I learned something about my phone when my last post uploaded: it can drop from 70% to 10% in the space of ten minutes when the radio is running. I also learned something about the usb cable that came with my mobile battery: it can’t be used to charge my phone. As a result, for two days after my last posting, I was completely without use of my phone, and I didn’t have paper to take notes on either, so this update will be covering 5 days from memory.
From Spence Field, my next target shelter was Silers Bald, which meant crossing the (usually) most difficult piece of trail in the Smokies, up over Rocky Top and Thunderhead, down to Derrick Knob and then doing the first half of the long, slow climb to the top of Clingman’s. Rocky Top is supposed to have about the finest view in the Smokies, but the visibility was poor all that day, as a fog had rolled in following the snow that morning. I made it to Derrick Knob by 2:30, and decided to change pants and eat a bite. Burt (Wildcat) and Roy were already in there putting together a fire to warm the thru-hikers. Wildcat is an old notorious triple-crowner (AT, PCT, CDT) who works at an outfitter in Maryville. He gave me a piece of peppermint chocolate, some cheesesticks, and a trail name: Blast. Roy let me try to charge off his mobile battery, but, of course, it was unsuccessful, though I hadn’t figured out why yet. Of course, because the temperature was below freezing all day, my hose to my waterbag had frozen solid, so I melted it in front of the fire before I left. Of course it refroze within minutes of leaving.