Thursday, May 1, 2014
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I've conquered the Smokies. It was an awesome experience I'll never forget filled with up's and down's. I left from Fontana last Tuesday, originally shooting for Monday I wound up staying another day because I got the day flu. After a day of rest DQ and I head out together after Sending off some mail. We got to pass over the Fontana Dam, which is actually a part of the Appalachian Trail. Green was everywhere in abundance. After we crossed the dam we finally saw the sign that marked the beginning of the park. After excitedly filling out our permits bottom half and dropping them in the hiker box we started our ascent. It was some rough going for me the first few miles seeing as i still felt a little sick and hadn't been hiking for a few days. Usually when I'm feeling down in rewarded with something awesome to lift my spirits. This moment came when we came upon the small trail up to ShuckStack Tower. The tower was high above the tree lines and offered amazing views. After a quick smoke break in the tower, and a lunch break at the foot of it we got back on the trail. I hiked by myself for most the day with DQ dipping in and out of sight every now and then. I started to notice that little white flowers were popping up from the ground, and then suddenly I was surrounded them. It felt extremely magical, especially when i came upon a hollow tree surrounded by the flowers with its very own footpath. After a good day of hiking we came upon Mollies Ridge shelter. There ks where we caught up to Odysseus, Gulliver, Sweeps, Peepshow, and Firefox. I set up my hammock, conversed with my friends about the day while cookingy dinner of a mixture of mashed potatoes and top ramen. After watching the sky for shooting stars for awhile i head to bed. The next day was a hard one for me, we had a lot of elevation changes in order to really get into the depths of the smokies, but all the hard work was worth it once i was treated with fir and pine trees. I was constanlty walking through groves of them, the sunlight being nearly completey blocked out by there limbs. Serene is an understatement. We got to another shelter as a group set up camp and passed out early. The next day was a lot more fun, i hiked by myself again but the terrain was much easier and my surroundings had changed tremendously. There was fog everywhere i couldn't see but 10 feet in front of me, and I'm walking on the ridges of mountains. I was surrounded by nothingness and I've never felt more at place. After hiking for the day we slept at a beautiful shelter nestled beneath the fir trees. The next morning was Clingmans dome and Odysseus,Gulliver, and I decided to catch a shuttle there and head into Gatlinburg. Sweeps and Dq where already there. The hike up to clingmans was short and the weather had cleared up amazingly, giving us clear views from the dome. We head into Gatlinburg and had an amazing time filled with beer, great food, music, whiskey, wine, and moonshine tasting,meeting new people, and sleeping in soft beds. The next morning I woke up late and hungover therefore missing the first and only shuttle. A little bummed i head over to the NOC outfitter thinking I'd have to get a room until I saw a kid putting his backpack in a taxi, i asked if he was going to clingmans dome and holy trail magic he was. I hoped into the cab and started talking to him that's when i came to know the awesome Shit Nick the Prodigy. He was a stoner like myself and we decided to hike up to the next shelter together. On the drove up we saw a bear on the side of the road and he was just chillin eating grass. That got me pumped to start hiking. I put some miles between Shit Nick and I, but he caught me at the shelter where i met up with the cuddle puddle again (the names i mentioned earlier). We all ate and then knocked out. The next day we hit a hard day and all ended up together again. It rained that night and i got a little wet in my hammock but nothing too bad. We woke up and head to our last shelter before we got to our last shelter in the smokies. I woke up early and ready to go i was going to see charlies bunion which was an amazing sight. I decided id do an 18 mile day and go to standing bear hostel. The hostel was my favorite thus far. It was on a little farmhouse with chickens and treehouses for hikers to sleep in, i ended up sleeping on the farmhouse wrap around porch which was an unforgettable experience. The next morning Odysseus came into the hostel and invited me to come with him to Knoxville to visit family and have a lot of food. Obviously i jumped on in as the entire cuddle puddle wound up doing. This visit has been amazing, so much great homemade food and time growing closer with my friends. I'm now sitting on top of one of their many staircases in the house updating my blog. I love the spontaneity this trip has brought into my life and look forward to all I'll experience in the coming months. Oh yeah! I've been out here for a month! Totally loving it and never want it to end. I know I've skipped over something's so if you have any type of question ask in the comments. Thanks for reading about my journey.