4/25 Derrick Knob Shelter (12)

April 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Mark’s knee was still sore today and we decided to slow our pace a bit. We’ve been moving pretty quickly and we realized we’re right on track to reach Damascus in time for trail days (the big hiker fest in May) so we can afford to take it easier. Unfortunately, we lost Sprouts and Shanks but we are hoping to catch them by Trail Days.
Today, we came to really appreciate the Smokies. After the rough trail at Nantahala, the Smokies are like walking on the clouds. The trails are mostly graded for horses and very well maintained by a host of Smoky Mountain loving volunteer groups. We actually woke up to a whole group of deer frolicking around the shelter and then spent our day walking through beautiful alpine meadows filled with wildflowers. The magic of the Smokies did not heal Mark’ s knee, however, and we stopped a shelter earlier than planned, leading us to meet Baloo, a very funny ridge runner who entertained us for the night with tales of his own thru hike.
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Beginning the Smoky balds…
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One of our more confusing white blazes

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Wildflowers!