I got up this morning at the usual 5:30am. I’m sure some in the shelter don’t appreciate the early morning rattling around in the shelter, but there were three others that wanted to start early so it wasn’t just me. I cooked my oatmeal with honey and cinnamon and packed. Tasteless, Backtrack, Chico and I took off at 7:00
The first three miles were a climb. First to Mt. Buckley. The next stop was Clingmans Dome, the highest elevation on the AT. It was beautiful. The pictures don’t do it justice. I was so thankful it wasn’t foggy and cloudy like the previous two days. The guy I’m pictured with above is Tasteless. He rigged his trekking pole to work as a selfie stick.
The hike down was a complete change of scenery. It became very green and mossy. I was told this section actually is rain forest by definition. I received some major trail magic today. Bob and Judy who are friends of my coworker Scott live near here Scott helped coordinate them to come pick me up. They brought me to their home, which happens to be in Dolly Parton’s hometown. They fed me, did my laundry and took me to the store so I could resupply my food for the next several days. Tomorrow morning Judy is cooking me breakfast and Bob will take me back to Newfound Gap Trailhead so can resume my journey.
I feel very good. No blisters. My knees and Achilles are feeling better. My arms are accustomed to the extra work of the trekking poles.
I miss Amy and my family tremendously. Also my running and Hy-Vee family. But I can honestly say I look forward to waking up to see what the next day and next section have in store for me.