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Dirk's Rambles

Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 1:09 pm

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I am sitting at Standing Bear Hostel just outside of Davenport, NC. Finished the Smokies yesterday. Completed it in 5 days, averaging 15.48 miles per day. So happy I made it thru and that I covered it so fast.

So it has been an eventful five days since I last wrote in my journal. Brad decided to take a zero at Siler's Bald on the morning of Sunday, March 28. We had covered almost 31 miles in two days. He said he was hurting from his head to his toes. When he came in to the shelter the night before, he looked exhausted.

So Brad suggested that I move forward on my own, which I thought was a good idea. We had agreed tat after the Smokies, I would move forward before we started the trip. So this was just two or three days earlier than we first agreed upon splitting up.

So off I went. It had rained most of the day on March 27, which probably contributed to Brad feeling the way he did. And when we woke on Sunday, March 28 it started raining again, then started thundering and lightening. I started late (8:30 am) to let some of the storm pass but I stilll walked for an hour in the lightening. It still continued to rain until 11 am.

At that point I texted Sam to see if it would be okay if he pick me up to stay at his house. He was fine with it and would pick me up at Newfound Gap at 5:30 pm.

So when I got within a mile of Newfound Gap, a hiker without a pack walked toward me with a face covering on. It was Sam. He came early and thought he would walk a while on the trail. He said Squash called him and asked him if he would drive her and three other hikers to Gatlinburg. So all four of us packed it in his car, after we all partook of all the goodies he brought for us to eat. And posing for a picture on the NC/Tennessee line.

We dropped them off at Gatlinsburg then went to Sam's where he cooked me a steak. What a wonderful host and trail angel.

Sam dropped me off at Newfound Gap the next morning (March 29 at 7 am. There were already 50 to 75 people there watching the sun rise. I started to walk at 7:50 am.

I covered 15.7 miles, then 18 the next day. Ran into two trail magics. One was on the trail. The other was on Rt. 40 about 3 miles from the Hostel. Met a Tennessee Volunteer fan and exchanged phone numbers for him to come and see a PSU game. From the trail magic, I had to walk up a big hill to get to the Standing Bear Hostel. When I got there, it was a pleasant surprise. Seems like a hippie community in the woods. Very friendly, attentive staff.

Another thing of note was that I heard what I thought was a wolf howling about 2 am early on March 26th in the Smokies. Someone (Potholder) said that the state had released 14 Red Wolves about 7 years ago. Pretty cool! My first wolf howl.
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