Monday, April 18, 2011

April 9

Longest day yet at 18.2 miles! (18.3 if you count the .1 to Standing Bear Farm hostel) I woke up at 6 this morning, ate a delicious breakfast of pop tarts, peanut butter, and a granola bar, and left camp at 7:34. I hiked with AJ for most of the morning and the trail was beautiful...again there were lots of pines and moss-covered trees. The fog was thick and gave the woods a rainforest-y feel. We made good time and stopped at Cosby Knob Shelter for a snack/second breakfast. I hiked on my own for a bit after that before catching up to Pappy for a huge downhill...nearly 7 miles! As AJ said,we were plummeting out of the Smokies! The clouds began clearing and the sun actually made an appearance, and with it the temperature rose. It was humid as well which made for some uncomfortably sweaty hiking. AJ caught back up to us and we caught up to Shepherd, Muffin Man, and Phil. We took a break at Davenport Gap Shelter and continued our descent to find some trail magic at Davenport Gap! A hiker's parents had snacks and bottled water and I enjoyed a pack of nutty bars and two snack-size Butterfingers. (I think I have eaten more candy bars in my 3.5 weeks on the trail than I have in the past year...) The gap marked the northern boundary of the Smokies and we continued along the trail past a beautiful creek with lots of waterfalls and crossings. It was like we walked right into Spring! At the lower elevation, all the trees are budding and leafing; it was all so green! And the sun was HOT...hard to believe that just a few days ago we were hiking in snow! The trail came out onto a road and followed through an underpass of was a funny scene to see a group of smelly hikers walking alongside the interstate. We finished the day with a tough uphill and a short road walk to Standing Bear Farm, where Daisy rejoined the group! We are staying in the bunkhouse tonight along with Towns, Mousebait, Torch, Shark, and a few others. I took a shower (and put my stinky clothes back on...) and have been hanging around the "farm" for the evening. Around 7:30 it started to rain, and then it hailed! The marble-sized ice fell for about 5 minutes and I can't express how thankful I am to have not been on the trail at that time!
It was a long day but my body feels good...probably because so much of the trail was downhill. Unfortunately I got my first blister today though, on my left heel. It had to happen sometime, right? Tomorrow we are planning to cowboy camp on top of Max Patch!!
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  1. Keep on keepin on. Have TONS of fun!!!
    Rob (my2rots)

  2. I just read your entry for this day and noticed your distance and destination ... and your comment that it was your longest day yet. It was amusing to me because on my SOBO thru hike two years ago, I did this exact stretch and distance going the other way, and it was very easy, climb and all. What a difference it makes when 2000 miles are behind you rather than in front of you. Of course, about now, with you entering New Hampshire, you will find the last two states ridiculously easy compared to what I experienced going south. It's interesting to see the inverse experiences on the different ends of the trail for NOBOs and SOBOs.

    I enjoy your multi-media blog. Before too long, you will be at the end. Keep it up.