Much to our disappointment we had to make the good-parenting decision and send Hunter home from Maryland. He has been doing fine, the week sitting in the boat during the aqua-blaze really helped the cracks in his paws heal up, but the upcoming heat and rocks of Pennsylvania would still be enough to do him in. We’re pretty sure he would be okay, if he had to walk it, but the risk of him injuring himself is just too high for our liking. We had the opportunity to send him back to Maine for about 4 weeks with my parents and it was one we just couldn’t turn down. We’ll be picking him up again somewhere around the Massachusetts/Connecticut border, which will give him an 800 mile section and a 700 mile section – not bad by any standards! Once he gets back to the trail we’ll be sure to update the world on how he is doing with the New England mountains, especially with how silly he makes us humans look climbing through a boulder field!
Our pup, Hunter, joined us after Lindsay healed up from her tailbone dislocation to finish off our 2014 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike team; making us Hunter and The Fat Kids. Hunter is not your average pound dog and therefore not your average trail dog either. What they didn’t tell us when we adopted him from the pound 3+ years ago is that he is 1/3 Chow Chow, 1/3 Alaskan Husky and 1/3 Mountain Goat. He is the perfect companion for a long distance hike; athletic, agile, powerful, durable and possesses a level of endurance that Lindsay and I can’t come close to touching!
It’s pretty rare for us to dedicate a whole post to one place or experience on the trail, the Black Bear Lodge just outside of Hampton, TN happened to be one of those experiences. We planned on coming in for the night to take a shower, drink a beer and sleep in a bed for the first time in two weeks and ended up getting hit by our first “town vortex” and staying for three whole days!
After a half day in Erwin to get a few supplies and some take out food, the boots kept walking north in a two week effort to get from Hot Springs, NC to Damascus, VA by the 5th of June. As the number of major mountains to climb changed from something you need fingers and toes to count to just a handful left, the lofty goal became something obtainable. After a day off in Hot Springs we planned on two 1/2 days during our 14 day run to Damascus and then a nice two day break in “Trail Town USA”. Well, as plans often go…