April 28th
Tri-Corner Knob Shelter(222.4)-Standing Bear Hostel(240.5)N Carolina/Tennessee
18.1mi+1.2mi side trail=19.3mi

Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook’s AT Hiker app. Icons not significant. He has apps for many trials including the PCT and CDT.

So thankfully, it just rained just a bit overnight and I was totally fine in my tent. No thunderstorm that might have had me running into the shelter. As I said yesterday, I decided to take my first zero day a bit early because of the incoming severe weather. I am getting picked up today instead of tomorrow night and will take my zero tomorrow. Severe weather is said to be moving in and I’m stubborn, but not stupid. I’m playing it safe and getting off before the weather gets dangerous. Today was the last day in the Smokies and a downhill cruise to my end destination. I awoke to realize I was in a cloud and it was gusty. I can definitely see how it can be dangerous in the Smokies and how the weather can turn quick up there. As I hiked down, it cleared up, but the fog was pretty cool.

It was a relaxed day and I had good service so I was able to make my daily call to my twin sister. I haven’t Skyped with my nephews since I’ve been on trail and the 2yr old was requesting to see me on the computer, so I was able to Skype right there on the trail and show him where I was. I just love technology! Who can resit that adorable face!?

The weather wasn’t expected to get worse until tonight and tomorrow, so I decided to do a side trail that many were recommending that was .6mi each way to the viewpoint. It was Mt. Cammerer and was well worth the side trip! Notice the fire tower on the right in the panoramic shot. I had lunch on the rocks there and enjoyed the view all to myself.

I didn’t see another thru hiker until the last mile and enjoyed having the trail to myself. I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Divergent and it’s been entertaining and the perfect book for me to hike to. As I came down out of the Smokies and officially exited the park the scenery changed very suddenly. I turned a corner and suddenly there were more leaves on the trees. As I went further down, the green became more intense with purple flowers speckled around.

A wonderful local couple, Diana and Joey, kindly offered to host me for my first zero. The original plan was for them to pick me up in Hot Springs, NC tomorrow night, but I am lucky that they live close to may out points along about a 60mi stretch of the AT. They were able to meet me at a popular hostel along the trail called Standing Bear Hostel. Tons of hikers seemed to be there also aware of the predicted weather. Diana and Joey were sure to prioritize by first taking me for a burger, fries and milkshake. On the tv, we could see the tornado watch in effect that includes this area for later tonight. Severe storms will continue tomorrow and possibly into the next day. When I got to Diana and Joey’s, they had everything set giving me my own room and bathroom along with a third room for my “pack explosion” with an explosion quilt laid out to put my things on. They also had seen all the foods I like to eat on trail and made me the ultimate hiker welcome box. I even get to wear M&M scrubs and a baggy long sleeve. Just the perfect setup for my first zero tomorrow! Thank you Diana and Joey!

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