Natahala Outdoors Center is definitely on my list of must return. Eating at the resturant right on the trail overlooking the kayakers wanted me to go back with Robby my son to try our hands at white water. before I got chilled from the cool shade and iced tea I started to tear up thinking how much fun it would have been to see my sons paddling around, making fun of each other. Experiencing these ups fillls my heart with emotion and my eyes with liquid sunshine.

After a night of dreaming. Are they dreams when you wake up and your reality is worse knowing it was only a dream, that your father in law and son really aren’t out at the farm? Anyway after a night we climbed out of the NOC. And we climbed. There are 3 in our party now which makes things different for me. I’m sticking with Just Greg, not Funk. Oh, he is no longer Mingo, he introduces himself as “Just Greg” So that’s what we call him. It fits his unassuming nature. And Funk fits his.  We met Chef and another kid at the gap who are loving life, skipping miles, and still having fun. We passed several older women along the trail leading upward for 19 miles until we camped on a grassy knoll. Not The grassy knoll. A older female postal worker was camping there. Just Greg startled her in her tent. He was without pack searching ahead for a site. “You don’t look like a thru hiker” she told him. Later she let us know she was packing mace “for the men, not the bears”.

I had a tough time keeping up as we climbed Jacob’s Ladder. I wondered how many people even know who Jacob was? That night I thought seriously about leaving Just Greg and Funk the next day but I read in Mathew how Jesus was calling his people to be a servant. that was a message to me to sick it out with them despite Funk’s plan to only hike 10 miles and stay at Fontana Dam. So that’s what we did. Today we got resupplied, again my pack feels heavy…h.e.a.v.y. Heavy.  Tomorrow we enter the Smokies and into Tennessee,my 3rd state. We will cross back into NC in about 5 days. We are all a bit apprehensive about the Smokies but I got a bivvy sack to increase my sleeping bag’s warmth and dryness, got a ton of food, and know I’m with a guy who has my back.

We climb up for about 10 miles tomorrow before it “levels” off a bit.

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8 thoughts on “UPS & DOWNS AND UP AGAIN

  1. Andy, I thought you’d like to know that although Cole was not at the game, the Pirates beat the JASA Blast 4-1!



      1. A friend of mine taped a presentation I did back in the Fall and recently edited it so I could post it on After going to the website, just search for Andy Davidson thru hiking thru life and you should get the 3 parts. The total presentation lasts about an hour. Hopefully it will make you laugh and think. Since I last wrote, I have to say I really miss the trail and miss conversing with y’all even more. I’ve been working on another project which I hope to announce in the near future. Until then I have dreams of jumping in the truck with Lor and Belle (our Springer Spaniel) and back packing out West this summer. (Just don’t tell my employer).

        Take care, “Phantom”

        I can’t thank you enough for all the support. Feel free to spread the word and I apologize to some of you who may be getting this notice as a repeat.


  2. Andy, I just caught up on your blog from the beginning…Mike is keeping track as well. Hope to see you and offer food, shelter and a hot shower if you and others? are interested when you make it through. Mike says the trail is only 3-4 miles up the road. We will continue to pray for you and follow you along on your blog…may you have peaks of sunshine and a few smiles today to fill your heart. FYI…The “Wizard” is favored to come out on top on this one! Dore


  3. Glad to hear you had a good day today, and the party’s growing! I am happier knowing you are with a”tribe” rather than on your own. Keep up the great work. ❤


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