Day 22- This is the day I got to the top of Clingman’s Dome. I have officially gone over 200 miles! I thought it was going to be a very hard straight up walk but it was actually one of my nicer uphill climbs. When I left Double Spring Gap Shelter, it was lightly raining and I had to put on my damp pants over my leggings, which I pulled back out last night to sleep in (also wrapped in my Pike Trail tarp for added warmth, thanks Ben). On top was my rain gear and I thought I would be too hot going uphill but it was just right. I entered another enchanted forest of another kind this time for the entire trek up the mountain. It was dark, misty, and low growing coverage that seemed to swallow you up. Again, I was in no hurry to get through. Anything laying on the forest floor was covered in a thick green moss, contrasting against the the brown, muddy trail and the green of the sweet smelling balsam trees. The memories of Christmas followed me throughout the day. When I got to the top the sun peeked through for a moment and beams of sunshine poured through the thick foliage. A sight to behold! The balsam trees are here due to the elevation and I will see them again in Vermont.
Saucy caught up with me before the next shelter and we decided to go into Gatlinburg tomorrow, shower, wash clothes, resupply, and eat a lot. That will be a good day. I met three new guys today at the shelter, Roy, Brian, and Troy. They are buddies from Augusta, GA. A very interesting group out for a section hike. I really enjoyed our conversations. Brian is originally from Walhalla and when I called it Hogwaller he knew I was legit. Troy had stents put in a couple weeks ago and is doing great to be out here! He showed me his 38 ultralight, now I want one, very light. Two old geezers showed up, one out of breath, one with a busted knee. I don’t know how he walks on it. The shelter is starting to fill so I am going to eat the last of my supper, hang my bear bag and climb into my sleeping bag to stay warm watching the interesting people. Good Night and Sweet Dreams!