Saturday, June 1, 2013

New Battle Plan

"A good battle plan that you act on today can be better than a perfect one tomorrow."  
General George Patton
We needed a new plan and I immediately started creating one.  With my sense of helplessness, being so far away from my other mode of transportation besides feet, I (we) wanted to get closer to the truck to gain some control back.  

As we were $huttled back to the truck, I started making some other plans for the next few days.  We would do some yellow blazing (traveling along the trail by vehicle) and maybe check out some of the "high points" of the trail, giving Lisa's ankle some rest and taking it one day at a time with much more control of our doings and goings.  

When we got back to the truck, I suggested driving to Clingmans Dome up in the Smokies, which is the highest point the AT passes.  It straddles the North Carolina and Tennessee and borders and has a nice visitor's tower to climb.  We got there and found a parking place quickly.  The day was pleasant, with some clouds.  It was pretty warm.  It was weird up there at 6643' of altitude.  It looked like spring had just arrived.  

View from Clingmans Dome parking lot
Most of the trees were just sprouting their leaves and the flowering trees were in full bloom.  The trail to the tower was 1/2 mile.  It was paved, but at a pretty steep angle.  It would be a good test of Lisa's ankle. 

We walked up and went up into the tower for a look around and to take a picture or two.  There were quite a few tourists around and a few hikers too.  The walk up hadn't been too hard, but it was a little workout.  Lisa's ankle felt fine.

From atop the observation tower
We headed down and were going to drive to Gatlinburg for lunch and a look around at the town that has quite a reputation.  As we were heading out of the parking lot, we saw two hiker hitching.  We pulled over and picked them up.  They were Honro from Germany and Sunshine from Brazil.  We had some nice conversation as we headed down the mountain and into down.  When we were about halfway down, it started raining.  Then it started pouring.  Then it started hailing.  It was quite a storm we drove through.  When we got to Gatlinburg, the rain had stopped, (in fact it looked like it hadn't even rained in town) and the sun was shining.  Weird Smokies weather.  We dropped off the hikers and found a place to eat.  I was craving pizza as usual and we got a nice white pizza which we polished off with no problem. 

Next it was another drive to Daleville, VA where we got a room at the local Howard Johnsons.  It was pretty cheap and there were a lot of hikers there.  We settled in and checked our gear.  We were in the area of the most photographed location on the trail, McAfee Knob.  

Tomorrow we would hike...

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