Rock Gap – Franklin (105.9) to Bushcamp (115.9)
It rained all night, not just any kind of rain, it was heavy and with lots of wind. I was slow to get going in the morning due to a very restful sleep. I stuck my head out of my room to hear tales of tents blowing away and people being blown out of their hammock as the storm front hit. Hikers had just arrived by shuttle from the trail. Some hikers suffered, the ones in the shelters fared much better. I don’t think there will be too many people hiking on the trail today by choice, I planned to be one of them. If I took a day off everyday there was rain, I’d never make it to Maine.
Soop and I searched for a place open for breakfast. It seemed like all the diners were closed and we unfortunately settled on crappy fast food. Very disappointed we went back to our room to check out. We almost forgot to organise our permits for the Smokies National Park. Unfortunately, there is no simple way for Appalachian Trail hikers to enter the most visited national park in the country. I organised my permit but was unable to email me the permit, which is very important. [Edit, the permit was emailed 4 hours later while I was hiking on trail and unable to print it].
While at the outfitter I heard the news that an Appalachian Trail hiker that was arrested for allegedly committing armed robbery at the local Franklin Post Office.
It was 2pm when Soop and I reached Rock Gap. It was cool and rain threatened. A guy with a titanium knee arrived to provide some Bud magic, as he called it. Handing out Budweiser beer to hikers. I had been given a beer while in town and didn’t feel like another, not on such a dreary day.
I set off alone while other hikes enjoyed their Bud Magic. It wasn’t long before it started to drizzle, then rain, then flood. It was torrential at times. My hiking umbrella continued to work well keeping me dry and sweat free. Any views were non existent and all I could do was slosh through the mud.
The rain settled in for the afternoon. I put my headphones in and listened to Game of Thrones. I’ve almost finished all the series. I find them a great escape on days like this. Talking about days like this, I really enjoyed the hike in the rain and mud. I think a day like today builds the sort of character I need to finish the Appalachian Trail.
My camp was a small spot on the side of the trail. The rain was torrential when I set up my tent which also served to show me the places that were not pooling water. While cleaning up after dinner I made a rookie mistake. I spilled the washing up water inside the vestibule of the tent. Lumps of pasta, sauce and tuna should serve well to attract the bears to my tent. I hope you sleep better than me, good night.