April 27, 28 - Erwin, TN, Uncle Johnny's Hostel (341.5)

Really good night sleeping, and on Trail at 7. Achin is back trail somewhere, and I want to get to the hostel early enough to get space for us both.

Hike is pretty uneventful to interim shelter, No Business Knob Shelter. Someone has written on shelter wall, "No privy, no water, No Business". Check map and there is no water here or anywhere up to hostel. One liter will have to do for the nearly seven sunny, hot miles.

Luckily trail pretty straight forward, and at a few locations get an overview of Erwin, plus impressive  views (and roar from) the Nolichucky River. Exit trail, turn left walk 100 yards and at hostel. Am able to get a two person cabin, but only for night, so drop off pack, get a shower and settle in on the open-air hiker porch. It has a really relaxing hammock chair. Very active hostel, lots of hikers (mostly in their 20's) are here. Shuttle will leave at 5 for dinner and a stop at WalMart. Achin arrives about 20 minutes before this leaves, and stays at hostel.

Two shuttle vans head out full of hikers. We roll up to a Mexican restaurant which is ready, with one very long table set up. Complete menu and full bar, can't quite figure out how many ounces of margaritas are consumed. From there we can walk over to Walmart.

Get back to hostel and Achin says he's ready to stop hiking and head home. Realizing we need to go faster to finish, but it's not fun at this point. Says he'll sleep on it.

Lots of hikers, but only one washer and dryer, which I can only get to at 3:30 AM.

In morning Achin admits to feeling conflicted, but decides he wants to leave. We take shuttle for breakfast, I move to the bunkhouse and Achin finds a room at a motel. We take lunch shuttle, which will drop him off, and we say goodbye.

A great partnership. It will be hard to start the trail tomorrow. Chance encounter on day one and we, both novices, learned how to hike the AT.

Bad storms are rolling across the country, with rain and worse expected the next two days. Big thunder storms here for an hour this afternoon. Regardless, unless weather is really bad, heading out in the morning.


  1. Jeff, I'm so sad to hear about Achin. What a total drag for you and him both! I was just on his blog grabbing the photo of you, Trudger, and him in front of the Hiawassee Budget Inn to run with your article. Keep the faith, I'm sure you'll find another hiking buddy soon.
    Happy trails, and post more photos. I need them for your newspaper blog.
    Lisa A2z

  2. Uncle Jeff! Hey it's Erika! Hope all is well and that you're drying off from all this nasty wet weather. Justin and I are sooooooo excited to meet up and hike with you. My Dad mentioned that it would be best if we met up with you when you get closer to the Berkshires instead of when you near the wonderful land of mary :)

    Guess we'll figure it out later. But regardless.... Can't wait to see you!! I'll bring you some killer trail mix. Stay safe! So proud of you for doing this! Sorry your friend left the trail :(

    Love you,

    i'm expecting you to have a gandalf beard next time i see you. plz dont disappoint ur fav niece.....

  3. Thanks EB, looking forward to it. But that's not your picture.


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