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!