The initial view from the Ford van initiated a feeling of an overwhelming sensation, induced with anxiety and anticipation. The trip leaders parked the van and gave a run down of the first day’s segment. Trip Leaders, Bekah and Samuel gathered the group and headed into the dense back country of the Smoky Mountains.
The first day entailed an easy route of only 2.7 miles, leading the group to the first camp site that was on the banks. Tucked amongst a portion of the 2,100 miles of river stream that runs throughout the mountains. The first day’s events included battling the efforts of putting together odd shaped tents and hammock placements and the chilling weather.
Upon night fall, the true beauty of a hiker’s experience is exposed. Hikers from far and wide are brought together by the warmth and enchanting allure of a camp fire. Individuals shared their stories, compared trips, and spoke of everything that could possibly be thrown through conversations.
The following day brought the uphill battle of hiking up the mountain, with the destination of the begging route of the Appalachian Trail and Spence’s Field. Day Two’s travel took only three hours and a little over 10 miles until the oasis of comforting fields were met. Throughout the trip, hikers continued to expose themselves. As a novice hiker, I encountered the lingo and fed my fascination of the Smoky Mountain’s beautiful scenery.
Following a rewarding a relaxing session embraced by Spence’s Field comforting grassy abode, the journey continued to view a shelter along the AT and some of the current travelers. Trail magic was shared and the 3 mile hike back to the campsite continued. Upon the last dinner shared, a feast of macaroni, sausage, and a fresh pepper were shared over tips of how to make the most of one’s sleeping experience and the legends of the Appalachian back country.
The final day brought a bittersweet feeling among many of the hikers. The daunting thought of a 0.7 uphill hike with full gear grinded the kneecaps with anticipation. While the last day jitters brought upon the thought that only 9 miles separated the morning and long five hour drive back home.
Post-backpacking, the trip offered exactly what were expected—new friends, larger goals in hiking, and the feeling of experiencing the beauty of the motherland’s natural state.