Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Day 18: Balds!

Mile: 243.1 - 263.2 (20.1 miles)

The first climb of the day brought me to Snowbird Peak. My guidebook had the cute little fire tower symbol on the peak so I was excited for views. Turns out it's actually some type of FAA site and rather official and certainly not climbable. Oh well all least I'm finally getting balds that look like what I imagined. Grassy slopes and views, not a bad start.

Then it was back to good old AT style trail. I hadn't realized how used to the national park trails I had gotten. The Smokies seemed like mostly long ascents and descents, now it's back to almost berm we flat just constant rolling 200-700 ft gains and losses. It feels good to be back.

We climb up to Max Patch, one of the few places I've heard of, even though I can't remember why. It's a giant grassy bald, with beautiful views and a ton of people. With a parking lot 0.2 miles from the top and a sunny Sunday I'm not surprised by the crowds. I almost fall asleep in the grass, enjoying laying down and looking at my poor feet. They took a bit of a beating being wet the last few days and I'm having to doctor a few spots.

It's a surprisingly flat few miles after the bald. All green and in and out of creek canyons, there is water everywhere and I'm in heaven being warm with plenty to drink.

It's been fields of flowers, a great end to the day

Overall it's been a slow day. Lots of breaks and feet dragging. Maybe the cold got to me more than I realized. There's two climbs in the evening and at the top of the second one we call it quits early. Rest Stop's knee is still acting up and my feet feel like someone sandpapered the bottom of them. An early stop with a nice breeze is perfect. It's only 10 miles to Hot Springs and town.

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