Sleep didn’t come quickly for me after our “bear attack”, each time the wind blew I would wake up and look around. The winds whipped and blew fiercely knocking trees over and felling branches. In the middle of the night there was an earth shaking thud, you could feel the shelter shake a bit as the huge tree came down near the shelter. Waking up we were all quite groggy and tired. Our early morning routine began with stretches and breakfast as usual.
Hiking out we planned on 12 to 13 miles for the day. The air was so thick in mist and clouds that vision was limited and so was our hearing. We all kept a good eye out for bears. The high moisture of the ground and the slight rain made hearing almost impossible. We had to rely just on our vision to see animals. For the most part of the day we hiked as group. Heading up and over the onslaught of hills, we trekked on playing word games again.
The mist covered any and all surrounding views from being seen. The day was monotonous at best, our only solace was in each others company. Teddy, Iccarus, Second Chance, Thunder (Kevin), and I kept each other company. Our first big climb was up to Rocky Top, which held up to its name. The Tapp was bare and sheer rock. In the little bit of dirt you could see hundreds of bear prints and many other signs that they frequented the area often. Believe it or not this probably was our high point in the day.
The second real peak we had was Thunder Mountain, Kevin’s mountain. We trudged up the long up hill slowly and steadily. I am finding that the terrain on my guide book is a far cry for what we are actually doing. It’s getting to the point where I don’t check it anymore. Everyone was tired when we reached the top. Even Kevin was, his only chance to quote his favorite movie and he blew it, It’s my mountain. Hiking along the ridge we were blessed with just a moment or two of sun before getting to the next shelter.
During this one brief moment of warmth and light I snapped a picture of the sky as we caught just a window into what the Smokey’s looked like behind all the clouds. Finding our last shelter for the night we cooked bedded down and hoped to be fast asleep. Everyone from the previous night was so tired from the evenings events. Everyone picked out there spots as Kevin made a fire inside the shelter. The warmth of the fire would stave off the bitter cold for the remainder of the night.