AT miles hiked today: holy crap!
I mean, 17.5
Total AT miles hiked: 194.3
This picture is heading up Rocky Knob, I think. Houdini and I had made a general plan for hiking through the Smokies, and that included 12 miles today. A ridge runner at the Derrick Knob Shelter said we had already hiked the six hardest miles of the day and that rain is predicted tomorrow. We had 13 or so miles planned for tomorrow, including Clingmans Dome, the highest point on the entire AT. It was windy and cold all day, my favorite kind of hiking day, and it never rained, so I made good time and was done with the 12 miles by 3:20.
We decided to move on to the next shelter to have a chance at any views from Clingmans Dome, or to maybe beat the rain, or at least have a shorter day in the rain tomorrow.
It kicked my butt. That is by far my longest mileage day. I hiked from 8am to 7pm with only a 45 minute break at the shelter. I never took my pack off otherwise, though I did sit on multiple logs and rocks that took the weight off me for a few moments. If it had been hot I bet I could not have done it. Also, the views were covered by clouds, so only phone pictures were called for.
Tomorrow it's up at 5:30 and hiking by 7am and a short eight mile day, followed by an even shorter four mile morning into Gatlinburg, for a resupply and nero. I'll get a zero at Trail Days if we find a ride.
It's 8:45 and bed time. Good night!