Today was another challenging day. I said I was going to do a shorter day and it didn’t work out that way. I think I’m just wired to push hard. Tomorrow I’m definitely only going 12.8. I’ll finish tomorrow at Fontana Dam. Right after that is the entry into Smoky Mountain National Park. At Fontana Dam there is a shelter that sleeps 24 people and I’m hearing there are free showers there also.
Last night there was only ten people in the bunkhouse. There were four in my room. Myself, Roland, Marmalade and Piranha. Roland is from Switzerland, Marmalade is a British guy that now lives in New York. I don’t know Piranha’s story. He was a very strange twenty something. I kept my distance from him.
Marmalade and I had breakfast together and saw each other multiple times hiking today. He was going to hike to the shelter I’m at but he didn’t make it. Not sure what happened. He’s about my age and also just retired. Maybe I’ll see him at Fontana Dam.
The trail has been very well marked with white blazes. It’s a two inch wide, four inch long strip of white paint on the trees. You can usually count on seeing one about every tenth of a mile. Sometimes when your standing next to one you can look ahead and see the next one. Well, today about half way through I went about two miles without seeing one. I was scared to death I’d missed a turn or something.
I experienced “trail magic” again today. At a trailhead next to a highway crossing an older handicapped lady was giving hikers soda, lemonade and ziplock baggies of Carmel corn. I had a can of sprite and filled my bottle with lemonade and had some Carmel corn. I had read a lot about the trail angels, but it’s amazing that there are people that do these things for no charge.
There aren’t many people at the campsite I’m at tonight. Four tents and six people in the shelter. A very nice bunch.
My body is holding up pretty well. No blisters. Both knees are talking to me a little. That fifty pound pack and brutal climbing will do that. Also a little tendinitis in my right Achilles. None of my aches are measuring more than a two on a scale of 1-10. My back, arms and shoulders are holding up well under that heavy pack so far.
I’m mentally preparing myself to hike in the rain tomorrow. I’m hoping it doesn’t start until after I breakdown my tent. I looks like a sure thing that we’ll get rain.