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!