Big Bald and BBQ

As Anne has mentioned, the days we hiked between Hot Springs, NC and Erwin, TN were extremely foggy. We couldn’t see more than a few yards for hours on end. It had a strange effect on our ability to measure the passage of time.

There was one exceptional day, and we were lucky to climb a mountain called “Big Bald” during a clear and sunny afternoon. The weather was warm and the views were awesome. It really bolstered our spirits after days of dreary dampness.

Our resupply point at the end of this leg was Erwin, TN. We were eager to get cleaned up and sleep in a cabin at a hostel just off the trail there by the Nolichuky River. Although our mileage was short the day we arrived, somehow a number of hikers got there ahead of us and booked up all the rooms. We were obliged to tent in the yard under a group of pine trees. We were still able to enjoy a hot shower, use of the laundry room and most importantly a shuttle downtown for lunch, dinner and resupply.

We went straight for the Hawg-n-Dawg. The proprietor was a great guy and gave us the run down of the menu, which is, as you have probably inferred, all hot dogs and BBQ. We each ordered the Super Hawg-n-Dawg, a quarter pound hot dog in a bun filled with pork BBQ, topped with chili, coleslaw, mustard and your choice of the half a dozen sauces offered. It was probably – no definitely – the best thing I have eaten on this journey. I drank two root beers and ate another large BBQ sandwich. Anne had iced tea and shared a strawberry cake with ice cream with me.

Our appetites are seemingly endless and eating in towns is a slippery slope into indigestion. We took just few hours off before catching the next shuttle to the KFC buffet. I didn’t know that the Colonel did a buffet. Surprisingly, vegetables made a good showing, especially those coated in mayo or simmered in butter. We kind of regretted it later, but we definitely got our money’s worth.

There is only about a week of hiking till we hit southern Virginia. The next few days will take us back over 6,000 feet for the last time until we reach New England…


Stone stairs leading to Firescald Knob


We found a giant crack rock on the trail!


Strange patterns in the wood of a dead tree.


Typical lunch of rye crackers, tuna and peanut butter. The view was better than the fare.


Willett on the way up to Big Bald.


Anne near the top of Big Bald.


Travis on top of Big Bald, with Big Stamp in the background.


Travis at High Rock, another peak the same day.


The Super Hawg-n-Dawg in Erwin, TN.


Pork BBQ and strawberry cake.


After five months of Snickers Bars and couscous, eating all the meat and vegetables I can get my hands on...
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6 Responses to Big Bald and BBQ

  1. Siddharth says:


    I imagine the buffet folks around these town must get quite a kick outta people coming in and trying to eat everything in sight 🙂

    So your last Day in the Life post was fantastic- thanks for answering so many questions.

    A few questions. You guys meticulously planned your packs.

    1- Best gear choice?
    2- Worst gear choice?

    And most importantly, how is your lulu gear holding up? I sure the LGUT is holding up better than the rest…

    • Ahh yes, gear.

      So far we’d say our best choices have been the sleep system (sleeping bag + pads) and our newly acquired Platypus gravity water filter. We sleep incredibly well out here due in large part to our cushy set up. The filter saves us from about 30 minutes a day of pumping water and is pleasantly simple in its operation.

      As for worst choices, nothing has really stood our except for the whole hiking boots thing. We are both much more comfortable in less substantial shoes. Our packs are fairly light and so far the terrain, even at its worst, has been quite passable.

      I (Anne) have been quite amazed at how well the lulu gear is working, although we can both attest that silverescent has its limits… We each have precisely 2 outfits, one for hiking one for camp, and have alternated between them for an entire month. Thus far, wear and tear is more than normal but by no means “damage.” So yes, tell all of your future AT hikers-in-training to outfit themselves in lululemon!

  2. marcia says:

    I loved these pictures — the rocks, especially, are fabulous. And ditto to the comment about “a day in the life of.” No pics, to be sure, but learning how you are spending your days was quite wonderful.

  3. Kassi says:

    That hot dog looks delicious. I want one.

    Does Willet carry his own food? What is he eating on the trip? Any change in his normal eating habits?

    • He does! He carries between 4 and 7 pounds of food depending on how many days of hiking we have between resupplies. He doesn’t mind the weight once his pack is on and he remains remarkably nimble hopping around and ducking between branches.

      He now eats about 1.5 times what he ate in Arlington and, like us, gets generous rations when we are in town and can indulge in heavy things like canned food…

  4. Penny Bardel says:

    Anne and T, we are reading all the blog entries with much admiration and fascination. And the photos are terrific !
    Keep up the great work, and just think of the warmer weather coming.
    xx, Penny and Bill

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