What’s This Wet Stuff All About!. It was way past time to feel a bit of sun on our face. Just a moment of warmth. Everyone in Mt Collins Shelter was beyond miserable. I pulled off my super saturated pants and slept in my shorts. This morning when I got up they were just as wet and I had to put them back on. Ah…. very refreshing! They felt like this….
Picture from the top of Clingman’s Dome to its base. That’s No Name at the bottom. Picture by Sunshine (which is rather ironic)
As I was attempting to organize my gear without bothering the couple next to me Bear Bait leaned over from the top level to me below and said. “Hey Defib. Everyone up here is up for going into Gatlinburg. Are you in?”
“Why shore nuff! No time table for me!” Think of it… we could do Ripley’s Museum, see the aquarium, get a tattoo or three, eat cotton candy, and answer a lot of questions about why we were dressed so weird. And so the decision was made. We were going to take a nero.
I left the shelter before the others. Slush was the order of the day as it had been the night before.
Not having a phone signal we knew that we would not be able to call for a cab and would have to throw ourselves down in the middle of the highway and look pitiful to get a ride. I didn’t want to miss that so I kept a decent pace and managed to get to New Found Gap about 10 seconds before them even though they left way after me.
Sunshine, Bear Bait, The Professor, Silver, The Beast, No Name, and Kylo.
Awaiting us was Ed the friendly trail magic guy. He had a trunk filled with goodies. It’s strange that when we go through a grocery store we just walk past the bananas but out here….. well…. we go bananas. They were gone in a moment!
Bear Bait and Sunshine upon arrival at Newfound Gap.
We still had thirty miles to go within the Smokies but it was time to take a break albeit an unscheduled one. A woman approached me here while I had all of my gear on and asked if I was hiking. I hesitated for a moment….. the question actually caused me to wonder what else I might be doing. In the end I confirmed her suspicions and her smile told me that she was very happy that she had guessed correctly.
The view from Newfound Gap toward South Carolina.
Our third state!
We ended up not having to submit to laying in the highway to get a ride. Ed the trail guy gave three of us a ride. The others found a cab from Gatlinburg transporting hikers back to the trail after they had ridden the storm out in town. They hired a ride to town and we all met at NOC.
Bear Bait and Kylo (U of Nebraska)
Soon I had a vest, gloves, mug and matches. I was now equipped the way I needed to be again. We were ready to tackle the town. First on the agenda……. food at Howard’s Steak House!
Database and Silver at Nantahala Outdoor Center
We soon found Mongrel, Tall Man, Ghost, Database, Smalls Too (who loved Gatlinburg) and Ironman. Lunch was great… dinner was better. My roommates were Bear Bait and Sunshine. They were great to be around. Both have spontaneous laughs that are easily released even when they are not having the best of days. Their love of adventure shines through. Humor follows them everywhere and even though strangers hours ago they have the ability to break into coordinated dance instantaneously and finish each other’s thoughts.
Sunshine and Bear Bait
In the meantime Silver is tired but is in his normal mode of loving every bit of this adventure. He has this never ending positive attitude even when submerged in freezing water… in short he loves life and has now been introduced to Cheerwine!
We are going to take a zero day for healing and recovery. This may be the biggest tourist trap on earth but tonight it’s our tourist trap. Tomorrow will be soon enough to hike on.