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May 28, Saturday

A beautiful orange and purple sunrise developed this morning through the evergreens surrounding the shelter. Up at 5:50 am once again. Trucked on down to Newfound Gap, the only place in the park where a road cuts through the park from one side to the other. It is here that the access for public vehicles to Clingman's Dome begins. We took in the view and soon found ourselves face to face with a park service ranger who asked how we were doing, and other chit chat before getting to his actual duty of the day - inquiring to see our permit. I knew all along that that was the only reason he was talking with us, he just wanted to be Joe Cool and ease his way into asking without us noticing his change to law enforcement ranger.

From the Newfound Gap parking area which came complete with toilet facilities and trash cans, both of which we utilized, the trail was well graded, smooth, and wide for about a mile or so. I guess that is the distance most tourists will walk out from the parking lot into the "wilds" before turning back to the comfort of their vehicles, or continuing to the next stop on their trip. For some reason this section also has a lack of trail blazing to keep you on the right track. It seemed as though one popped up every half mile or so. Are they trying to get those same travelers lost? The trail then became rocky with small 8 - 10 inch slabs covering the footpath.

Ate lunch somewhere before Peck's Knob, a place perhaps called Bradley's View. Took pictures of a four petalled trillium, a rare find - genetic mutation - considering the name trillium is based on the prefix "tri" meaning three. It seemed to take a long time to cover the distance from Peck's Knob to Tricorners. Arrived a little before 5 pm with 19.6 miles for the day, but hey, it is all down hill from the highest point on the AT right? Had chicken noodle soup with extra noodles and rice added otherwise it would have been all broth. There were several other men at the shelter with us, and we all sat around and listened as one of them told of his adventures with a bear in the park. We all laughed at his description and gestures describing how the bear ran after someone. Cool again at this altitude.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983
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