We made it through the Smokey Mountains with no rain (which I hear is miraculous and near impossible), hooray! Before we hit the Smokies we took a low day near Fontana Dam so that I could rest some injuries. We had to stop at the visitor center to get backcountry passes that the state park is now requiring. The trail crossed over the Dam which was a neat start to enter the Smokey Mountains and I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable storms I heard so much about where it hails and rains sideways. We reached the highest point on the AT, Clingman’s Dome, reaching just over 6,000 feet. Unfortunately, it was covered in clouds and we couldn’t see a thing, and unfortunately it was a Saturday and packed with tourists. It took us 4 days to get there and as we were hiking, exhausted from the day, I looked through the trees and saw fresh, clean, city people pushing strollers. “What?!” It was a bizarre feeling. I had hiked miles and miles to get to the top of this mountain! I was sweaty and smelly and tired and here were hundreds of people who drove their vehicles up the mountain, got out of their car in their fresh clothes and walked the hundred yards to the top of the mountain. I was envious. They didn’t even have to carry water. We stuck out with our stench, large packs and look of bewilderment at the strange sight of humans.
I was still having issues with my knee and my foot so I got off at Clingman’s Dome (where my mom met us with Arby’s) for a few days. Seth continued hiking until Hot Springs and hitch-hiked into Asheville to meet me for his Birthday! I have a Morton’s Neuroma in my foot which basically means a nerve hurts a lot and makes walking extremely painful. I switched out my shoes and am heading back to the trail tomorrow, hopefully it helps!
Seth had quite the adventure without me, he hiked 80 miles in 4 days, saw 2 bears (I haven’t seen any) and experienced the best shelter story yet! One night in the middle of the night he heard a scream and a loud “thunk”. No one in the shelter said a word until a few minutes later a voice said, “sorry guys there was a mouse on my face.” Apparently the guy next to Seth, woke up with a mouse on his face, completely flipped out, and then thought the mouse crawled into his sleeping bag and starting thrashing about! Hilarious. The mice make sleeping difficult, one night I couldn’t fall asleep because I could hear them scurry from one end of the shelter to the other and I could hear my glasses moving next to me. Eeek! At least I didn’t have one on my face 🙂 Another night, Seth was crammed into a small shelter with cobwebs EVERYWHERE only to discover spiders the size of tarantulas had taken over. Needless to say, shelters are basically Fear Factor in real life.
Everyday Seth says, “This is the best day of my life”, and it truly is.