I know I’m over 3 weeks behind now. I’m writing this from a library in Connecticut, and you can only reserve a computer for a half-hour at a time here. I can’t write long posts on my phone because the hardware keyboard is fried. I’ve ordered a new one under warranty and it has already chased me across half the country. When it finally catches me, I’ll take a zero to set it up and get as much writing done as I can. In the meantime, you’ll just have to be as patient as I have to be right now.
If anyone has any mp3 audiobooks just sitting around on their drives, please let me know. I’ve finished the last of the ones I got before the beginning of the trip, and getting new ones is very difficult without a proper computer.
When I was sitting in the lobby of the HoJo in Daleville, I did a little bit of research on the upcoming section of trail, and discovered that there was a movie theater in Buchanan (pronounced bug-CAN-non, as in an inefficient way to kill blackflies). I decided instantly that I was going to get there to see a movie, and announced this intention to Medicine Man and Kudo. Jennings Creek, the road crossing nearest this fabled city, was just ten miles from Bobblet’s Gap shelter, and I told Coolie that night (where I last left off) that it was my intention to see a movie the very next night. Iron Man 3, if possible, since it had just come out. A little research in the morning revealed that this particular theater did only one showing a night and the only movie playing was The Croods. Well, that’d be better than no movie, so I just needed to figure out a way to get to town by 7:30. Awol’s Guide said that Middle Creek Campground, just a couple of miles east of the trail, could run shuttles, so as long as they could run a shuttle at seven I’d be golden.
I learned something about my phone when my last post uploaded: it can drop from 70% to 10% in the space of ten minutes when the radio is running. I also learned something about the usb cable that came with my mobile battery: it can’t be used to charge my phone. As a result, for two days after my last posting, I was completely without use of my phone, and I didn’t have paper to take notes on either, so this update will be covering 5 days from memory.
From Spence Field, my next target shelter was Silers Bald, which meant crossing the (usually) most difficult piece of trail in the Smokies, up over Rocky Top and Thunderhead, down to Derrick Knob and then doing the first half of the long, slow climb to the top of Clingman’s. Rocky Top is supposed to have about the finest view in the Smokies, but the visibility was poor all that day, as a fog had rolled in following the snow that morning. I made it to Derrick Knob by 2:30, and decided to change pants and eat a bite. Burt (Wildcat) and Roy were already in there putting together a fire to warm the thru-hikers. Wildcat is an old notorious triple-crowner (AT, PCT, CDT) who works at an outfitter in Maryville. He gave me a piece of peppermint chocolate, some cheesesticks, and a trail name: Blast. Roy let me try to charge off his mobile battery, but, of course, it was unsuccessful, though I hadn’t figured out why yet. Of course, because the temperature was below freezing all day, my hose to my waterbag had frozen solid, so I melted it in front of the fire before I left. Of course it refroze within minutes of leaving.