About the Author, Amy Banuelos: “Hi friends! I’m Amy…an outdoorsy, yet prissy, ice cream addicted, fitness obsessed, adventure seeker. This April, my boyfriend John and I will be attempting a NOBO thru hike on the AT. We are documenting everything from start to finish on our YouTube channel and we’d love for you to tag along!”

Day 22

The trail was completely flooded…literally the water came up to my ankles and the rain dumped on us all day. I was determined to get out of the Smokies. We hiked an 18 mile day, forged 5 dangerous river crossings and braved the cold, wet, windy trail but we are finally out of the Smokies. My parents picked us up and our first stop was McDonalds. I ordered an ice cream cone, 10 piece chicken nuggets, large fry, apple pie and large Fanta and I ate it all!! I’ve never been so happy to eat fast food in my life! We then headed into Asheville where we will spend a few days and enjoy a much needed break. I think John will see a doctor for his foot and I’m hoping to get a massage. 

Days 23-24

Zero days in town.

Day 25

John went to the doctor for his foot but also because he had food poisoning or norovirus. We aren’t sure which one. The doctor gave him anti-nausea pills and sent him on his way. I didn’t get a massage but I did ice my legs quite a bit and also bought a tennis ball to roll out the tight areas in my hips and down the IT band. We got back on the trail today, starting at I-40. I felt great all day. No pain in my legs but I am still feeling tightness in my hips so I plan on rolling them out before bed. We are ending the day camping on Max Patch. No better place to fall asleep. This is my third time camping on Max Patch and I can say without a doubt it is one of my favorite spots. After dropping us off this morning, my parents decided to get a cabin in Hot Springs. Looks like we’re in for a couple more zeros. I am not complaining. 

Day 26

Well, I did it again. I sprained my ankle. Grrrr. About 5 years ago I badly sprained my ankle and have sprained it multiple times since then. It never returned to normal. I was really irritated at myself when it happened today. I stepped on a rock and my foot rolled. Totally could’ve avoided such a stupid mistake. Anyway, after spraining it I did try to soak it in a stream as best as I could. Those streams are cold!!! Despite the sprain, we pushed close to 20 miles today. Our biggest mile day yet. We made it to Hot Springs and went straight to the Smoky Mountain Diner. Food never tasted so good. 

Days 27-28

Zero days in town.

Day 29

We left Hot Springs this morning. Said our goodbyes to my parents and pup one more time. I was really sad to be leaving them again knowing that the next time I will be seeing them wouldn’t be until I complete the trail. We opted for a shorter day to allow my ankle to adjust to trail life again. It was so nice to hike without a deadline. I honestly have not been enjoying the trail since the NOC. Ever since then I’ve felt like we were in a time crunch each day to get the miles in. It was wearing on me physically and mentally. Even though we hiked through rain, heavy wind and hail today, I was happy because I wasn’t pushing myself past my limit. My mom said something to me last night and I’ve been repeating it all day. She said, “you have to make it to Maine, little one.” Yes mom. I will, without a doubt, make it to Maine. 

Day 30

I woke up this morning with news that my boyfriend scheduled lunch with our favorite trail angel, Applesauce. Even though that meant we had a “schedule” to follow, I was very excited to see Applesauce again. He helped us through one of the most difficult times on the trail and I am forever grateful to him. We hiked 5 miles to meet him and he drove us into town. After shoving food into my mouth like I hadn’t eaten in days, he dropped us off back at the trail. We hiked another 6 or so miles to a beautiful and empty campsite. I am so shocked we are the only hikers here. I wonder how much longer we will have the place to ourselves.