Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Day 12: Welcome to the smokies

5/2: mile 170.1 - 192.2 (22.1 miles)

Ah the joys of a tilted campsite and the clammy humidity induced feel of never being dry. Basically two cranky people this morning with zero interest in keeping the peace. Within one mile there was a short side trail, I headed up with a grumbled no thanks from Rest Stop as he continued on.

It was steep up to the Shuckstack fire tower and I was second guessing a detour where I added climbing. But as I headed up rickety wood states I changed my mind.

Low lying clouds are some of my all time favorites and the breeze was making me beyond happy. Plus see that brown dot in the top picture?

Fuzzy Bear hanging out eating leaves calm as can be. Looked up at me and went right back to munching.

Yup rickety wood stairs sans a railing totally worth it.

On cloud nine with a total mood change I bounded up and down the ridges. Enjoying the flowers, my constant pouring sweat (seriously 80 degrees every day?) and the views I could sneak through the trees.

The trees are bursting with flowers. I eventually found Rest Stop and we stopped for lunch at s seasonal spring. I managed to watch a mouse stealthily pull almost a whole plant into its den one leaf at a time. My favorite kind of tv.

The shelters in the national park have been really nice. Although a ridge runner told us this morning that this particular shelter was closed as of today. I guess for the last two nights one of the local bears has gone into the shelters and taken packs. Yikes.

The landscape starts to change as we head towards the top of Rocky Top Mountain. More grass and so many flowering trees. It reminds me of an orchard and the climb is no trouble as we pass new people and enjoy views.

The views are great up top but yet again thunder threatens. We chat with 4 new hikers but as it starts to sprinkle head off with a quickness.

I giggle as it starts to rain and thunder on top of thunder mountain but it's just a passing drizzle. Then a few more miles to the Derrick Knob shelter where I try to make friends and we kills a few hours during torrential downpours. We finally peel out with the goal of 3 miles, 15 miles to town sounds much nicer than 18.

Of course within 15 minutes it's raining hard again, strong winds and a riverside a trail. I remember this feeling, I think my feet may never dry again. We make our three miles and pitch the night. It's still raining but overall we're pretty dry and at Newfound Gap we get to hitch to Gatlinburg which I'm now looking forward to more than ever.

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  1. Maya we talked a little about zion tranverse. Didn't happen due to wife injury. You are in my old stompin ground. I remember going to NOC is 80s with scouts and practically lived ismokes as a kid. My first park serive job was at somkies! Gatlinbug is a tourist trap of biblical proportions! Haven't been to area area in a decade since i moved to ca in 89. Enjoy!!!

    1. I wondered what happened to your Zion trip, oh well another season. I've really been loving the trail so far, I'm excited by the smokies. Although I'm currently hiding from the snow on Clingmans and newfound gap as well as the tourists in Gatlinburg. Hey even out here you have to take some weather days.

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