I got my first resupply box that I prepared for myself mailed to Standing Bear. Thanks for the mail and the Platypus dad, and Happy Father’s Day from the trail. Wish I could take us to a Chinese buffet right now. Like, now!
Instead I’m enjoying my lunches of Greenbelly’s again. These things make great trail food.
They are consistently light and moist yet filling. I’m happy with the variety of six distinct flavors and the packages are re-sealable.
Leaving Standing Bear you enter the Pisgah National Forest.
Don’t be fooled, just because you’re out of the Smokey Mountains, doesn’t mean there aren’t big climbs and switch backs looming ahead. I finally downloaded the topographic maps for this section of trail on the GutHook app.
Right away you have nearly 5 miles up Snowbird Peak.
There’s an odd looking FAA ping station up there for air traffic control. It’s strange to walk up on out here.
Water still needs a daily planning but it’s not as barren as the Smokies. A well placed leaf does amazing things for making fill-ups easier.
Max Patch is next in line with a 6.5 mile summit. It’s one of the largest grassy balds on the trail. We found some trail magic of cut dry firewood a half mile before the summit. We both loaded up half a dozen logs. It’s starting to get hot… I think my pack is nearing 60lbs at this moment, ugh.
There’s camping up there but it can be windy or buggy. The biting flies are suddenly on the extra annoying trend. “Forest Fire” (aka Solo) and I found a great spot north about a mile down trail with a ground spring bubbling up at a campsite at the tree line. It’s great to be able to drop camp when and where you want again. ‘Merica, eff ya!
Looking up the side of the bald around 10pm, just out of the tree line, revealed a sea of lightening bugs in their synchronous light show. All below a clear starry sky. Beautiful. Like so many views along the AT, pictures just don’t do it justice.
I covered the 34 miles to Hot Springs in two days. The second day I did 19 miles, so close to my first 20.
Hot Springs is home to the famed Smokey Mountain Diner. Nothing like a giant diner breakfast for dinner to make you pull extra miles!