Tired Dogs in Mollies Ridge
J: From my log, I'm 8 percent done with the hike. I was to be here last Saturday, so I'm nearly a week off from where I would have been if I had started on time. Time. Who cares. It is so pretty up here in the Smokies. I'm in Mollies Gap, looking out at a cloud-shrouded late dusk of leafless trees and a doe grazing 10 meters off. These shelters are stone three-sides. A fire burns from the fireplace, yielding warmth and woodsmoke to the damp evening air. The winds rise and fall of their own accord; and a few remaining birds offer late calls and song.
The hike was tough, up from the dam. I couldn't resist one more shower for free - so as we broke camp, I indulged prior to crossing the dam.
The shelter is a cage for people, to protect us and gear from bears -- quite something. I share it tonight with Tired Dogs and three weekenders we met last night. These fellas are older locals out of Chattanooga or Knoxville in for a brisk hike to Clingman's. They came into the F. Hilton about 11:30 -- making a racket and shining light in our eyes. Needless to say, we weren't amused. But this evening, we came to know them a bit better. We = Tired Dogs and me. She's a gal from Newport, R.I. who came down with her pooch for the heck of it. Thru-hiking and looking for truths. Her pup wasn't doing too well on Trail, and rather than risk injury, she sent it home to recoup.
The forest up here offers such quiet solice. Good trip so far. My L achilles barks in the most painful way. Loosening the boot lacing helps. R ankle remains swollen and the R knee is sore on descents. Tomorrow - Derrick Knob or Silers Bald, depending on the legs.