The Smokies were incredible! I would say it's been my favorite stretch so far. I saw three bears (a mom and two cubs), two boars, five turkeys, and too many deer to count. The weather was absolutely perfect to showcase the breathtaking views. I get why people love this section.
My favorite day of this section was the third day. I had hiked ahead of my group in order to hit Clingman's Dome for sunrise. I caught up with other friends and everyone in the shelter had the same idea. The entire shelter was asleep by 6:30 and up by 4:00 AM. I took the lead and let me tell you, hiking in the dark fog is bit scary. Any bears out there? Nope!
We arrived at Clingman's to see a complete fog. We were super bummed, but Chief and I stayed around for 7 hours and it cleared up! Scout, Bean, and Alyssa (I had been hiking with them for about two weeks) were about 10 miles behind us and we were waiting for Scout who had to head home that day.
All three crested the hill. It was so good to see them after not camping with them for two nights. And to top it off, Mayo showed up! Mayo is has the best attitude, sense of humor, and quotable quotes. "Avacadoes are good. Guacamole is AMAZING!" Life is just better with him around. We all thought he was several days ahead.
The whole gang was together again to see Scout off. Scout's mom brought us all lunch and we hung out under the sun. It felt like a big family reunion. Bellies and hearts full, we headed down the trail together to reach the 200 mile mark. Scout then headed back to meet his mom and head home. It's really sad to see him go. His story is so inspiring. He worked his butt off to lose weight in order to hike. And he had never stepped foot on a mountain until he climbed Springer Mountain in Georgia. I'm excited for him since he has an awesome job starting in a couple weeks, but I will miss his smiling face on the trail.
I love the sense of comraderie and family that the trail brings. We all come from such different backgrounds but that doesn't matter here. We're in this together, no matter what our hike plans may be, and I love that.
I am a filmmaker. I am an adventurer. I believe in children. My friends are obsessed with my beard. I am obsessed with beer. I want to embrace and fully live this life I’m blessed with. I want to be known as someone who loves deeply.
On May 16, 2017 I set out on my dream, the adventure of a lifetime: a 2,189.8 mile trek of the Appalachian Trail. I want to push people to live their dreams and pursue their passions.