Day 16 (Mile 163.9 – 177.0):

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Made a last minute decision to hike up into the Smoky Mountains today at 2pm…(more like 2:30pm since I took lots of pictures of Fontana Dam) ..due to a drastic change in weather for the better. Orginally, planned in staying at the famous Fontana Dam Shelter, on the trail known as the Hilton (shelter with power outlets and showers) to wait for the thunder storms to pass.

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Also, convinced Mirlan to tag along with. For how close we cut it, I couldn’t tell if he was happy to tag along. I personally enjoy it when people push me…at least with activities I enjoy. We have been hiking at similar paces, though it is obvious he is much faster than I…shocking to me too b/c is he has 40+ years on me.  Good company. =) Anyway, in the Smokies you are required to stay at the shelters or tent near them so we needed to hike 10 miles from the trailhead of the Smokies before dark.  I can’t recall a time I hiked faster. We both made it to camp at 7pm, time enough, to set up camp, eat a hot meal, get water, and hang the bear bags with time left before dark.  I personally hiked a little faster towards the end and snagged a spot in the shelter.  The shelter was pretty packed and I am very fortunate for a spot in the shelter.

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