Day 23 leaving the Smokies

I slept really well. we were all telling jokes till I dropped off.
I was up fairly early as it was going to be a big day for me as my target  was 16 miles

I  put on a brew and packed up as the water boiled
I said my good-byes and hoisted up my pack and set off.
Dan had said that it was mainly down today. but  then Dan tells fibs .
I began my first climb and all felt good eventhough it went on and on but  agin the views were amazing so I frequently stopped to admire the views wow. I pushed on until  I came to a side trail. which I had been advised to take.. it was narrow and had warnings on. But wow again the views were amazing..
But as I was on a mission so  pushed on until i camtomy first dcent of the day and it was steep, oh so steep I had to be careful so I did not hurt my knees.  The decent went on for at least an hour , it was then followed by another  steep  climb. It was so  steep that i was soon huffing and puffing. Bloody hell, it took me 40 mins to sumit before it  levelled and  then  headed straight  down. Luckily the decent  was smooth so I began go get a good rhythm , the next minute I was lying in the dirt staring at the sky . Bollocks I said to myself getting slowly to my feet and  dusting  myself down. Thankfully I wasn’t hurt. ,just bloody anoyed
I set off again a little more slowly  , soon I came to the next shelter but this was not my target so hiked on. I was still going down, now the trail became really crappy with loose rock and  roots  that  again wanted to throw you to the ground and so  my pace  slowed. It  was so crappy  that it seemed to  take  ages   to  navigate  it. At last it levelled  before  the  next climb began and climb it did
I was so pleased when  my  watch  pinged  meaning that it was time  for  lunch, but i decided to wait until i  got to the top
AT last the Fire Tower came into view and with  a nice spot to stop.. i put dropped my pack, put down my tyvek then sat down  took off my shoes and socks and relaxed.
I checked my map.  wow I had covered 11miles and if was only 12.30 meaning it was only 5 miles to the shelter whoop whoop. I and it was downhill yeah
I packed up my stuff  and set  off down the  trail, I  was soon into the zone  and was cruising . Ping went my watch,  great i thought another hour and I should be there. I began to  decend , spiralling  slowly down. yes I can see  the shelter  and its  only 3pm. what a day and 16 miles.
I walked up to the Shelter it was empty. This shelter had the fence on the front  to keep out bears. Once all the shelters in the Smokies  had  these  fences ,  but  were later removed as stupid  people fed the bears through the fences
I went and got water and had just made tea when when my friends appeared high above me.
“SNAIL we are going on”  They shouted
“Really ,,,,,,,Fuck” I said.
I quickly packed up and set off after them, but they were fast and so i was almost  running to keep up.
They had decided to  head to Standing Bear Hostel. that was another 5 miles away
I was doing okay as we followed the river heading towards the road.
As we headed down we came to the permit box. that marked the exit of the smokies  Hurray we are out of the Smokies. We all posed  around  the Permit box  for  photos before  continuing on
There  was a short road walk but as i  made my way along  I began to run out of steam  and  my pace slowed  and i began to swear alot . I  was only encouraged on by the  thought of cold beer . The last mile was a  killer and  so i almost  crawled into Standing Bear Hostel.
Luckily  there was one  bunk spot left for  me , I  found  it and dropped my  pack as  I was done.
After I got my breath back I grabbed beer ordered a pizza and my sense of humour returned  and i  began to relax.
I joined  the gang around the  firepit  and  Catching up  gossip  and laughing until my eys began to struggle to stay open
night

Start 223
Finish 241
mileage 18 miles
Remaining 1949 Miles

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