Flashback – AT99 – March 28

Icewater Spring.

Hiked all day in wet socks and boots.   Yuck.   Came up over Clingman’s Dome today – nice.  Also, passed the 200 mile mark, and will break the 10% (216 mile) mark tomorrow.

Today was nice, I hiked solo most of the day.   Got to Newfound Gap, where US 441 goes through the park, basically running down the hill in knee-deep powder.   So much powder snow that it completely covered the rocks, and I just charged on down.  About 50 yards before the parking lot, there was a sign that said “Thru Hikers – Food in the car with the ‘Simply’ plate”.   Found the car, a little weird opening up someone else’s car in the middle of a busy parking area, but scored some Little Debbies, an orange, and 2 Milky Ways.

Met up with TravellingLight who was getting off the trail to go visit his sick grandfather.

Here with Flusher, Crispina & Marco Polo, Slow Buffalo, Tamarack, Jurnee and some day people – one of whom gave me an entire KFC chicken breast!  Oh sweet Jesus that’s good.

Now that I’m north of Clingman’s Dome, it technically is “all downhill from here” !   12.8 tomorrow, or more, then a 15 or 17 the next day.   Might get to Davenport/Mountain Mamas, but there’s a shelter shortly before.  I need a shower.   The final handful of miles are literally all downhill with no ‘up’ travel, so it might just be a coast.

Blisters suck, although today was a no liner, no moleskin day – the first so far, 17 days in.  Didn’t suck too bad once I was moving.   Not sure if I’ll bother tomorrow, with the slushy trail and wet boots no bandages stick anyway.

We have a kickass fire tonight, and all the socks are steaming foully in front of it, overcooking and stinking.   I’ve got the boots in the “wall of Vibram” in front of it, hopefully not too close. Marco Polo gets up a few times each night anyway; he’ll keep the fire going for us.   Even with all of us in here, you can still see your breath, but it’s not bone-chilling at least.   This 45 degree bag has withered before the onslaught of real cold.

Songs in my head today: Dear Prudence (Souxsie version), Mrs. Robinson (since Joe DiMaggio died the day before I started), and Pure Morning (Placebo).  And of course Bolero.

I noticed a bit of smoldering, so I got the fire people to move the boot log back a bit, hopefully saving all of our boots.

Slow Buffalo is one of those militant vegetarians.   What is it about being out here that makes everyone constantly posture?

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