The Appalachian Trail through the Great Smoky Mountains.

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Shortly before Clingmans Dome the flora turned to evergreens. It has stayed that way for nearly the rest of the park. It was a nice change from the bare winter forests. The trail has also been a lot of true ridge walking. Obviously, that is nice too.

I stayed at Tri Corner Knob Shelter last night. There were four of us. We are forced to stay in shelters in this park. I’m not thrilled of that fact, but last night’s torrential rains and lightening made me happy that I was indoors.

Today was cold. Clearly a cold front had moved in with the system. Trees had a little ice, and it felt like I expected an early start on this trail would. I hiked on to Standing Bear Hostel without pause, eating only on the move.

I’m actually not a fan of this hostel, and I say so reluctantly. The facilities are indeed pretty cool. I love that the wall of the shower is the AT logo made of beers bottles. I like the rustic wood buildings and funky kitchen. They have a fairly priced and well stocked resupply room. And heck, all of this is perfectly placed practically on the trail. The turnoff for me is the owner and the staff. In short, I find them to be asses. They complain about hikers, make fun of people and they are sexist and homophobic. While the place reminds me of hippy rural california, the people are squarely rural east tennessee. I’d shy away if you are female, gay, non-white, old, sober, or the politically correct type.

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