Today was a million times better than yesterday. HVAC, Lorax, and I were up by 7 this morning. We were greeted by a giant thunderstorm. We had our morning coffee out front of the motel and watched the storm pass over. We decided to have a leisurely morning and wait out the storm. Putt-Putt, Tumbles, Lorax, HVAC, and I had a delicious breakfast at the local Waffle House. I had hash browns with cheese and onions, a waffle, and 2 eggs over easy. I almost ate it all. We then caught a cab back to the trail. Clingman's Dome was still a misty foggy mess, but we pushed on. The weather quickly cleared and we had a great day of hiking. The temperature was in the high 50's, which is ideal hiking weather. The trail wasn't too muddy either. I hiked with Lorax and HVAC all day. I really enjoy their company. They are a lovely couple that have raised two neat sounding kids. The daughter is a family practice doctor in Billings and their son is finishing up med school now. We were able to take our time since the shelter we were aiming for was relatively close by. The start of the day had us crossing another milestone, the 200 mile mark.
A few more miles later we crossed into Tennessee. We have been bouncing back and forth between NC and TN for days, but this was the first sign that marked the occasion.
I posed for a few more pictures at Newfound Gap. My aunt and uncle had been to the same spot last year so I tried to emulate their pictures.
Right before we got to camp, .3 miles away, it started to rain again. Luckily it only lasted a few minutes. Once again the shelter was full, which was a mixed blessing. I don't like sleeping in shelters, but it's going to be below freezing tonight and I'm not convinced I'll stay warm enough in my hammock. The shelter crowd is very rowdy with a bunch of immature kids. Hopefully they will settle down soon, but since 1 kid hiked in 3 bottles of moonshine from Gaitlinburg I'm doubtful. The shelter holds 12, but there are only 10 inside. It's kind of irritating that they wouldn't make room for more people. It's really bad trail etiquette. Usually, when it's cold or raining, people will put 16-18 in a shelter.
On the bright side this shelter has an amazing view.
This is the earliest I have gotten my blog done and I'm looking forward to reading a book in my hammock for a little bit. Tomorrow will either be a 12 mile day or a 20 mile day and the weather is supposed to be sunny. It will be my first completely sunny day in over a week and I'm super stoked about it.
"The best way out is always through" - Robert Frost