I was a bit apprehensive going into the Smokies. I had met a guy with a Christian hiking shirt at breakfast the day we left. He told me he helps organize hiking for 100 Christian men and will be getting off the trail soon. We didn’t get to talk much but I had seen him the day before and wondered if he could be a good guy to hike with. Immediately I could tell he was very dynamic and very committed.
After breakfast we hiked out past the Fontana Hilton, a very nice shelter and across the dam built by the conservation corps. Very impressive. Then up, and up some more. the day was nice, sunshine, cool, flowers starting to bud and blossom. We ended up some 15 miles later at a Spence Field shelter. By a smoldering fire Sam I Am, a female beautician from Colorado was telling stories about her first AT hike. She has a need to fill any silence with anything but was entertaining, nevertheless. It was starting to get cloudy and was expected to rain the next day so against my better judgment, I stayed in the shelter. I told the guy next to me if I snore too loud to poke me. He did. I didn’t even think my eyes were shut when he hit me the first time. The second time I told, him, “Al right, THAT’S IT”. I stayed awake as long as I could and it seemed like I didn’t sleep at all.