Rule No. 1: Don’t Believe the Weather Forecast

Don’t believe the weather forecast on the Appalachian Trail.

After three days in the rain, snow, and wind we’re at Derrick Knob Shelter.

The weather forecast was for a decent overnight with mild temps the next day. So after the previous three days with everyone’s clothes being wet we hung them out to dry that night in hopes of dry items to wear the next day. Unfortunately, the weather decided that a decent overnight was not OK for us and instead decided to have a freezing mist with winds and temps in the mid-2os. The result of course was that the next morning everything was not only still soaked, but now also frozen. Putting on frozen clothing is certainly a wake-up.

The day continued with lots of wind and fog with a little rain thrown in for humility. Many people did go from Derrick over Clingmans. I opted to go to Double Spring Gap Shelter that night and do Clingmans the next day.

Nothing to see here

Up and over Clingmans we all went from Double Spring Gap. Because of the rain, fog, and wind once we got to the top there was nothing to see. I could not see 50 feet in front of me. The wind was so strong that at times we had to lean into the wind just to be able to walk straight.

Down over the other side we all went, hell-bent for Gatlinburg and dry clothes.

Once down at Newfound Gap I had an Australian tourist start asking me about places for a view. I answered his questions as best I could and went to the road and threw out a thumb for the 15 miles into Gatlinburg.

Interesting ride to G town

As I put out my thumb the next thing I heard was, “Hey, hiker guy, you need a lift?” I turned to see it was the guy I had just spoken to, and his incredibly gorgeous partner. So of course I threw my bag in the back of his car and got in. We made a pit stop for her at the next rest area while he and I shot the breeze for a bit. I found out that he was from Australia and his girlfriend had just gotten here from Russia, and they were traveling around the country after he picked her up from Canada.

Gatlinburg, finally

So we finally make it to Gatlinburg and my hotel. I do the laundry, take a shower, and head down to Five Guys for a burger. I order my double cheeseburger with large fries and the guy behind the counter says, “You know the large fry is usually enough for a family of four.”

I let him know that it was fine, and within ten minutes after I got my order I was done with the family of four fries and all. Then I went next door and got myself a hot fudge sundae. Went back to the hotel and called it a night. I had intentions of getting mail drops and anything else I needed done.

I never counted on being in shuttle hell the next day to get to the post office and Walmart to get everything done. I actually was going to need one more day just because of how slow the shuttles run. The next day I was able to get everything finished up, and I went to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse and went back to the hotel to get everything ready and ice my knees.

Finishing the Smokies

Off a truckload of us went thanks to a free ride to Newfound Gap. Six of us left to probably the easiest climb we have had in a while. In fact the weather was decent the next couple days and we had great hiking. And again probably the easiest section of all the Smokies. As I sit and write this I am at Standing Bear Hostel. Despite what the reviews in Guthook say, the place is kind of cool and certainly a nice location.

Tomorrow I will be looking for a podiatrist since the balls of both of my feet have had bruises on them since before Franklin. I will probably have to wait until Hot Springs, but that will be one of my rewards once I get there.

My trail name is Hikahhikah. This was due to a wrong Wi-Fi password at the hotel in Franklin, with two Yankees yelling at each other across the parking lot to get the correct spelling. Maybe it will eventually evolve, but for now it is what it is.

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