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We decided to wake up at 5:15 in the morning to make it to Clingman’s Dome for sunrise since we didn’t get to get the sunset the night before. Clingman’s Dome is the highest point on the AT at 6600 feet so should make for a nice view. We hiked in pitch darkness for almost an hour before reaching it and the weather was atrocious. Foggy as all hell so couldn’t see a damn thing and it was freezing cold and windy. Only rain could’ve made it worse.
We stopped for a brief second to say we did and continued on in disappointment. The goal for the day was supposed to be a shelter I think 18 miles out from where we camped but we had run into a gentlemen by the name of Early Bird that was our day hiking with his wife. Early Bird is a banker from a nearby town and an avid hiker. Loved in the area his whole life so he’s got the accent to match. He was telling us how he had done trail magic the day before at Newfound Gap and about how he fed 60+ hikers with cheeseburgers and beer. He gave me some water and we went our separate ways.
We get into the gap at around 10:30 praying that somebody would be there cooking cheeseburgers or really anything at all. In this huge parking lot flooded with tourists, there wasn’t a bit of trail magic. 2nd disappointment of the day. Someone had the good idea of trying to ring the nearest pizza joint and seeing if we could get some pizzas delivered. We put Two Tone on the job because she’s got an English accent so is by default more charming for these southern folk. We wait on hold for 10 minutes as they are extremely busy, finally someone answers and we explain the situation and what do you know they agree. Two Tone says “okay we’ll need 7 large pizzas!” The guy fumbled around with his words and the suddenly “realized” we are outside of the delivery area and reneges the offer. Disappointment number 3.
I said screw it, I’m gonna make my own magic and go into town myself and have a beer and hot food regardless. I’ll still come back out and do another 10 miles to the designated camp spot.
As soon as I pack up my things Early Bird walks over from across the parking lot and asks if we had any luck. I said no, but are you going into town? Luckily he is and I asked if I could go in with him. He’s such a nice guy. A couple of us go in, get a place to stay, eat food and were merry. The trail provides