Day 16, 4/21: M-243, Paint Brush Crk (20)

imageOne of the last big views from the Smokies.

I made the smart move of not sleeping in the shelter last night and set up my tent nearby. By 7:45 pm there was a big old guy snoring like it was an Olympic event and mixing in some hacking fits every so often for good measure. Needless to say, I slept great 50 yds away, everyone else not so much. I was hit the trail with Salty by 7:15am

This shelter name takes on a whole new meaning nowadays. Also notice the sign warning about bears. Apparently, they were causing some issues over the last several days.

The temps started to warm up as the day wore on and we dropped elevation. This is me at a lunch break staying cool while drying sweaty socks out on the log. (dry helps prevents blisters).

As we dropped elevation the trees were leafing out around 3000′. We’d hit our lowest point on the trail so far at 1500′ after being at the highest point on the AT just the day before.

Wildflowers were blooming.

A rarity, hiking next to a stream )for a half mile) Splashing cold mtn.water on my face felt great!

Crossing the Pigeon River.

and then under I-40.

A short rest and snack break at the Standing Bear hostel. After the stiff climb to get there in 80 degree heat a cold Gatorade tasted great as well as a sleeve of Pringles.

There was one more 1000′ climb to our campsite to end our 20mi day. I listened to part of the audio book Bossy Pants by Tina Fey to power me up the final climb and got to camp ~7:30. I hope to get a pic of camp and post tomorrow. It’s Much past my bedtime now ( 10pm) and there is a light drizzle to put me to sleep.