Day 25: May 9, 2022 Cosby Knob to Standing Bear Elevation Profile +1403/-4357 10.2 Miles; Total 241.5 Miles

Yes, that’s a lot of downhill, my friend. And indeed it was. If I had knees, they would be talking! Good for me I lost them days ago. I packed up my condensation soaked tent, worldly belongings and waddled down the trail.

Overlooking the Smokey Mountains

And what a waddle it was. The sun was shining and nothing was going to get in her way! Everything about this morning was glorious. The greens are more green than a crayola box of crayons. There’s forest green, fern and pine colored green, Mountain Laurel and more. It’s so hard to paint a picture of the trail. There’s layers upon layers of trees, ferns, moss and everything in between. I made it a mile or so when Bodhe caught up with me. She had slept in the shelter so it’s always hard to get out super early. We talked about the sunrise, the superior day ahead with mostly downhill, when she stopped dead in her tracks. Oh s$&t, she said, I left my rain jacket in the shelter! And that’s another reason to Not sleep in a shelter. Your stuff is everywhere and hard to keep it together. Bodhe dropped her pack and proceeded to hike back, round trip an extra three bonus miles.

Incredible Morning

Blue and I continued on as we slept in tents and had all our stuff securely stuffed in our packs. We climbed our one and only climb of the day over Mt Guyot and cruised downward. We could catch glimpses of the rolling mountains of Tennessee and suddenly, I saw Blue standing upon a huge rock! Here’s the vista. No towns, no roadways just endless trees as far as the eye could see. It was breathtaking. And those colors of green that never ended.

I had heard all sorts of stories, myths and legends regarding the AT. It’s wet and rainy, yes true. It’s muddy, rocky and craggy, quite true. It’s the green tunnel! Yes and no. I’ve seen places that Mountain Laurel grow like an arbor and capsulate the trail. I’ve seen trees that reach to the heavens but I can tell you, it is incredibly beautiful. Green tunnel, maybe but I wouldn’t want anything less!

Lush Greens that Line our Pathway

The Smokey’s were so much different than what I had walked through in Georgia. Maybe because spring is here, trees are leafed out and flowers are blooming on every pathway, hillside and beyond. The rain, fog and mist made the trail quite muddy, slippery at times but today it was just nice soft muck. I love walking in muck as long as my shoes don’t completely submerge! That’s only happened a time or two but the muck, as I call it, is so nice to hike over. I know, I’m a bit odd when you think about muck being a good thing.

Finally I found a creek. It was actually a full on river with pools, cascading waterfalls and more. I was finally able to soak my feet. So glorious and luxurious, all I needed was a little epson salts. Many hikers passed by and commented on how nice to stop and sit but they continued down the trail. What a shame to miss a prime stopping locale on the trail. The creek followed the trail for a bit until it abruptly ended near Hwy 40. So odd to hear and see a freeway. We walked on the road for a bit, crossed beneath the highway and made it back to the woods.

Standing Bear Laundry & Firepit

Our destination today is Standing Bear Hostel. This is one of the places you have to stop and visit. Even if you don’t stay, it’s been a legend of the trail since the trail became part of the landscape. It’s a quirky place with a shared bunkhouse, tic infested grasses to pitch your tent (no thank you) and a couple of private oasis’s near the creek. Blue and I waltz in and Isabelle, the owners daughter asks us where we would like to stay? Do we have a choice of a private cabin? Yes, indeed. That’ll work. It is a rustic addition that was built and jettisons over the babbling creek. It’s quaint, nothing more than a bunk bed and comes with the resident cat! Perfect, we’ll take it.

Blue and Her New Friend “Garfield the Cat”

Our resupply box arrived but the string cheese I packed, well it didn’t fair very well. It must have melted in transit as USPO had wrapped my box with plastic. Lesson learned. I organized my provisions as Blue scoped out the showers. I followed suit and then we headed to the laundry. The laundry room is no more than a scrub board, a large sink, some detergent and a dryer that ever-so-slowly dries your garments. Great! Clean socks, underwear, shirt, skirt and shorts. Well, relatively clean. As I waited for laundry, I was talking to Bodhe. She had a hole in her shorts that was causing some issues. I have a needle and thread, so I started mending her shorts. Before long, Quilted Cowboy comes over with his pile jacket. Any chance you can help me with this jacket? Surely, now I am mending all broken items on the trail. I had to say a hard NO to darning socks though.

The Privy & Showers at Standing Bear

We had a splendid evening hanging with all the “hiker trash“ as we call ourselves. We really aren’t trash at all but a mixture of eclectic people that find common ground on a trail that happens to meander from Georgia to Maine. I love our family of friends, one’s that are young and old, fit and not, weary and tired but glad to be sitting around a campfire sharing stories, myths and legends. What a place we have found, and what great company we are around.

God, bless each and everyone who passes through this place. The owners and family who care so well for the wary hikers are such a blessing. May you shine your love upon this hidden gem in the woods and forever keep it safe. I so love this journey you are taking me on. May I have eyes to see, ears to hear and an open heart so that your will, not mine, will be done. Amen.

3 thoughts on “Day 25: May 9, 2022 Cosby Knob to Standing Bear Elevation Profile +1403/-4357 10.2 Miles; Total 241.5 Miles

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