I got out of the gate quite late this morning, and was one of the last few to leave Mollies Ridge Shelter at a touch after 9:00am. Quick Change and I sped over the first steep climb and down into Little / Big Abrams Gap before the climb to Spence Field Shelter; myself, Quick Change, Tie Dye, Captain Dan, Bucket List (Mike), Camel, Alfalfa, and Tom dropped out packs for a very well deserved lunch break lying on a wide patch of long dry grass. It was warm, and it was a great opportunity to dry out and take a break. After refueling and enjoying a hiker siesta we hauled our arses up some of the steepest trail I’ve hiked in a while – hand over feet rock scrambling and up steep ascents to Rocky Top. I still had no cell service and I was anxious to call home, it had been almost two days since I’d spoken to my beloved, and I missed her more than I’d done since Springer. Bucket List had service so I used his phone to call my wife at work, and she was surprised to hear from me. Apparently my mother had also been worries as no word, and there had been no updates on my blog into days, too. We talked quickly as we had to keep walking, but all I wanted to do was drop my pack and spend an hour talking to her; the Smokies are bad enough, but with no signal I feel completely cut off from my wife, which is difficult. I sensed from her that she wasn’t happy that we haven’t really talked since Fontana — even there the cell coverage was spotty — all I could do was apologize for the lack of service; it sucks that I can’t call home when I want to, completely fucking sucks.
We hit Derricks Knob Shelter after two brutal downhills and one long ascent; I unpacked my bag and pad, and then I cooked up some Idahoan taters which were bloody delicious. Quick chat around the campfire and I’m sat on the edge of the bottom bunk writing my journal. Tomorrow is a shorter day, something around 7.2 miles and Clingmans Dome on Thursday.
I’m going to write a long “love letter” when I get to Double Spring Gap Shelter tomorrow.