I have found myself in town and short on words once again; it seems to be a recurring theme of late. I am full of thoughts that I want to capture while I’m walking but somehow they evaporate when I am still. So, I give you some images from the last stretch of miles.

The northern Smokies were just as fabulous as the southern parts, maybe better. Lots of ridge walking and expansive views, neither of which the AT is reputed to have too much of.

And then an abrupt transition as we found ourselves following white blazes on a guardrail to pass under I-40 about two miles outside the park.

Returning to lower elevations, it is apparent that the season is changing, with the bright shades of new leaves moving higher up in the forest canopy. More and more things are looking familiar as it all comes to life. I am both enjoying more shade and lamenting the reduced views as everything fills in.

And we found ourselves in a most restful spot, a quiet corner in an old Victorian home where the plaque in our room tells us that the very first AT through-hiker slept right here on his journey in 1948.

We left home four weeks ago today. It feels like an age, and yet we are still finding our way. We feel strong and morale is good, unless you ask around 3p when the legs are tired and the joints start hurting and descending among rocks and roots and mud feels like each step has the potential to be catastrophic. But then we find a place to camp, and rinse off the day’s miles in a creek and eat a hot meal and lay down to rest accompanied by a chorus of owls or coyotes or squirrel chatter, and it’s all more than worth it.

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