ADDENDUM: Day 57 (16 May 2013, Thursday) 17.4 Mi_317.4 Mi/Sams Gap, US 23, I-26

Pinoy Airman after he got home...
...after hair cut and shaving his head.
It is great Pinoy Airman is home and recuperating; we will be back in the Appalachian Trail next year.

To all our friends and families, we need your donations to support the United Service Organizations (USO) and the American Red Cross (ARC).  This is a walk Khris started to return something back to these two long-serving charitable institutions.  They have been supporting and providing services and programs for the welfare of US Armed Forces personnel even before WWII.  His purpose is to honor his service and the US Armed Forces heroes, past and present, by getting his friends and families consciously aware of the USO and the ARC and by providing them moral support.

We are expecting our friends and families to participate to this worthy cause. Please write us an e-mail for any questions you may have.

Thanks in advance for all your donations to the USO and the ARC!

Day 57 (16 May 2013, Thursday) 17.4 Mi_317.4 Mi/Sams Gap, US 23, I-26

...another graveyard in the Appalachian Trail (AT).
The same graveyard above from afar....
The Flint Mountain Shelter; sleeps eight.
Devils Fork Gap (3115 Ft ASL), NC 212.
Devils Fork Gap from the North side of NC 212.
Mini-Waterfall at Lick Rock (4541 Ft ASL). 
Rick "BIO" Cook--sectional hiker
extraordinaire from Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Harry--an 87 YO hiker from Munich, Germany
Poo Bear?  Your guess is as good as mine...
Sams Gap, US 23, I-26
The "Hungry Hikers" (12 oz burger w/ lots of fries) from
the menu of Smoky Mountain Diner at Hot Springs, NC 
Pinoy Airman with Rick "BIO" Cook and Brian Gruber
muching the "Hungry Hikers"
Pinoy Airman hiked his farthest miles in the AT today--17.1 mile.  However, he decided to come home because of his worsening knees and heels.  If not for BIO and Brian, two great hiking friends, his knees and heels would have been worse by now.  I considered them trail angels and as fate would have it--they showed up in a time when Pinoy Airman was considering whether to continue walking or take at least two zeroes in the trail.  He took the chance meeting and being caught up with BIO as heavenly signs to his dilemma.  Pinoy Airman knew that his knees and heels would only get worse and only delay the inevitable--aggravate both feet.  His body and spirit would never be here if he were erred; however, Appalachian Trail would always be here.  WE would see you next year.

Day 56 (15 May 2013, Wednesday) 15.4 Mi_300.3 Mi/Jerry's Cabin Shelter

Creek Bald Lookout Tower (4750 Ft ASL); View/Shot
taken from the Big Firescald Knob (4549 Ft ASL) ridgeline
View from the East ridgeline of Big Firescald Knob (4549 Ft ASL)
View from the West ridgeline of Big Firescald Knob (4549 Ft ASL)
Another view...Big Firescald Knob.
Jerry's Cabin Shelter; sleeps six.
This was a strenuous day for Pinoy Airman.  The boulders at the Big Firescald Knob were painful and annoying; he slowly navigated through them but at the end of the day, his knees and heels were tender and aching.  He called me from the top of the ridgeline and skyped; one of the rare occasions, AT&T had 4G signals.  He showed me the view looking to the West (Tennessee) and East (North Carolina) of the ridgeline from his cell phone (Samsung Galaxy Note).  It was a first-rate view similar to the Smokey Mountains from the Clingmans Dome. Pinoy Airman reached the 300-mile marker today.

Day 55 (14 May 2013, Tuesday) 5.1 Mi_284.9 Mi/Spring Mountain Shelter

One of the many gravestone you will see along the AT.
Spring Mountain Shelter; sleeps five. 
Another view of Spring MTN Shelter coming from the South
It was a nice Mother's Day weekend with Pinoy Airman and we have to leave.  EJ and I had a great time visiting him at Hot Springs, NC and we stayed at Newport, TN.  The spa at Hot Springs was great; he had made a reservation during Mother's Day at the Hot Spring Resort Spa--see Day 53 pics.  We hated to leave him but we have to go.  He felt I was in tears and sad, to leave him hiking in the woods by himself.  Life goes on...     

