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I stayed the last two nights in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at mile 207 midway through the Great Smoky mountains. I took a zero mile day yesterday with my new trail family whom I have been hiking with for the last week. I met them Right after I left Franklin at the first shelter. I was introduced to the group when someone pointed out how gross my feet looked, Doc who is a former army medic insisted on taking a look. Doc said that my toes were smashing into the front of my shoe when I was going down hill even though the boot fit me perfectly. He said to get new shoes as soon as possible, and so I did at the next available outfitter two days later. I got a pair of trail runners which are better for breathability and are lighter on my feet. I slowed down because of this issue and began hiking with them. The group consists of Doc who never stops talking but gets away with it as he’s very funny, Happy Thoughts who is the backpacking celebrity of the group with four thousand subscribers on her YouTube channel(shout Out @meandering.meganb), baked potato, Roly poly, and Pinot. We have wide range of age- 50, 28, 32, 23, 60, and myself who is 22(group pictured above). I now have a trail name, “boots” because of my foot issues. Using trail names has taken some getting used to, calling a grown man meatsuit or a woman happy thoughts makes me giggle at times. It is however apart of the fraternity that are thru hikers so I am happy to finally have one. I have enjoyed hiking with a group and we all get along well. We all hike by ourselves at different paces and meet at camp. Its been much better socially now that I know the people at camp already rather than having to introduce myself to people every night. The town I’m staying in Gatlinburg, is mentioned in “a boy named sue “ by Johnny Cash. I now understand why the man and father were so angry, I would be as well if I had to stay in this place for much longer. Its a strange town and is extremely busy right now as it’s the weekend and spring break for college students. The town is a big tourist attraction and is a strip of bars, arcades, and amusement parks. I can safely say that this will be first and last time visiting.
The Smokys have been my favorite part of the trail so far. It’s very scenic, the hiking has been great as the trail is well maintained.
Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with my posts, there was bad weather for the last two hiking days and my phone and battery drained from the cold. I believe we are trying to hit hot springs, NC which is 68 miles away in 6 days.
The picture above was taken on Fontana dam which leads into the Great Smoky Mountains.