Day 19 – I have stumbled across an oddity!

0.0 miles

In my travels along the trail I have come across an odd collection of strange buildings.  This strange collection of buildings has seemed to attract a large gathering of people as well.
Near the entrance of this place was a sign stating that the name of this makeshift village is Gatlinburg.  I am not exactly sure how to discribe it but after discussing it with fellow hikers, Not Yet and Roadside, the best description I can give is that one upon a time a carnival came to this place and decided it would never leave. Eventually, hotels, and restaurants started popping up near this carnival and what became of that is what is now known as Gatlinburg.
It was very strange spending a day in this town, with its combination of cabin-like buildings mixed with typical Friday’s and McDonalds along side carnivalesque Ripley’s museums and funhouse mini golf.  I walked amongst the locals and tourists and felt about as out of place as I have ever felt in my life.  Seeing more people in a half hour than I have in the past three weeks combined.
I spent the day in this town, awaiting packages from Maria in far away New York.  After a minimal amount of time walking among the throngs of people, I ran back to the shelter of my room to hide like the groundhog running from his own shadow.
Now, before I set forth upon this Appalachian adventure my mother had expressed a great deal of concern about how bored I would be doing this hike. She has never been a huge fan of the outdoors and doesn’t understand the appeal of it, to each their own, for everyone has different things that make them happy. What I experienced today was the exact opposite.
I spent the day in town with all the various comforts and luxuries.  My room had a fridge, microwave, shower, heater, bed and television and the town had many restaurants a large outfitter, many different shops and various odd museums and an aquarium.  With all that in the area and at my disposal, today turned out to be the most boring, waste of a day that I have had since leaving New York 3 weeks ago.
All I wanted to do was get back to the trail.  I had to head back into town to get my package (filled with literally 5 1/2 pounds of delicious junk food), then walk through all the people again to get some non-junk food, pack and get to sleep.  I spent some time talking to Maria and my buddy Nilanj about this odd town and how bored I was being in it. They both, having lived the hiker life within the past year, completely understood my plight.
I am a much happier person hiking mountains with a heavy backpack on and aches and pains in my body, even through the cold and frozen rain than I am in a town with all the amenities you could desire.
All I can think about is getting back to the trail and hiking like crazy tomorrow than rewarding myself with eating crappy food and sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress.
Tomorrow can’t come soon enough.
Good night everyone! 
   

 

   

     

17 thoughts on “Day 19 – I have stumbled across an oddity!

  1. Hi Jason, I leave from Springer on April 10, and your blog has been a wonderful preparation for my hike. I’ve already finished Katahdin through New York, and am looking forward to getting back on the trail in a few weeks. I could totally relate to today’s blog—I always feel most lonely when I’m in a large group of people and most at home with a small group of friends. Thanks for being so instrumental in preparing me for the inevitable ups and downs of the trail. And thanks Maria for all you’re doing to make this blog and Jason’s hike possible. Hope you both have a great day today!

  2. An Oddity? Ripley-esque museum?

    When you arrived at this town and saw this all, would you say you believed it (or not)?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAAH.

    Whatever. Hikers need to laugh too.

    Hike on my brother.

  3. Hey Hermit – great blog today; I totally understand what you experienced and how you reacted to Gatlinburg — But then I just have to ask, why do you live in New York City? (And do you expect your return there to be something of a shock to your system?)

  4. I feel your words. I could leave all the shops, stores, and the typical behind for farm life. A true preference that would make me happy. Of course near a big body if water of some sorts… good luck brotha!!

  5. Interesting how quickly we adapt to our surroundings. It may be a culture shock upon your return to NYC, but then you’ll soon be back out on the road all over again!

  6. Yeah, I’m sure there will be a huge culture shock when I return there. Still, New York makes sense to me and I love having everything within walking distance, which I understand is an extremely relative term now, but it is a bit busy for me. Not sure what Maria and I might do when we return from South America.

    1. The NYC convenience can’t be beat, for sure. Who knows what you’ll do after South America – your lives may do a complete 180!

  7. Excellent post. Put me in the Maine woods with a pack carrying my lunch and some water (and perhaps a sweatshirt) and I’m happy as a clam. {did someone say clam chowder–yum} Put me in a HUGE city and I walk until my feet hurt. Maybe I walk to see everything or maybe my brain is like: “must escape. must escape. must escape.” I have no idea. I’ve wondered if my connection to nature is in my roots since I’ve got Native American Blood, French Canadian blood (so French), and Russian blood. It’s hard not to think of my ancestors and their connection to nature and what they would do if in a big city. I live in the city and the country for this very reason. I love the city but I love my country time too.

  8. Welcome to Tennessee! Yes, we are a strange lot out here. Actually, I’ve never been to Gatlinburg, although I’ve considered it. We aren’t much for the teeming masses either. My older son is still mad at me for never going to NYC when we spent a couple years in NNY. The very idea of that city scares me. Too many people and to easy for strangers to get lost…and taken advantage of. Enjoying your travels!

  9. gatlinburg is completely nuts, one of the weirder places i’ve seen, funny to see your description! hike on, i’m enjoying following you!

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