Day 24 – Smoldering Smokies
Today was my last day in the Smokies. It was bittersweet but I saw some of the best views I’ve seen all week today.
I woke up around 8 after a long slumber. I found “Huff and Puff” (sans Ruff) had shared the same campsite when I saw them packing up in the morning. We’re all planning to zero in Hot Springs, NC in a few days. I got some free food from some weekenders who overpacked for their stay. The avocado, string cheese, and Oreos they gave me hit the spot.
I got on the trail shortly after 8, early for me. My heading was straight for Mt Cammerer to the 0.6 mile side trail to the fire tower that “Hatch, Sip, Soda, Rabbit and Stan” were all staying at. I caught Sip and Soda on their way out. They said the views were great but the night was chaotic. Some of them got caught in the rain storm and the fire tower was missing some windows and they had to use the rain fly on their tents to block the wind and rain.
From there it was a cruise-y day down to Pigeon River Bridge. I took a break midway down to take a Timelapse of the “Smoke” in the mountains and caught a passing rain shower. Head on over to my Instagram @barkleycharles to check it out. I took another break at the bottom near a stream to cold soak my feet and switch back to sandals for the last 2 miles of the day.
The days hiking ended with about 12 miles total including my side venture to Cammerer Firetower (5/5 thus far). My day ended with a short road walk and final trail stretch to Standing Bear Hostel. It’s a laid back place, great for a resupply, a hot meal and good vibes. It’s pretty popular as well, I think there’s close to 20 people here.
Max patch is in between here and Hot Springs and tomorrow I’m hoping to push 15 miles there and maybe even take a zero at Max Patch. From all the pictures I’ve seen it’s a pretty magical place and it’s been a highlight of this trip I’ve been looking forward to for months now.
Until then, stow away in my pack for day 25 on the Appalachian Trail.
Thanks for being one of my biggest cheerleaders. Thank you for instilling the attitude that we don’t quit on things that we start. Please know any misgivings I’ve had in life are mine to bear and have no connection to your parenting or how I was brought up. Thanks for always encouraging me to “make right choices”, whether I decide to take that advice or not. Never stop encouraging me nonetheless. Love you.
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