Highlights from the Smokies
I made it through Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Seventy-five miles in 5.5 days, including 18 miles on the last day. I’m up to speed and back in trail shape and ready to boogie.
The Smokies lived up to their reputation. And there’s no better way to see a national park than to hike through it. I am truly blessed. Lots of highlights, including Charlies Bunion, which is a cool rock outcropping, and Clingmans Dome, the highest spot on the entire trail.
The shelters all have tarps covering the front to keep the bears out. They used to have chain link fencing covering the front but hikers were feeding bears through the fencing so it was attracting too many bears.
Thankfully, I was able to sleep in my tent every night. Unfortunately, I did not see any bears but we did see a rattlesnake. Pretty good size and one of our friends almost stepped on it! We heard it rattling and thankfully LAF spotted it just in time.
I’ve pulled two days ahead of my tramily, and it feels good when the 26-year-olds can’t keep up with the old guy! I miss them but I’m meeting a bunch of new folks so it’s all good.
Last night I stayed at Standing Bear Farm Hostel. Definitely one of the coolest hostels on the trail. It’s an old tobacco farm converted into a hostel. It’s very rustic in a remote location and has a very chill vibe. Very lush with a stream running underneath my cabin. I slept like a baby. And they sell beer and frozen pizzas, which was absolute heaven after a 12-hour hike.
Next up is Hot Springs, NC. The trail goes right through town and there’s a music festival this weekend. Life is good!
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