April 11 2015
This was one of the hardest days I spent on trail. We climbed the rest of the way up into the Smoky Mountains to camp at the base of Clingman’s Dome. We intended to wake up at 4am and climb to the summit for sunrise.
I walked with Sam all day. I met Captain K and Greg on this day. I also saw Paul again!
17 miles of hell
Climbed into the Smokies and felt an unbearable weight pulling me downward, as I toil towards the highest point on the trail. The day wore on me, the uncaring trail. The incurable exhaustion of hiking has set in and sleep offers no rest. We are always climbing onward trudging over the next hills. Sam and I were so tired that we were cursing the flowers, yelling at tree roots, kicking rocks, venting anger without direction. Then it hit me, that familiar feeling of my body wanting one thing and one thing alone.
We stopped at a nice log and I ran off into the woods to find a good toilet tree.
Sam prepared some rambombs Then Sam went off in the opposite direction to find a nice tree. After we relieved ourselves and replenished, we felt the entire world change. Everything suddenly seemed light and beautiful. That night we made camp at the foot of Clingman’s dome and planned to wake at 4 am to attempt a sunrise summit.
My alarm woke me in the dead of night. I felt an anxiety as I listened to the freezing wind hit the side of my tent. I poked my head out in the darkness and felt my mounting concern slip away when peering down at me were brilliant stars. No fog this morning, we were going to climb.
The tramily, myself and Just Greg left Double Spring shelter in the dark and night hiked Clingman’s Dome.