I heard from Jeff who is at Standing Bear Farm in Hartford, TN, a very unique hostel along the Appalachian Trail shortly after it leaves the Great Smokey Mountains and enters The Cherokee National Forest. Standing Bear Farm includes a turn of the century multi-generational farmstead built in the 1900, including the original homestead, barns, outbuildings and farmhouse. He's doing great and hopes to contact me on Sunday when he reaches Hot Springs. This hostel has a bunkhouse, a cabin over a stream, laundry, internet, tent area, and supply closet with supplies to make it far enough to Hot Springs, about 35 miles, where Jeff as a food box waiting for him. He probably needs it by now since he's been on the trail for five days and while he thought a box would last a week, I have to wonder. He's still sending post cards too, we rec'd the last one from Gatlinburg.
In the meantime, while we wait for more news form Hot Springs, here's a mind-blowing fact for all your thru-hikers and thru-hiker wannabes of the AT: quoted from taken from Gorp Parks Guide: The elevation gain and loss over the entire AT is equivalent to hiking from sea level to the summit of Mt. Everest and back to sea level... 16 times.