Day 28: Weather Decisions and Plates of Shrimp


I was the first to wake and I continued to read. What can I say? I found a good book. By around 8:30, the others were beginning to stir and I announced that I was going to get breakfast. I was hungry.

There was fruit this morning and I had a banana and a clementine. I also indulged in two waffles. I didn’t stick around, though. Today was a complete relaxation day. I did blog stuff and read some more.


When 10:00 came around, I went to the NOC with Sweeper to once again look for pants – breathable sleeping pants this time. I also needed to drop stuff off at the hiker box. I found unused body wipes and took those. It’s great for when it’s cold and you need to clean up or just for cleaning up down there.

I met Julie, or Stripper, and we got to talking. Apparently, the town of Gatlinburg is, in general, not friendly to thru-hikers. We aren’t considered tourists and thus won’t spend money. Of course we’ll spend money – we just won’t empty our pockets for mini golf and other overpriced attractions. Since I’ve been here for four days to avoid bad weather, I can totally see where she is coming from.

I left with no pants in hand and headed back to the hotel. I ate my leftover Mexican food and continued doing absolutely nothing. It was nice. Usually, I have the urge to get up and be productive with my day, but I had none of that anxiety. The others were antsy to get going, but I wasn’t. The road is closed. What can we do? I asked the staff at the NOC what their best guess was for when the road would open. One said, “We are hoping for mid-afternoon tomorrow, but it probably won’t be until Saturday.” A.k.a, two days from now. The majority of the snow won’t hit until tonight.

Out to Eat Again

Time passed by slowly. We did one last load of group laundry and I began packing up some of my things. Fine Young Buck had a Zoom call at 6:00 and I decided to start on the friendship bracelet that I brought along since the beginning. I was finally starting to work on it. By 7:30, Fine Young Buck was done and we headed out to eat.

A sign we saw in the restaurant. I felt that it very much applied to this hike.

As I was walking there, I said, “You know, I’m tired of constantly eating out.” If the grocery store was closer, I would have gone there. We continued to the restaurant and ate salad. It wasn’t great. I got attitude when asking for a split check and upon standing, an entire plate load of shrimp was all over my puffy. Fantastic. The server didn’t even inform me that my coat was covered in shrimp. That’s bear bait if I ever saw it.

I didn’t leave the restaurant happy and it made me really want to leave Gatlinburg. Snow and ice sounded great. Fine Young Buck and I stopped to get ice cream because we were both wanting some. I got a banana split and got halfway through before realizing I didn’t want it. I didn’t want any sugar.

The Sugar Absence

That’s something that I’ve been noticing about myself since hiking. I don’t want sugar at all. I think it’s such a habit in my life to want it that I automatically get it. Now, it serves no purpose. All I want when coming into town is fresh vegetables and fruit, salt, and carbs. Especially the salt. Sure, sugar is nice, but it’s not as demanding of a presence as it was before thru-hiking. My stomach is less tolerant of it now.

Bathtub Washing and Decisions

Once at the hotel, I hand washed my puffy in the bathtub and hoped it would be dry by tomorrow. I took a shower and then sat down on the bed. Fine Young Buck started a conversation about the possible choices we had tomorrow. Obviously, we all hope the road to Newfound Gap opened tomorrow. If it doesn’t, we could stay another day and try again the day after. We’d need to either add another night or find a different place to stay. Or we could skip the rest of the Smokies altogether and continue from I-40. We don’t want to do that. I didn’t mention us going southbound from I-40, get picked up, and then get dropped off there again to head northbound. I will tomorrow.

As much as we want to plow on, there are already reports of wet snow and ice buildup up at elevation. Going into the weekend, the weather will stay cool, but it would be enough for the snow to slowly melt. The issue is that it would freeze overnight. No matter how much I want out of Gatlinburg and continue to be active, I’m not willing to risk my life because I want to push on.

We watched as the snow built up through the hotel window.

Tomorrow will be filled with tough decisions. I’m following the lead of the tramily I am with, but I may need to break free and make my own. I don’t want to risk it, but spending more money doesn’t make me feel good either. Flexibility is the name of the game though.

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Comments 2

  • Richard : Apr 12th

    I continue to enjoy your posts. I think you will feel better once you can get out of Gatlinburg. The people there don’t sound very nice. But you may have to wait for the weather. I think you are experiencing a divide between “Gatlinburg culture ” and “trail culture “.

    • Morgan Schmidt : Apr 14th

      You’re right. I’ve felt so much better since leaving Gatlinburg. I think staying in that town made me appreciate how much I love sleeping in the woods – even with the bad weather.


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