Nantahala, NC to Hot Springs, NC [274 miles]



I rarely look behind me when I hike. I’m hiking down a mountain and something inside me implores me: Turn around.

I spin around and see it:

The 2000 mile marker for southbound hikers (Maine to Georgia). However, to me, it means I still have 2000 miles left to hike. I try to wrap my mind around this concept.

My brain explodes.



I spent the last week hiking across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I learned the best thing for a hiker to hear upon arriving to a shelter in the howling rain is: “There’s always room for 1 more in the rain.”

Bless you for making space! That night, we crammed 17 hikers into a 12 person shelter… and even had an indoor fireplace and riddles. It was like a slumber party for smelly people.


Thanks to my fellow hikers!! For making space, for offering hot dogs, marshmallows, and for making fires on cold nights. And for offering me a McDonalds cheeseburger after a 15 mile day. I died from joy. You help me push on and will be what I remember 20 years from now. I might not remember the views, but will always remember watching a hiker trying for 20 minutes to saw through a log with a swiss-army knife (it didn’t work).


My body feels amazing for the torture inflicted on it so far. I even hiked a 21.8 miler on my 2 week trail-anniversivary. I was washing the mud off my legs a few days ago and was shocked at the size of my leg muscles. I am becoming stronger.

There have been rough moments too. At one point, I sat down in the middle of the trail and ate dry ramen noodles for a snack… And then started to eat the flavor packet.


This is my life now. I screwed something up somewhere.

Sorry for the short entry.. But I gotta run. It’s time to finish my resupply and organizing for the next stretch. And buy a bottle of wine for the hot tub tonight.

This is the house I’m in now. It has a hot tub in the back. I might never leave Hot Springs.



Hiking is for suckers.


Categories: North Carolina, Tennessee | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Nantahala, NC to Hot Springs, NC [274 miles]

  1. David Maltby

    I, for one, hope that you are able to leave Hot Springs when the time comes and continue this journey to the end of the AT. As you noted, you are getting stronger. I had the fortune of meeting you at Wayah shelter. I could see that you have the heart to take to to the end. Many blessings on your journey.

  2. My prayers are with you & all the through hikers. Hopefully we wiil see you in the Mt. Rodgers area

  3. Josiah

    Nice, looking good!!!!

  4. Loon

    A agree with David (above)…if I was going to bet money on someone, I’d bet you’ll make it to Katahdin. Thanks for the update Acorn. Thinking of you often.

  5. What an awesome thing, your experience at the shelter 🙂 Rock on!

  6. James workkman

    Hike on girl we are watching you!!! you may suffer, but you will never fall!!

  7. I love your blog! The graphics, especially the map, are great. I’m a little bit ahead of you, leaving Roan Mtn. this morning. Here’s my blog if you’re interested:

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