May 6 - Great hiking day.
I was apprehensive starting out today. I feel this way whenever leaving the safety and comfort of a town with hot showers and food and the Weather Channel. It's fear, plain and simple. Fear from lack of experience and the unknown.
I did my first bounce box, sending a couple of pounds of stuff up the trail that I haven't used. My pack is a little lighter as a result.
It was 50 F in Gatlinburg when we set out on the third shuttle of the morning. The NOC sent their shuttle to the other store and the only option was a taxi service. $10 a head to Clingman's Dome, about an hour's drive.
We got up the mountain by 10:30 a.m. and watched the digital temperature read-out in the cab's mirror drop to 34 F by the time we got to the top. It was clouded in, so there were no views from the viewing platform. We had to climb a half mile up to the platform so it got even colder and there was snow in the woods!
But soon we were hiking and generating heat. The trail had running water on it, so we got a little damp but all it all it was a great hiking day. Not too steep up or down, with lots old growth type forest with downed trees covered in emerald green moss, looking like they had been there for decades. There was lots of roots and rocks to keep things interesting too.
We're in Icewater Spring shelter at 5939 feet altitude so it will be a cold one. It's 6:30 p.m. and the temperature is coming down. I've had dinner and the food bag has been hung. I'm ready to call it a day.