Day 29 (April 21st): Hot Springs to Spring Mountain Shelter

Miles hiked today: 11
Miles hiked total: 284.9
Miles to go: 1900.4

Today was not an easy day for me.

The morning started with breakfast at the diner with Hat Trick, Wing It, and Beans. I got a later start than I would have liked because Beans took awhile to pack up his things and the diner had ridiculously slow service, so I didn’t actually start hiking until 11:00. Wing It and I both left town together, expecting the rest of the crew to follow.

Today had four really big uphills that kicked my butt. I’m carrying a stupid amount of food right now and my pack weighed a ton. It felt just as heavy, if not heavier, as it did my first day in the Smokies. The shoulder straps were cutting into my shoulders and pain kept shooting through my back, which caused me to stop and take many breaks today. The sun was also really strong today; it felt as if I were wearing a cashmere sweater, the moisture in the air just clung to my skin. Wing It quickly got ahead of me and we hiked separately for most of the day.

There was one area of trail today where forest rangers had done a prescribed burning and there was a caution sign entering the trail letting me know to be aware of potential smoke and fire up ahead. I smelled the smoke and thought the fire might still be going, but it had burnt out. The sides of the trail were completely black and ashen. What was really bizarre, though, was that the trail was completely untouched. I’m really curious as to how they did this.

By the end of the day I was really dragging and happy to reach the shelter. Only Stylez, Wing It, and Blacksmith are here. The rest of our Trail Family never showed up. I’m thinking everyone might have partied a bit too hard last night and just weren’t up for hiking today. Zero days can do that to a hiker.

There’s service at the shelter tonight so I called my mum to check in instead of texting her the name of the shelter like I normally do. I liked being able to chat for a couple of minutes and she mentioned all the feedback my blog is getting, and hearing her mention everyone’s comments was a good reminder as to why I’m out here. I really needed to hear all of the positive feedback, and I’m hoping tomorrow will be better for me!

Ta-ta for now!

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