The Appalachian Trail: Day 18

April 16, 2017

Headed to Standing Bear Hostel today! We’re leaving the Smokies after 4 nights of letting shelters determine where we stay. I say we, but really, I appointed DustBuster as my Navigator after she started calling me Captain. A few others have also changed it to Captain Greenbeard. No complaints from me!

There was an incredible sunrise this morning. I got a great picture but it still doesn’t do it justice. The sunrise was just a precursor for the day. We descended into a lush forested valley where a stream was growing stronger and stronger until is cascaded down a series of waterfalls. Flowers were blooming and a lizard even came out to say “hello!”

It was just as I had predicted when entering the Smokies. We would leave them and suddenly Spring would be all around us! There was a short road hike followed by an uphill that was slightly grueling. The reward was a stream full of cold Coka Cola and a short hike to the Hostel.

The Standing Bear Hostel is a very homely place with a kitchen, bunkhouse, laundry room (hand wash/machine dry), and a store that runs on a trust-system. It’s a Hiker’s Paradise! We rested for a couple of hours. DustBuster showered and did laundry, I decided to forego until Hot Springs in 2 days. I, at least, try to rinse my shirt and wipe myself down everyday so the Stench is not yet strong with me.

We moved on, joined by Kyle, and camped just a couple of miles further. We were the first ones to arrive but not the last. The site turned into a little village of friendly hikers and it was an enjoyably cool night.

12.8 miles easily done. Gonna feel great in the morning!

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