Before starting today’s post we just wanted to thank everyone for reading, commenting, asking questions, and sending messages and well wishes our way!
No luck on the sunrise view despite camping out in the open on a bald. Instead, we sat in clouds all night and almost all of our stuff inside and outside the tent was wet in the morning. Oh well.
We donned our wet clothes, socks and shoes – my favorite thing to do in the morning! – and hit the trail just before 8. Today was another big day of descents and climbing, a lot of it walking up in the clouds. We dropped from ~5500ft at Max Patch down to cross the I-40 at 1400ft, but on the way down the AT the in an extra 1200ft climb up to Snowbird Mt. We stopped for lunch on a bridge (shortly after the interstate) which was fairly dry and breezy, and managed to dry out some of our stuff. We saw some people river rafting below the bridge, too.
Next we had a big climb up into the Smokies – 5500ft. My knees are tired today. At least we’ve now eaten 4 meals so our food bags are getting lighter! We dropped our registration paperwork off at the park entrance – the Smokies are popular and require reservations to stay. The first shelter we stopped to get water at had a post with 2 signs: 1)water (to the right) “boil all water”, 2) (to the left) “toilet area”. Oh boy. Ryley went to use the “toilet area” and said it was terrifying, no idea where you’d dig up someone’s goodies… Yikes.
On our hike up to Cosby Knob shelter we ran into 2 naked men in their 60s? just hiking along. They did have a little bandana/loincloth to cover up but it was too late…
We arrived at the shelter to a full house! It’s allocated for 12, and they’re were 8 section hikers with reserved spots (we’re supposed to stay in shelters, not camp, in the Smokies), and the 3 Highwaymen. So, we got kicked out by default and get to camp, which is fine by us – even if our tent is a little wet…
Hanging our packs on the bear cables was our last adventure for the day, it didn’t go well. Ryley got really muddy then had to wash off in the freezing stream.