Starting Location: Cosby Knob Shelter
Destination: Standing Bear Farm
Total Miles: 246.3
Last day in the Smokies with about 8 miles to the northern boundary, and we awoke to another drizzle of rain that again split into sunnier skies. Lots of great wildflowers to see as we got closer to the park’s edge at Davenport Gap. The good news is that I finally figured out how to take a good close-up with my camera! Saw lots of violets, bloodroot, false and true Solomon’s Seal, as well as some crested irises starting to poke up. Passed over a stay at the famed (or perhaps infamed, depending on the hiker you listen to) Mountain Mama’s for a night at Standing Bear Farm Hiker Hostel. Enjoyed a night there in the bunkhouse and some pizza and Guiness for dinner with Professor T and Tacoma Ted. Great day to relax after making early miles and reflect back on an amazing walk through the Smokies–wildflowers, views, beautiful warm weather, sunrise on Clingman’s, and Trail Magic. My only complaint about the park: that day-hikers have priority over thru-hikers for space in all of the park shelters. Does that seem backwards to anyone else?