We are out of the Smokies. Sad part about that is that makes me happy. We were looking forward to the Smokies, but in the end it was not very enjoyable. First day was all up and hot. I wrote about that day earlier. After that it was terrible weather, either cold or rain or wind or both or all three. We ended up spending three nights in Gatlinburg and neither of us wanted to spend anytime there initially. Our goal was to hike straight through. Ah well, that is what happens sometimes.
So last night we spent at Crosby Shelter. This was the first night we met a Ridge Runner in the Smokies. They do everything from cleaning the campgrounds to checking permits and educating the hikers. She was OK, maybe a bit strong on the education part, but if I ever write my blog post about hiker responsibility, you’ll see I cannot argue with being overly aggressive on education. Anyway, we (thru-hikers) need to have a permit to get through the Smokies. The Ridge Runner checked my permit when I got in. At that point I had to come clean with her and let her know that when I did laundry in Gatlinburg that I washed Crooner’s permit so he no longer had one. She was easily convinced to give Crooner a hard time about it. Oh boy. Crooner was pissed. Thought he had to pay a $100 fine for not having it. Of course I was cracking up the whole time. Poor Crooner.
Last night at about 2:30 am some guy comes flying through our shelter. We think he was doing the AT Smokies challenge (my made up name for it). The AT goes through about 71 miles of the Smokies and some try to do the complete distance in 24 hours. I am a light sleeper so I heard this clown coming down the trail as he had bear bells on. He comes flying through the shelter, drops his pack and runs down to the stream to fill his water bladder. Then back to the shelter to insert the now full bladder back into his pack. All the time bear bells a ringing. And four of us on the top bunk with our heads up watching this clown. He paid us no never mind, went about his business and finally left. If karma exists, this tool has it coming in spades.
This morning I awoke with a screaming headache. Ibuprofen did not really do a lot so I decided to try and hike it out. Once I made that decision I hit the trail hard hip g to get to Standing Bear Farm as soon so I could so, I could relax. It was a bit over 10 miles and I was done I just under 5 hours. Headache is still present, but hopefully a good night sleep is on tap.
We have three days to Hot Springs, NC and are about 30 miles away, so that is doable. Best part is Leslie will be waiting for me! For me that has been the hardest part of this trip, being away from Leslie. So far every day we have been able to text and communicate, but that has required some uphill hiking from some spots to find a signal.
Tomorrow a new day dawns.
Thanks for reading along….