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Album: journal:20070421

21 Apr 2007: day 71
Start Destination Daily Miles / Total
Jenkins Ridge Newton Bald Campsite 17.5 today / 895.7 total

Since I didn't have any water to cook I just had some snacks before hitting the trail. That's okay because essentially all 8.5 miles to the Smoky Mountain Visitor Center were downhill and on the Parkway. Easy. Three more tunnels and a bunch of overlooks and I was at a bridge over the Oconaluftee River which is the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hurray! From there .8 miles on the River Trail took me to the National Park Visitor Center.

The visitor center was my midday break. I threw out garbage, got water, made lemonade, washed up, filled out a backcountry permit, made phone calls, and ate a Latin Express meat and rice dish. Smoky Mountain National Park is my last section of trail. I'm hiking to Clingmans Dome where the MST finishes then north on the AT out of the park to Davenport Gap where I'll overnight in a hostel.

I began the last bit by leaving the visitor center on route 441 which I'll cross in a few days at Newfound Gap. Fifteen minutes later I was at Mingus Mill, a fully operating flour mill. That was interesting but my campsite was over 3,000 ft higher so I had to get going. The Mingus Creek Trail starts gentle but soon climbs up, up, up. Steadily I moved higher and higher and could see more through the bare trees. Although I had been damp with sweat initially the cooler air began to make it more comfortable. Giant salt stains began appearing on my shirt as it dried. There were many spider webs across the trail but I cleared most with my outstretched pole.

Lo and behold there was another tent at the designated site. Jason is a loadmaster on C130 cargo planes and is finishing an 8 day loop through GSMNP. We shared many stories about backpacking and world travels and gave each other new ideas for future adventures. He also had too many MRE crackers, peanut butter, and jalapeno cheese spread which I was all too happy to accept. Gatorade also. This is my first social campfire experience of the whole trip. I'm hoping to have a couple more before the bus ride home.

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Photo album generated by photo album generator from Marginal Hacks by DavidSun Apr 8 12:17:17 2018

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