Tri-Corner Gap Knob (221.9) to Standing Bear Farm (240.3)
My campsite was on a steep uneven plot of land but it was well sheltered from the strong winds that belted through the camp overnight. It wasn’t till I started hiking that I realised just how strong the wind was. Most of the trail was enclosed by a thicket of bush and trees that somewhat protected me. When I entered sections that were barron I was nearly knocked off my feet. This is what it’s like hiking on the 5000 feet high ridges in the Great Smokie Mountain National Park.
The first few miles of trail were exposed with occasional good views but the wind stopped me from lingering too long. Over the course of the day the trail started to descend, slowly at first then from 5000 feet to around 1000 feet on one long ridge.
As I descended the landscape changed from thick mangled forest to green open forest. There was a strong purfume from the flowers, somewhat like the smell of Jasmine. I stopped to smell a couple of different flowers but none were producing the smell my nose was smelling. If somebody knows what flower in this part of the world could be making this smell please leave a comment for me.
I continued down through the green forest and fresh water streams to a place called Standing Bear Farm, my planned resupply place. As I walked though the gravel driveway a familiar voice greeted me, it was Anvil. I met him on the Continental Divide Trail last year, we started on the same day. I gave him his trail name due to his very large and very heavy backpack he had last year.
I checked into the farm and got a tour of the place from the dude who typifies backwoods Tennessee. He had a grey old beard that was stained brown from years of roll your own tobacco. He spoke in a matter of fact way that said, don’t screw with me boy or I’ll head out back and grab my shotgun.
Working on the honesty system I grabbed a couple of beers to wash down the pizza as I socialised with Anvil and several other hikers I hadn’t met before. I hand washed my laundry then took a shower that I’d rate 6 stars on Yelp if I could. This was the first time I’d been clean in a week, what a magical feeling.
As more people arrived more beer was consumed until all the beer in the place was consumed. I paid my tab which to my surprise had slightly more beer added to it than I would normally drink. It explained my poor attempt at putting up the tent in the late evening and my inability to remember to unpack my sleeping bag until I woke up cold in the middle of the night. Hope I don’t have a headache tomorrow.
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