Monday, May 6, 2013

And...we're off!

We’ve packed our toothbrushes and water bottles. We’re leaving behind the microwave and massage chair. We’ve traded in our canoe paddles for trekking poles and we’re heading to the Appalachian Mountains. We’ll hike part of the Appalachian Trail, learn about old-time mountain music, and spend a month living in one pair of underpants (maybe a few more than that).

If we can, we’ll keep you up-to-date as we go along. Not sure how many internet trees they have in Appalachia, but all we know is that it’s going to be great to get away from all that Minnesota snow.

Mountain Music Minstrel

Down in Ashville, NC lives a fella named David Holt. He is an authority when it comes to Appalachian-style music. In fact, Justin learned how to play the banjo from one of David’s instructional videos back in high school. David grew up in Texas and became fascinated with the old-time music of the Appalachian Mountains.

He showed us instruments like the mountain banjo (which is a lot different than the one Justin plays), steel guitar (which is a lot different than the one Joe plays), and the mouth bow. He also taught us about some cool percussion instruments like the washboard, spoons, and bones (rib bones from a cow).

Finding Our Trail Legs

We did our first Appalachian Trail (AT) hike on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. We loaded up our packs and walked 10 miles. This section of the trail was heavily wooded and went up 2000ft of elevation (whew!). We met a lot of folks along the way including a guy who was hiking in his bare feet. Made us feel spoiled in our fancy hiking boots.

Everyone we met on the trail had a trail name. A trail name is like a nickname used specifically while you're hiking. These names are given to you by fellow hikers (no naming your own self) and kind of describe something unique about the person. We met folks named, Nugget, Taskmaster, Pack Rat, Kombucha, U-Turn, Lotus, Chainsaw, Gypsy Dave, Tumbleweed, and Zach Galifinakis.

It turns out that hiking downhill is more difficult than uphill—who knew? We arrived to our campsite sore and tired from the 10-mile trek. Since this was our first hike, we didn’t get special nicknames of our own. Hopefully we’ll find them further up the trail.

Hiking The Clouds

The other day we climbed up to a special place on the trail called Max Patch (Google that one). We were told it’s the best view this side of the Mississippi. Rolling hills, fluffy clouds, and gentle breezes on a patch of field 4600 feet above sea level. However, we picked the wrong day.

At the summit we were met with 50 mph winds, rain, hail, and nothin’ to see ‘cept for nothin’.  It’s pretty hard to roll cameras in conditions like that, but we went the extra mile to show you what hiking through a cloud is like.


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  2. Sounds absolutely fantastic!!!
    Thanks for your updates!!!

    -Matt, Susie, Fiona & Audrey Lenz

  3. Way to go Guys! Can't wait to catch up to you soon! Thrilled to hear how it is going.

  4. Hey! You're in my neck of the woods! Stay safe out there, and let Hans and me know if you need a place to shower!

  5. My kids and I love your music. What a cool adventure to take on. My son and I are heading to Yellowstone this summer for a trip with the Boy Scouts. One day we too will hike the Appalachian Trail. Enjoy your trek and be safe.

    --The Paul Family---
    (Mom, Dad, Joey, Genevieve, and Juliette)

  6. Was listening to your album this morning- love following your adventures!!