Zero Day (13 May 2013, Monday) 00.0 Mi_279.8 Mi/Newport, TN

Spent zero day with Sweetheart and EJ at Newport, TN relaxing all day.  No pics today...

Day 53 (12 May 2013, Sunday) 5.9 Mi_279.8 Mi/Tanyard Gap

AT symbols are embossed on the
sidewalks at Hot Springs, NC 
View of Hot Springs Town at Lovers Leap Rock (1682 Ft ASL)
Tanyard Gap--Green Hornet parked
with EJ and I in the background.
EJ and I racing towards Pinoy Airman.
...EJ was fast and quick on the gun.
Pinoy Airman and Sweetheart waiting for spa call time.
EJ and Sweetheart having bonding time on Mother's Day...
...Another bonding pic between Mom and Daughter.
...How sweet it is to be loved by Sweetheart!
A squirrel having a good time with the nut.
EJ at the I-40 West Tennessee Welcome Center
North Carolina side at the Newfound Gap 
Tennessee side at the Newfound Gap
EJ and I at the sign leading to the Clingmans Dome. 
EJ and I with the dome in the background.
EJ and I at the top of the Clingmans Dome.
A Cub bear seen roaming at
the Clingmans Dome Road 
Pinoy Airman spent Mother's Day with Sweetheart and his daughter, EJ.  He planned a bonding time with them; scheduled an hour spa treatment for EJ and Sweetheart at the Hot Springs Resort Cabins Campground and Spa.  After checking at the Hotel at Newport, TN, they proceeded to Gatlinburg, Newfound Gap, and Clingmans Dome in that order.  It was exhausting for all of them but it was worth it.  Tomorrow will be a zero day well planned and spent.

Day 52 (11 May 2013, Saturday) 3.2 Mi_273.9 Mi/Hot Springs, NC

AT Marker at the foot of Deer Park Mountain.
Sumptous lunch of beef brisket, coleslaw,
potato salad, and a bread roll for $8.00...
Cliff with the cooked beef brisket--completed
AT in the 80s.
Static Old Train car in front of the Hot Springs Resort and Spa
Hot Springs Marker 
Shot of the town from North Side, after the tracks
Would you believe this is the City Hall of Hot Springs, NC?
View of Hot Springs from the top of Surpentine Ave.
Pinoy Airman took less than two hours to come down to Hot Springs from Deer Park Mtn Shelter.  He decided to remain overnight at the Laughing Heart Lodge Hostel.  The Hostel was in excellent shape and recommended for any hikers.  One of the best seen by Pinoy Airman in the AT.  After securing a bunk, he went out and toured the town.  Talking about small town USA...Hot Springs, NC is one small town.

Day 51 (10 May 2013 Friday) 14.8 Mi_270.7 Mi/Deer Park Mountain Shelter

One of the few AT signs having multiple directions

Deer Park Mtn Shelter (sleeps 5):  one of the smallest AT shelter
Pinoy Airman was not exhausted today compared to yesterday's walk.  It will be an easy walk to Hot Springs, NC tomorrow--3.2 miles.  The campsite was full packed with less than 20 hikers. 

Day 50 (9 May 2013, Thursday) 15.1 Mi_255.9 Mi/Roaring Fork Shelter

FAA Tower at the Summit of the Snowbird Mtn (4263 Ft ASL)
First butterfly Pinoy Airman saw in the AT
Max Patch Summit Survey marker
Pinoy Airman at the Max Patch Summit (4269 Ft ASL)
Pinoy Airman started good but faded in the last three hours of hiking.  The sandals were not comfortable.  It added two more blisters to the collection.  Aside from these issues, the hike and the weather were nice.  Max Patch was absolutely gorgeous and beautiful.
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