The New & Improved Dasek Family

The New & Improved Dasek Family
Clive Nicholas Dasek (2 days old)

The Dynamic Duo

The Dynamic Duo
Daddy Longlegs and Sassy Sunshine sketched by Stewball

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Vermonsters' Hot Springs Vacation

After hiking big miles and nearing 300 in three weeks we've taken a bit of a break in a small town called Hot Springs (NC). We've been hiking with a group over the last week and after our stop in Gatlinburg, TN the six of us polished off a "Vermonster" from Ben & Jerry's (look it up; it's insane!) in 20 minutes we have taken the name on. Stew Ball, one of the dudes in our group, lived in Hot Springs for the past nine years and got us the hook up; a roomy cabin with a natural hot spring hot tub two nights for free! This kind of thing is pure luxury to anyone, but for hikers there isn't a word to describe the thrill we all had. We hiked into H.S. on Wednesday and it's now Saturday. Nick & Rach are debating on hiking out today or staying one more night at the "cat hole" (private property along the river owned by friends of Stew Ball's), which is where we camped last night. This way we can take full advantage of "Trail Fest" a festival put on by the town of Hot Springs for AT hikers. Those of you who know the town of Lake City where Rachel is from will appreciate the fact that Hot Springs is about two - three times smaller than L.C. Gotta run, will try to write from Erwin, TN in about five days!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nero Day in Franklin, NC

Nero Day - A day where one hikes a short time and takes the rest of the day off.
Over 100 miles in eight days! We never in a million years saw that one coming, but miss a shelter and have to put in a 19 mile day instead of the planned 14 will do it. Luckily good weather was on our side until yesterday when the thunder storms hit. The 19 mile day on Thursday put us ahead so that we only had four miles on Friday. Friday morn we woke around 6:40 and hit the trail by 7:45. We needed to hustle to make the 9:00/9:30 a.m. shuttle pick up to take us to Franklin, NC. About 1.5 miles up the trail the clouds rolled in and thunder began to boom. SassySunshine blew past Daddy Long Legs and didn't look back since he could easily catch up with her (his words;). The lightening, thunder, rain and hail had begun as we raced up the trail. SS got down to the pick up spot by 9:02 and joined the rest of the hikers standing around looking like drowned rats waiting for the shuttle. Hiker after hiker joined the crew, but no sign of DLL. SS began to worry when the hiker they passed together near the beginning of the trail came down and said that he hadn't seen DLL, so she took off her pack and ran up the trail to find him. "Praise be to God!" there he was coming down the trail drenched and looking relieved to see her. "I ducked in the woods to get away from the lightening over head", was his response to the obvious question of; "where have you been!?!". Two minutes later Ron Haven's shuttle (an old school bus) pulled up to take us into town. We got a room at the Budget Inn, reunited with some old friends (Old Corpus, Blessed, Stew Ball, Cat Whisperer & Bonesy), warmed up with a hot shower, stuffed our faces with an all you can eat Mexican buffet, did laundry & lounged around watching TV. This morning we were treated by a local church to a pancake breakfast. This town loves hikers and we love them for that.
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Zero Day...YAY!

What an amazing first seven days! We've hiked a total of 68 miles within six days and today we're taking a full day off of hiking - "zero day". A storm blew in two nights ago when we were camped up on Tray Mountain. News travels surprisingly fast out here and the word on the trail was that snow was on its way along with very low temperatures. Our plan (along with many others as we later saw) was to get up early on the morning of the 6th (yesterday), grab a bar for breakfast and head out ASAP to hike the 11 miles to the highway to hitch a ride into Hiawassee, GA. We hit the trail by 8:15 a.m. and reached the highway by 11:55 a.m. That could be our best time yet, though we were very motivated by the thought of getting out of the cold wind and into a cozy hostel.

The people here are so kind and helpful to hikers. A gentleman driving into town went out of his way to stop by the trail to see if any hikers needed a lift. This is the type of stuff we've experienced on a regular basis. These people are called "Trail Angels" and their acts of kindness are referred to as "trail magic". At Neels Gap we were treated to a BBQ put on by the
"Trail Dames". Nick put down two burgers, four hot dogs, chips, cookies, an apple & three cups of coffee. Rach ate two burgers, chips, banana & lots of fudge. We then hit some more trail angels at another highway crossing about two hours later where Nick picked up two beers and Rach ate a hot dog & chips. It's incredible; our appetites are HUGE these days, though people have said that the big appetites come later. We're kind of nervous to see how much bigger ours will get.

Last night we stayed at the Blueberry Patch Hostel, which is owned and ran by Gary & Lennie Poteat. They take donations for your stay, do your laundry for you, offer a shower and provide a delicious homemade breakfast in the morning. What lovely people!!! We've also met some wonderful people on the trail; "Bonesy", "Stew Ball", "Blessed", "Old Corpus", "Bark" & "Berry" just to name a few.

Tonight we're staying in town at the Hiawassee Inn. Luckily the library is within walking distance from the motel so we walked up here to jump online. We'll re-supply at the local grocery store, eat dinner out tonight and hit the trail tomorrow morning. Plan is to hit Franklin, NC by Saturday morning stay at another hostel and hit an Easter service somewhere in town. We have nine miles left in Georgia and though it's been beautiful it's been tough with the massive hills that seem to go on forever. We're looking forward to some new terrain.

We want to give a couple special thanks to some people; Lily for our mail drops; the first arrived in Blairsville/Neels Gap on the 3rd and really helped us out! We also want to thank Uncle Ted for driving us all of the way out to the trail head at Mount Springer. We hope you weren't late for your conference call.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers; they're working! We're fighting a few minor aches and pains, but nothing we can't handle. Other than that we are lovin life!

We've included a link below to our flickr account so you can view our photos. Hope you enjoy!‏

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Days 1, 2 and 3 on the Trail

This is our 4th day on the trail and as you've noticed by reading this post we have hit some civilization at last. Unfortunately, we don't have the ability to share any photos with you all since we're slightly limited on the one computer that's available at Mountain's Crossing in Neel's Gap, GA. So far the hike has been fun yet challenging. We've hiked 31.6 miles in our first three days and will put in another 10-11 in today to get past some trouble making bears who have taken over a shelter six miles up the trail.

Georgia has been tough, but not that tough. Thus far we've had quite a bit of rain, mud, spooky forests and some decent climbs (Blood Mountain yesterday). There hasn't been any crying yet, though Rachel has come close every time she sees a dog; we're both are missing our Molly very much. We'll keep you all posted on who loses it first out here. We met "Mini Sleeps" at the top of Springer Mountain on our first day and he gave us some great advice, "...don't ever make a decision on a rainy day or when things seem to be going wrong." We laugh with each other, or sometimes at each other, more than we've been grumbling. We're happy about that! I think our first laugh started with coming up with our trail names: Rachel is Sassy Sunshine; Nick is Daddy Long-Legs. We think both names are fitting. Please keep praying for health, common sense, and protection on our journey. Talk with you soon!