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I got really lucky cowboy camping last night. I was able to see more stars than anywhere else on the trail so far. The weather was nice and I had clear skies.
The Smokies are my favorite portion so far. The trail is lined with blooming flowers, the climbs are nice and tough, and the descents are mostly gentle. I may be hiking with rose colored glasses but everyone else seems to be in high spirits too. The other hikers we’re meeting are great people. Generous and all very unique.
We originally were going to push for a 21 mile day all the way to Clingman’s Dome to catch the sunset and camp there so we set off early. We had 11 miles done by noon. I don’t like to stop much so I was the first one to the shelter to regroup before we did the last few miles to Clingman’s together and everyone is discussing their plans. Turns out there’s a security patrol and a gift shop and all sorts of stuff there so that out an end to our plan. We decided to camp here at Double Spring Gap Shelter at about 3:30. That’s pretty early for us but it was a pretty hot today so I don’t think anyone minded hanging out, playing cards, and chatting with the other hikers. Life is good out here. Going to bed early tonight so we can get up at 5:30 am to catch the sunrise at Clingman’s.