Miles Today: 7.8
Mile Marker: 209.8 Icewater Spring Shelter
Today was a nice short day. It's amazing how happy you get when you know it's going to be an easy short day. I woke up and hiked 4.8 miles to get to a road and hitched a ride into Gatlinburg. I grabbed a new fuel canister from the outfitter, and I could smell BBQ coming from somewhere and had to have it. I found the place five minutes later. It was a chain restaurant and was kind of meh BBQ, but it hit the spot. I destroyed that plate of brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, potato salad, BBQ baked beans, and cheese buiscuit. I washed it down with Dr. Pepper and backed it with a slice of chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. I then waddled over to the general store and got a small resupply to last me to Standing Bear Farm in three days. They also had a grill going, so I ordered a Philly Cheesesteak to take for dinner tonight.
After the whirlwind town tour, I tried to hitch a ride back to the trail. I ran into another thru hiker who had already been trying to hitch for half an hour with no luck. Gatlinburg is a tourist town, and none of the visitors associate us with the trail. They all assume we're some sort of weird hobos and won't interrupt their vacation to take us back up the mountain. We're hobos with a purpose dammit, and we just want to get back to hiking! The way down is much easier because they see you come out of the woods and hear your story. The guy who brought me and two other hikers in to town was great and loved chatting with us. But alas to return we had to pay for a shuttle. Forty-five dollars for a fifteen minute ride back up the mountain. We split it two ways so it wasn't terrible, but we are unemployed and on a budget. That ride was two days worth of food.
I had a quick three mile hike back on the trail, and I got in early enough to lock down a shelter spot. Another great day on the trail. Two more full days of hiking and then a nearo into Standing Bear. Hopefully I'll have enough of a connection to finally post an update.