12.5 miles, 33,444 steps, 317 stories climbed
216.1 miles, 616,361 steps, 6024 stories climbed
After the ridiculous freezing wet weather of yesterday, today’s cool temperatures and fog seemed almost like a tropical vacation.
I wake up with the sun and start packing my stuff. It is an interesting observation made by a fellow hiker but basically everyday we are packing all of our belongings and moving to a new place.
The horrible moment after a cold rainy day is the following morning when you have to take off all your warm dry clothes and put on those cold wet clothes again. It certainly wakes you up though.
The goal for the day was to get to Newfound Gap so I can get a ride in to Gatlinburg for resupply and to pick up some packages Maria sent me.
I set out into the fog, sliding through the mud but enjoying the views. The hike was through beautiful evergreens which combined without the fog was as fellow hiker Banana Boat put it “I felt like a was walking through an enchanted forest.”
Midway through the hike I reached the top of Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the AT at 6,655 feet above sea level. At the top is a view tower which I climbed to get a beautiful view of the grey skies surrounding the mountaintop. The wind was whipping around rather ferociously to the point where it was difficult to stand in one spot. I snapped my pictures and quickly descended back below the tree line and hiked on.
I arrived at Newfound Gap around the same time as Axon and Shrugs. We attempted calling the numbers in our guidebook for a ride to Gatlinburg but had no luck. The three of us decided to try our luck at hitch hiking.
We stood there in the cold for about 20 minutes as our bodies cooled down before finally a couple was nice enough to stop and give us a lift.
The couple was named Bill and Jessica. As they drove us into town, they told us about how they took 14 months off to ride bicycles around the country before deciding to settle down in Tennesse and told us about their plans of one day opening up a hiker hostel somewhere along the trail.
They dropped us of at the hotel where I was pleasantly surprised to find Not Yet was staying. We took care of our chores (shower, laundry, resupply) and then agreed to get dinner. Here is a little example of a hiker conversation about deciding where to eat.
After stuffing our faces, I think we each had 3 helpings, we parted ways. He was going to hike on the next day and I was going to stay and do another zero since I had some stuff to take care of. Still, we seem to keep runnin into one another so I’m sure in a few days I’ll see him again.
I also heard from Sycamore as well via text. He is already in Hot Springs, about 60 miles down the trail. I’m not entirely sure he is human but I am pretty sure he is only a few months away from completing his triple crown.
Now to relax in this thing called a bed and relax with some tunes and a book.