Tri Corner Knob Shelter –> Davenport Gap Shelter: 7.4 miles
Total AT miles: 237.0
Tonight we camp in our last shelter of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. This section proved to be my favorite so far; although, favorite is a very relative term. I tend to live immersed in the moment and love almost every minute as much as the last.
Before entering the Smokies, we were told we would hate it; that we would rush to exit the high mountains as fast as possible. Were the weather bad, this may have been true. Exposed ridges and camps above 5,000 feet could have been hell, even deadly.
Lucky for us, the weather held. We only had a bit of rain. Not enough to soak us. Just enough to add diversity and make for a couple interesting days walking barefoot and splashing through puddles. Lets face it. My shoes, smelling worse than days old roadkill, needed the bath anyway.
We stop and take a break at a clearing with a view. The rain is holding off. The temperature is perfect for hiking. Mountain Goat finds a snail next to a puddle. Lunch?!
The trail in sections is muddy. Very muddy. Mountain Goat nearly looses her shoe. Flowers are in bloom though. Little white a purple ones that line the trail making it look like layers of fresh fallen snow.
The trail is super muddy and wet. Mountain Goat and me stop to brew some tea and dry our feet out. We hike the last few miles barefoot letting the mud ooze between our toes.
Icewater Spring Shelter –> Tri Corner Knob Shelter
222.2 Total AT Miles
Kodak here signing in from Damascus, Virginia 54 days, and 469 miles, into an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. The blog has fallen a bit behind, but I’m working to bring it up to date if the wifi here will cooperate. It’s spotty though I think it’ll do.
I arrived here two days ago and have been really out of sorts. I was lacking sleep, a condition caused by my stubborn refusal to use inflatable sleeping pads. Until last night that is. I finally caved trading my precious foam mat for an inflatable.
Weeks waking under-slept and stiff led to the decision. I spent thirty minutes yesterday laying on different mats on the floor of an outfitter before deciding on a Sea to Summit Ultra light mat.
Feeling exhausted from the previous nights toss-and-turn, I blew up the mat here at Woodchucks hostel and napped on a wooden bench. I woke feeling refreshed though still tired. I guess I’ve been sleeping worse than I thought!
Sleep was never a problem when pushing big miles. If your tired enough, you’ll sleep anywhere and on anything. The issue is: I haven’t been pushing big miles. Not even close! Our group enjoys a slow pace soaking in as many special moments as we can muster.
Anyway, I slept really well last night. I’ll need another night or two before I’m finally caught up, but a good nights sleep makes all the difference. I cannot wait for another.
The next ten posts or so will be mainly photographs. I began journaling again after Hot Springs so written words will resume shortly.
We managed to tear ourselves away from the comforts of the Hilton and hit the trail after another shower. I can’t say enough how much I enjoy a hot shower. I just can’t take enough of them.
Mr. Kool-Aid is a bit slow in the morning (understatement! Sorry dude 🙂 so Cool Dad, Savage, and Canuck hit the trail before us with the intentions of meeting up at the Russell Field Shelter. It did not happen.
Mr. Kool-Aid and I take our time and enjoy every single second we can. We stood and watched a family of deer with one of the yearlings walking within a few feet of us. We climbed a fire-tower and made coffee at it’s base with a group of girls we met in town. It felt a bit like running a Starbucks with Mr. Kool-Aid boiling water while I ran the drip. Ahh, nothing like fresh coffee to bring people together.
We hiked with the girls then pushed past the shelter they stayed at to meet up with our friends but didn’t find them there. They kept going past the planned stop and it was way too late for us to catch up. Oh well.
Entering Great Smokey Mountains National Park
Mr. Kool-Aid filming himself with a baby deer.
Mr. Kool-Aid with the baby deer
My Shadow and Mountain Goat filtering water from a stream.