Want to document and share your hike with friends and family?
I woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise over the lake with the mountains surrounding it. All day it's been beautiful but very cold. It was also extremely exhausting. We left Fontana and hiked 14 miles, mostly uphill, into the Smokies and ended at Russel Field Shelter. This was my longest day yet. My pack was also incredibly heavy from the excess of food I received in my mail drops. My food bag was bursting and I couldn't even fit it in my pack without standing it straight up and loosening straps.
I hiked mostly today with MP and Ambush and I enjoyed their company. My sister sent me some great snacks, some of which included some coconut date bites. I made a bad decision and ate all of them not realizing how much fiber there would be. About midday I felt I was going to explode and it took me nearly 20 minutes of hiking and discomfort until I was able to find a reasonable spot to dig a cat-hole. Lesson learned.
The shelter is packed tonight with everyone who I've been seeing lately. The ramen my sister sent me is delicious. I sat out in the grassy field outside the shelter while the sun went down and cooked it. Overall it was a great day to be on trail.
Today was the longest day yet, beating yesterday's record. It didn't seem too difficult today until later in the day. Unfortunately my leg and knee pain came back. Despite that we had absolutely amazing views all day long. We summited multiple bald mountains with 360° views. I hiked with the group of people I've been seeing the past few days. It seems we have a nice bubble forming. However, I am kind of tired of hiking with people around me all day. I'm craving more alone time and so I went off by myself for a while. About a dozen of us decided to rent a house in Hot Springs once we're out of the Smokies to celebrate and relax.
Earlier today I was able to take off my brace and I had no knee pain at all. That lasted until the end of the day but I still feel happy that I was without pain for some time. Tomorrow we are going to head into Gatlinburg to resupply since I am nearly out of snacks already. I can't seem to figure out how much food I should pack. It's either way too much or way too little. I guess I had no idea I would already be eating this much. I'm tired and sore tonight in my tent but I feel happy, full, and accomplished.