Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 24-Rainy to Beautiful Again, Clingmans Dome

Don't be fooled by any glamour AT blogs...this is how I look in the morning, so grungy-thank god for bandanas! Man I need a shower! Last night the thunder and lightning was ferocious...the wind was strong as well. I didn't sleep too well and prayed a tree didn't fall on me! The rain didn't stop in the morning and I slowly did my morning routine, I even cooked breakfast in my tent-second time was successful! I took my time packing up knowing that things were about to get wet and I would have to pack a wet muddy tent again. Lynn rolled out and I did about a half hour later. The rain wasn't that bad once I started walking and got warm, and then it was just windy so I thought maybe I would try to make it the 13.5 miles past Clingmans to the shelter. Korey's ankle was bothering him so they were talking of stopping before Clingmans at a shelter around 7 or 8 miles from where we started. I caught up with them at the first shelter where they had lunch and I did the same, we discussed our options and compromised for a good plan-hike 4 more miles to Clingmans, then get a ride into Gatlinburg and take a zero so we agreed. We hiked on through a gorgeous green forrest up toward Clingmans it reminded me of hiking in CT. The majority was a nice gradual hike in the green woods, once we got closer it was more rocky and less gradual Erin (Lynn's daughter) called a shuttle for us and will be picking us up at 5 at the parking lot. Korey and I got up there and walked up to the tower around 4:30 and it was pretty clear! There were a lot of tourists and they would come up for 2 minutes take a photo with their iPad and leave. Sorry but it was an accomplishment for me and I was going to enjoy it! It sure got cold fast though so my layers went on, still no sign of Lynn as it neared closer and closer to 5 so after taking a bunch of photos we headed down the tower and down toward the parking lot. Almost halfway down we see Lynn down there saying our ride is here, guess she decided to just got down to the parking lot instead of checking out the tower! So there I am on the side of the road and on my right is something big, dark, and fuzzy...yup a bear. A cub, but a bear nonetheless and a cub means a mother is not far away...the more reassuring thing: we were in the car by now hehehe so we stopped, took photos out of the window (exactly how I want to see a bear!) and drove off. After a lengthy drive down to town we arrived at the Grand Prix Motel...classy establishment, that had a for sale sign out front. The sign below: no idea what they are trying to say there. The room kinda scared me...reminded me of some of the monkey picnic hotels we stayed in down south back when I was younger. Priorities: got my laundry in, showered, hung my tent to dry, Facetimed with mom giving the baby a bath, and then we went to the brewery for dinner! We got the sampler to try out their beers and I got an amazing ale steak, broccoli, and mashed potatoes-so.good. We finished up the evening with some Tosh.0 and tried to go to bed but the AC didn't work and it was hot as hell. I couldn't fall asleep it was frustrating.

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