I started at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Wesser, instead of in Franklin. This is my seventh day, and we've averaged 10 miles so far, through Nantahala National Forest and half of Great Smokey Mountains National Park. The views from Cheoah Bald and Clingman's Dome (highest peak on the trail) are spectacular. Fontana Dam -- gigantic and impressive. The Smokies are beautiful, except for the dying Spruce-Fir forests. There are some really magical places
Argh! The P.O. is closing!
Also, we saw a bear around our shelter last night and this morning. Daniel accidentally threw dishwater on him before he saw it was there. Many of the shelters in the Smokies still have chain link fences across the front to keep bears out, so we observed our friend in safety this morning. Other shelters have three sides, a roof, and platforms on which to sleep. They are comfortable enough, and we meet people there. My regret with traveling slow so far is that we fall behind people we meet and don't get to know them. Still, there have been a few guys we've bunked with multiple nights.
- Solar Charger doesn't work on our phone or camera. We will have to mooch electricity. So no pictures of bears, peaks, or funny signs.
Writing here from Gatlinburg. Two Norwegian ladies in the states for a conference gave us a ride out of the park. We also got free apples and sodas by sitting around the parking lot at Newfound Gap. That's really cool.
We have to catch the trolley back downtown, buy some food, hitch into the park, and hike three more miles tonight, so that'll be all. When I'm in shape and we have a pace, we'll let you know where and when to write to us.