We decided to wake up and do an early morning hike, so we could do a long day. We rolled out of camp around 6 and headed to Newfound Gap. 4.3 miles went pretty quickly, and we were all there by 8:30.
Second breakfast was calling our name, so we all sat down and shoved some food in our faces. Someone mentioned going back to Gatlinburg and rewarding our awesome start to the day with a hotel stay. We sat around Newfound Gap for literally 6 and a half hours just contemplating whether or not to go back into Gatlinburg.
After hours of sitting around joking about eating Five Guys and visiting hot tubs, we finally started hiking. Ice water shelter was just a short climb, and we were there in not time. We all got water, smoked some cigarettes, Harambe took a nap, and finally we were on the road again.
Charlie’s bunion was just a short walk away, and of course we went down the trail to it. The views were amazing. I would venture to say that it was the best view that I’ve seen on the AT. If you get the chance to go, I would strongly recommended it. Anyways, after watching each other pretend to fall off the cliff, we started hiking again. It was starting to get late, but we were determined to make it to Pecks corner shelter. Finally, we all got to camp just as the sun was going down. We had to set up our tents since the shelter had been full for hours. We all set up, ate and staggered off to bed after the long day.
The next day, I was the first one awake. I packed up all my gear and headed to the shelter to eat some breakfast and wait for the crew to wake up. There I got to meet Blaze for a brief moment before he left. Everyone else from the shelter was rolling out, but my trail family was still asleep.
Finally, after everyone else had cleared out, we were all awake and congregating in the shelter. It started to rain, and that definitely did not make us more motivated to hike. The plan for the day was to make it 12 miles. That’s just 6 hours of hiking. We were all about to head out when it started to rain. We checked the weather and found that a thunder storm was rolling in.
The day got later and later, and hiking was seeming like more and more of a daunting task. Finally, Harambe headed out into the rain with the hopes of making it to the 12 mile shelter. Kit Kat was next to leave, but he only planned to make it to the 5 mile shelter. Itchy and I were the only ones at the shelter by this time, and we ended up deciding to just take a zero day and push some bigger miles tomorrow. The plan was to wake up real early and hike out.
Later that night, Dash and her wife made it to the shelter. We hadn’t seen Dash in quite some time, and her wife was just joining her on the trail a couple days before, so we were very excited to see them. We headed off to bed shortly after 7 so we could wake up early the next morning.
It rained all night that night. But just as we had planned, our alarms went off at 4:00 A.M. We crawled out of our warm sleeping bags only to find that it was still pouring outside. There was tons of fog and it was still pitch black. Hiking out would not be fun that morning. Thankfully, Itchy was not opposed when I suggested just waiting and leaving a little later so we wouldn’t have to hike with our headlamps in the rain.
After a nap that seemed way too short, we were back up. That morning, we decided to make some gourmet mashed potatoes. By gourmet, I mean that we rehydrated some beef jerky (which actually worked pretty well), and added that along with cheese and summer sausage to some bacon cheddar mashed potatoes. It was delicious. We packed up and we’re finally ready to hike out.
We climbed the 5 miles into the next shelter, and it didn’t stop raining the whole time. As we reached the shelter, we found KitKat who was leaving just as we were coming in. We ate some lunch and talked to some hikers. Someone was reading he log book aloud, and we realized that Harambe had left us a message about how we should catch up. Then, out of nowhere, the sun finally came out, and we tried to dry out our sopping wet shoes. After a nice break, we got back to hiking.
There were some pretty interesting sights such as a helicopter landing and a plane wreckage on the stretch to the next shelter: Cosby knob. We reached the shelter in no time since the whole hike was downhill.
At the shelter, we found Butterscotch again which was a nice surprise as we thought he was much further ahead of us. In the spirit of Butterscotch’s cooking mastery, I decided to make breakfast burritos from my mountain house meal, some tortillas, butter, and about a whole brick of cheese. They weren’t nearly as good as the ones that he had made for us a week or so before, but they were still delicious. Before going to bed, we found out that Harambe was already at Standing Bear Farm, so we proclaimed that we would wake up early and meet up with him early the next day.
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