The NOC is drawing thru-hikers into nero'd and zero'd multiple days, I knew I had to move. The weather said no. The legs said yes. The new pack, I must use it. The more I stay in towns or resorts the more likely I'm not to finish. I want to say the first 300 miles are the most expensive as I'm still in the honeymoon stage of the hike. Each stop over is $20 a night, $15 a meal, and un-counted for the extras.
I heaved the pack from the line up outside the restaurant. I checked into the outfitter's for a weigh in, 48lbs with food for 10 days, 2ltrs of water, and 2 bottles of yellow Heet.
I crossed the railway tracks and up on the AT. Up, up, and up, into the rain. The rain broke for the view jump off. Clouds hung below, scattered peaks dotted the landscape. Then it was back into the rain.
Up and over Swim Bald. Down into Sassafras Gap with wet drizzle rain. I spotted the shelter, a fire, warmth. The time just after 1pm. I could pushed to Brown Fork but the draw of warmth kept me. I've made 2 pots of tea over the fire. Ash is everywhere. The conversation again covers ever topic from going further to the woods to how cold the Smokies will be.
I think to night will be worth while. I'll push on hard tomorrow and make it a Nero over Fontana Dam.
It's so nice to no longer be wet.