So it was an epic 102.5 mile hike from New Found Gap to Devil Fork Gap. My body was sore and tired but my spirit was renewed and energized. I didn't carry my professional photo setup with me on this one, instead I had the iPhone and GoPro both provided by LL Bean. Great for lightweight fast travel and snagging a quick shot. I guess its true what they say, the best camera is the one you have with you. Some highlights from the trail below. LL Bean even edited together some of our footage into a pretty sweet little one minute video that they posted to instagram. I've posted that below too. This was definitely an experience of a lifetime and I feel honored and privileged to represent LL Bean on the Appalachian trail. Note that I did not take all the photos, its a mix from both my hiking partner Nicole Cochran and I. Also, they are not necessarily in order...
We landed in Asheville and needed a place to crash for one night before we hit the trail the next day so we stayed at the Sweet Pea hostel, highly recommend staying there if you need to crash while passing through or spending time in Asheville. Not to be confused with the images below, which are from the first shelter we stayed in on the trail.
This was the first shelter we stayed at and were greeted with a gorgeous morning sunrise.
This is my classic, explosion that happens when we reach our destination each day.
31 miles in!!!
Walking through the town of Hot Springs.
Max Patch - we were here just in time for a lovely thunder storm! Check out the photo below, you can even see the faint line from a lightning strike just above my head. Yop, we hustled out of there pretty quick. So much for a lunch break....
Looking back at Hot Springs after we ascended out of the valley.
We camped out on top of Snowbird Mountain, pure magic to setup/packup camp and eat dinner/brekky while watching the sunset/rise. LLB provided us each with our own microlight 1 person backpacking tents. These things were awesome, especially for only weighing in at only 2 lbs and 4.5 oz. They also pack super tiny and take up very little space. These tents were loaned to us for this trip, but the two person version is on my wishlist for sure (I gotta have room for Remy, my doggo!!). Also, in the photo below you can see one of the hiking poles we used. Those were also on loan to us from LLB, the antishock hikelite poles. They were amazing and it was also my first time hiking with poles and now I will never hike without them. I've since bought my own pair, I love the crud out of them.
Note for next time, don't forget to duck when you charge under a fallen tree... the Smoky Mtns left their mark!