Rocky Top

Guess where I was today, bluegrassers? Good old Rocky Top. Rocky Top, Tennessee. I had the two lines of lyrics I could remember stuck in my head all day.

Last night was super warm in the shelter, it was amazing. Leaving the shelter had some chilly wind going, although the climbs today had me working on my farmer tan again. The ridge runner had told us we’d be going through the hardest 6 miles of the park today, although I didn’t see how it was any different from the rest of the trail. Some steep ups and downs I guess. I was moving a little faster than yesterday though, despite lots of breaks for meals. I am definitely starting to eat more. Breakfast at 8, second breakfast at 9:45, lunch at 11:30, second lunch at 2:45, dinner at 6. Then I hung my food bag so there was no second dinner.

I really enjoyed the trail today going over Rocky Top and Thunderhead Mountain. While walking on the ridges, it was almost like a bald: wide grassy area and fewer trees. Or at least that’s what I expected balds to look like, but they haven’t yet. Some of the ones listed in the guide I don’t think even existed. I heard that a lot are manmade and not maintained well so things start growing back and you can’t tell it was a bald.

I am at Silers Bald shelter tonight, although I am in my tent. I did 14.7 miles today so the shelter was already packed by the time I got here at 5:30. It’s a shame since there is a fire going in the fireplace inside tonight. Some section hikers got a nice roaring fire going outside too though so I stayed up a little later, 8:30 before I headed to my tent. It shouldn’t be as cold tonight but it’s still very windy so I do have extra layers on. Tomorrow will be a much shorter day so I may even sleep in. Or at least not get out of my sleeping bag as early.

Also today, I passed the point where I have less than 2000 miles to go!




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  1. Vince and Cindy April 7, 2013 — 8:29 pm

    Cindy and I are staying up to read your post as soon as we get them, so glad that you are now with less than 2000 miles to go. šŸ™‚ did you see any bears yet? Take care and drive on !

  2. These shelter’s are they cabins the word shelter leads one to think very minimal but you write there was a fire in one last night. I so can’t wait for your spring picture’s ..

    • You can see a picture of what most shelters look like on the FAQ page. Shelters in the Smokies are made of stone and have fireplaces though. And all the ones I’ve seen so far have tarps strung up over the open side so it stays warm.

  3. I started singing. šŸ™‚ You are in the area of my ancestors! Miss you!

  4. Well if you want to sing it like the University of Tennessee then you go: “Rocky Top, you’ll always be, home sweet home to me…..good ole Rocky Top..Whooooo!..Rocky Top Tennessee, Rocky Top Tennessee”.

  5. You’re awesome Kris! You got this!

  6. Funny, I was just picking this out on mando yesterday. Sounds like you’re having a jolly good time. It seems a bit unfair that daytrippers get reservations and thru-hikers don’t. Isn’t the world screwed up that way? Hope you have a restful night. Cheers!

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