Woke up to a brisk morning. Getting out of the truck in Gatlinburg there was 20 degree gain in temp, almost summer like. It was shocking. But this morning it was cool in town and that means colder at altitude on the trail. Indeed it was positively cold and windy when I was dropped off back at the parking lot. But up we go and once into the woods, we were out of the wind. A cold but beautiful day, it was all along the ridge for 10 miles. One side cold and windy, the other warm and sultry.
All day: hat on, hat off. Due to the cold damp wind, the very tips of the ridge line were coated in a beautiful frost, with clouds whipping by and the sun trying to break through. It was an Ansel Adams moment for sure.
But it was a long ten and the feet were tired as I got to the sign for the shelter. It’s warm here in the sun as I type but it’s going to be a very cold night in the shelter.
Easter Sunday broke cold but cloudless. A few section hikers showed up late and since they only walk for a couple of days, they tend to pack whiskey and wine, so we had fun whispering in front of the fireplace in the shelter. And it also meant I slept pretty well. Add it was so cold, it was my first night sleeping in the shelter proper.
Also, turns out that 5k Man, the World Banker we met some time back was behind me due to a knee issue. He showed up last night and so we spent today hiking together, chatting about this and that.
It was a long slow 12.7, up along the ridge line with some pretty good ascents. Took a while but it warmed up as the day progressed and we started the big descent out of the Smokies. Now I have to decide whether I want to do a short 7 to the next shelter and then a short 4 to the hostel outside of the park or do the 11 in one day. Two short days gives me a nice, long day at the hostel. An 11 gets me there one day earlier… We shall see.
Monday- Woke up lazy but decided to push through. Caught up with 5k and walked the rest of the day with him, quacking away about my Helpx experience. We are now at the very cool and rustic Standing Bear hostel just outside of the Smokies. Caught a bit of trail magic as we exited the park, which is always nice.
For Dor: Smoky Joe’s Cafe