Homer's Travels: Appalachian Trail: Gatlinburg, TN To Standing Bear Farm Hostel

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Appalachian Trail: Gatlinburg, TN To Standing Bear Farm Hostel

UPDATED 10-18-2020

The trail is changing.  As I climbed into the Smokies evergreen trees appeared over moss covered ground.  As I left and the altitude dropped new flowers and leafed out trees greeted me.  I've been on the trail for thirty-one days and I've watched nature come alive.

Day 30 - Hitchhiking didn't happen.  After another thru-hiker and I tried and failed to get anyone to stop we decided to share a Lyft to Newfound Gap.

Charlie's Bunion.
The hike out of the gap was tough but I'm getting better on the hills and the hills in the Smokies don't feel as steep as those in Georgia.  I ended up skipping the short side trail to Charlie's Bunion.  In hindsight I should have taken the time to do more of these side trips.  I always felt in a hurry to get to the end of the day.

Met Mama Peaches and her daughter Woodstock (Months later I would meet them again after they flip flopped) and a few section hikers.

Day 31 - I decided to do another long day.  This time it was 13.2 miles (21.2 km).  It drizzled on and off though I still saw some awesome views.

A view before the rain.
I felt good when I got to the shelter.  Then I started sneezing.  From out of no where my allergies began to rage.  I was sneezing, my eyes were itching, and my nose was running.  It would be a Benadryl night.

A Ridgerunner and his supervisor spent the night with us in the shelter as the rain started coming down.

Day 32 - A month on the trail.  People got up early today.  This gave me the opportunity to see my first sunrise on the trail.  The best view of the sunrise was from the Privy.

I left the Smokies today on a long downhill hike.  This was another rule of the park, you had to get through the park in eight days or less.  At one time I didn't think I would make it but it turned out not to be a problem as I hiked out on day eight.

The weather started out great but turned humid as the day went on and the rain returned.

My first sunrise on the AT.
Part of the trail passed a river and the sound of water was soothing.  The ground was wet from the rain and going downhill was slow and a bit slickery.

A cluster of butterflies.
The trail crosses over the first major river (the Pigeon River) before going under I40.  There was some trail magic under the bridge.  From there it was a short, humid hike to Standing Bear Farm Hostel where I spent the night, ate some good food, took a hot shower, and did some resupply.  An interesting place in the middle of nowhere.  This hostel would close down due to a norovirus outbreak.  The fact the cook didn't wear gloves and the kitchen wasn't far from the privy should have been a warning sign.  Fortunately I didn't get sick.

Pictures can be found in my 2019 Appalachian Trail Google Photos album.

Total Distance: 250.26 Miles (402.75 km)
Section Distance: 35.39 Miles (56.95 km)
Section Elevation Up: 6,460 ft (1,969 m)
Section Elevation Down: 9,497 ft (2,895 m)

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