Week four started at Fontana Dam. Mom and dad came to pick up Stella so that we could hike the Smokie Mountains. Through the Smokies we only slept in the shelters, which are beautiful stone structures with fireplaces. One night we had a campfire so Tom could grill his spam. We climbed the highest mountain on the Appalachian Trail, which is Clingman's Dome at 6,643 feet. At Clingman's Dome we hit our 200 mile point. Unfortunately, it was raining so we didn't get an amazing view. Tom and I are planning to come back to this area next year to do some trail magic, so we will have to check it out then.
Since it was rainy and cold, we took a few days off in Gatlinburg, TN. We were happy to get out of town and back into the trail. It is a nice town, but too many people for us. Also, they didn't have many dry wines at the tasting rooms.
We were so happy with our discussion to not hike the rainy days, because the views were amazing when the skies cleared. We were able to finish the Smokies a few days later. Mom and dad dropped Stella back off at Standing Bear Hostel where we did a resupply. Now they are on their way down to Florida to visit family.
We are spending time in Hot Springs right now, which means we have hiked 274.9 miles on the trail. We are both having troubles with our feet. Tom changed out his shoes in Gatlinburg and they are not working out. I found a new pair here in Hot Spring and I hope they will help me. On the way into town, I was ready to throw in the towel. I have been having knee and foot pain. While we are here, we are getting a massage and going to the hot springs. We found a cute little cottage on the edge of town. Hopefully we will be good as new when we leave. The rain should stop Sunday night, so we plan to hit the trail again Monday.
In a week, Christal, Claire and Erika will join us. They plan to backpack with us for about a week. I can't wait to see them!