April 10 - Birch Spring Gap (171.7)

There's a car club meeting (S2000?) starting today, but some members arrived yesterday and a group decided to go out and fire up one of their cars to listen to the engine. Outside our room. At midnight.

Take the shuttle from the Lodge back to the Trail. Stop at Fontana Dam's Info Center before continuing on. 

Today's climb was similar to one we've done before about 2,000 over three miles, but I'm not ready and go slooooow. Realize I'm carbohydrate low, so stop for lunch, make ramen and drink Gatorade while finishing a Snickers, and that helps.

We stop for the night at Birch Spring Gap, the only campground without a shelter in the Smokies. There's a couple from Fort Wayne, Indiana here doing a short section, plus Big Shep, Achin, and Lasso. Not many hikers on the Trail today. I eat a huge dinner of chicken-sauce flavored noodles mixed with a full package of tuna. Hoping that sets me up better for tomorrow's hike.

We had heard the gnats come out in force once the temps are consistently above 50 F, and they've been around, but today they are out in full force. Some bite, most just buzz around you if standing or sitting.

Late that night, at 2 in the morning, hear a sudden scream in the woods by an animal. Then "woo woooo" twice, so know who won that altercation.


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