for hiking. And if they do part ways eventually, they will meet other people and it's all good. And they may even meet up again, as there are many months before the whole hike is over.

Gronk bought himself some rain pants and a fleece shirt for warmth. I find myself hoping that they will be like insurance - now that he has them, he won't need them! It's much nicer to hike when you are warm and dry. The NOAA radar shows the east coast under water but hopefully, only scattered showers in the Smokies.

This is the NOC when he first got there. He and Ninja (Gronk called him that because he sneaks up silently) were sharing a pizza while doing laundry at the NOC:

And here are some pix after the sun came out:


  1. Wow, lots of water and none to drink!!!!

    Glad the sun has come out. I'm sure it raises the spirits.


  2. I'm with you in spirit Peter, less tiring :-)

    Very impressed with your accomplishments, keep the info coming, great reading every day.


  3. I'm glad to hear that the weather is better today. It must be so nice to hike in sunshine and flowering trees. Pizza? nice treat after the wet trudge to shelter!

  4. Yay! Sunshine! Pizza! Carbs! Dogwood! Facetime! Fleece!

  5. Thanks for your comments, all! Gronk expected to be out of communication range for a few days, but he will appreciate the support when he gets to read this!

  6. Hi Peter, I am glad to hear that the sun is out again. I hope that the weather continues to be great. Take care of yourself and enjoy every moment of your adventure. I look forward to reading your entries on your blog. Thanks to Julia for posting these entries. Take care, Kathleen

  7. A wise man on the A.T. once told me "Time wounds all heels" I hope your blisters are getting better.
    Good Penny