Day 20 Silers Bald shelter to Ice water Shelter Mile 210.4 (Smokies Day 3 )

I had just gotten I to bed when squirrel arrived  and decide to get  the fire going in the shelter which was great as it took the chill off as it was cold

Several other hiker  had  decided to  head  to  Climans knob to see the sun set early in the morning so  had  decided  to sleep in their cloths  and  sport out  their  gear  so  they wouldn’t wake  the  rest of  us when they  left   early.

at 3 am i thought we were being stampeded by  elephants  as the early morning hikers were making so much  noise  and  their  headlamps  flashed around  the shelter  as if  looking  for  escaped prisoners
So  much  for  the silent getaway !!
I finally woke at 7 and was amazed to  see only  1 other hiker and myself remained.
I quickly got out of bed, deflated my pad before heading into the woods.
I  fired up my stove and put on a brew, as it came to the boil I stored my bag and pad and brought my pack outside.
I was enjoying  my tea when a deer strolled  straight through camp  then  stopped  to eat grass taking no notice of  me
I enjoyed my tea then decided to have an I instant  oats in the hope it may give me more energy. Once eaten I hoisted my pack and set off down the trail. It was an awful trail littered with  rocks and  roots and  steep , No way could I have followed the trail in the dark with the other Hikers to see the sunrise.
I pushed on and on arriving at the other shelter at 9 am, I was pleased to see several familiar faces  of  Tarzan, Tank, Big Red, Magic and Whitey.
I paused  to  chat awhile  saying about  the  mass  exodus  of  hikers  early  in the morning, They all laughed as it had happened at this shelter too
Later guys I  said  and  headed out  to  the trail

This part of  the trail was lovely, it passed through  lovely forests  and so  the  tread  was pine straw   and with  the sun heat, the pine aroma was gorgeous.
I was heading for the Fire Tower at Climans knob which was almost 2hrs away  but  the sun was baking  and the trail steep

When my watch  informed me 2 hrs were up i decided to  stop for a break , I was enjoying the sun  when Tarzan and Whitey came by
“Are  you going to the Tower” Snail they said
“I’m not sure ” I replied
“definitely worth a visit Snail ” they both replied
Bloody he’ll, I thought and pushed on, I hadn’t  planned to  go  there  but  as it was recommended
I soon came to a sign post  pointing the way and I am  so glad that i I did as it  really was worth the visit.

As i approached  the tower  it was very  busy  with  many  day  visitors  of all shapes and  colours .I climbed to the top which also  was very busy with tourists but the views from the top  were amazing. I stayed  for about 15 minutes   before  returning to the trail as  I had miles to crush
I pounded miles all afternoon  spending most of the afternoon decending  but dreading the final up. At 2pm  I decided to stop for lunch and  to rest my feet
My next target was  XXXX gap
It seemed to take ages to get there. But wow what a view when I got there.
As i walked And there was preacher and two female hikers giving trail magic . one was Long bird and the other Crispy
I had a toasted cheese sandwich served in tomatoes soup and it was oh so good.
I then drained a beer and then Creature  passed me another.
I was just about to  leave when crispy insisted I take another beer  and  would i also like one to pack out ?

Why  thanks  I said  and  soon drained another before  stuffing the  last can into my pack  I thanked them both again ,before hoisting up my pack  and  heading out .
It  was a fairly steep  climb and  I  kept meeting numerous  day trippers coming  down
It was still a gorgeous day  as I  climbed and climbed  some  times I stopped to  chat  to  the day  trippers  other times  I just  pushed on  At  last I was at  the top and  thankfully the trail leveled  out    .
at last I reached the shelter , it was fairly  busy  but  there was space . so  I grabbed a spot  before heading out front to  relax  in the afternoon sun
I drained my  beer  then began to cook supper
I was busy cooking when Dan & Beth arrived.  they  joined me  in the sun
During the conversation I said I have been carrying these gloves that i   picked up all day! To my amazement  BEth said  I love you so much  snail  THEY ARE MINE !!
how  spooky and amazing
So now getting ready for bed .

Start 194.7
Finish 210.4
mileage 15.7 miles


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