Winter Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike – Day 6 (22 miles)

The family that I was sharing the shelter with got up at 5ish. I tried to sleep in but gave up, packed up and headed down the trail with the others.

I did not stay long with them as I wanted to get to the NOC, pick up my package and get some food before pushing on.

It was a fairly standard morning, with the surprisingly nice weather, and I made great time strolling along. Ow, it was the first day with minimal clouds that allowed the sun to rise in all its glory. It was even better as it was bouncing off an inverted cloud layer.

I stopped for morning tea and to fill up my water bottle with a Southbound Thru-Hiker, and spent 5 minutes chatting with her before we parted ways.

From then on it was a steep ascent and then a long steep descent to the outdoor centre. The good news is my knee is starting to recover from the twist the other day. I’ve had to take it fairly easy the last few days but it’s back to 95%. I was planning to get in and out, but got sidetracked eating pizza. My phone that was supposed to be charging got knocked out of the socket so I decided to wait a bit longer for it to charge up.

I organised my Smokies Permit at the outfitter. And headed out just before dark and up into the mountains. Just then a drizzle started. Wonderful! The drizzle turned to deluge over the next couple of hours. By the time I reached the shelter 7 miles up, the rain was incredible. I was also in the clouds and that made it interesting as my flashlight bounced off the rain, and with the added clouds, allowed me to only see a few feet in front of me.

I got to the shelter with no one else in sight. My first night alone. There has been far more people on the trail than I expected.

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