Good-bye Smoky Mountains
Thursday April 20, 2017
Mile 229.6 - 245.5
7:53 - 6:55
Rainy start. Cleared. Cloudy & humid
Tented at mile 245.5
Good-bye Smoky's. I am so happy to be rid of them. Not because they are not pretty. On the contrary, the woods offer a variety of flora and fauna. It's the sheltering rules. Hikers cannot stealth camp. You have to sleep in the shelters unless they are full then you can tent near them. But tenting wherever you want is not allowed so hikers are stuck to doing few miles or extra long miles to hit the shelters. It's too confining. Combine that with the overcrowding on the trail and it can make for a not so fun traverse through the magestic mountains that could otherwise be enjoyed.
Our exit was enjoyable with a show of pretty flowers and an easy trail topped off with trail magic just yards from the park boundary.
We pushed on and hiked another personal best of 15.8 miles. We ended our day with a 2000 foot climb and stealth camped at the top of a peak. We were out of the Smoky's and could tent where we felt like it. It was so liberating. We we alone, the evening was warm and we were loving it.