Day 18 - Benton MacKaye Trail

Another 9:30 am start this morning!  We woke up alone in camp as Eagle and Fat Camp were long gone! We had an easy warm up walk to campsite 57, the last home of Horace Kephart, before beginning our uphill for the day.  It wasn't ever too tough and we passed some very sweet horses about a mile from the top. When we reached the first of three summits near the top of Newton Bald, we met a Mountains to Sea Trail hiker.  This trail runs from Clingmans Dome all the way to the Outer Banks, running 900 miles across North Carolina.  We quickly made our way up as over the other two summits before finally heading downhill for the day.

 Lots of names for just one footpath! 

Lots of names for just one footpath! 

 

While we were cold on top of Newton Bald, our first 5000' peak of the trail, down the hill it got warmer and more humid as the sun finally came out.  By the time we reached Newfound Gap Road it was close to 80 degrees.  We had to wait for a few minutes for traffic to clear since it's Memorial Day today.  We crossed and then had to walk up Towstring Trail, which is a nasty, disgusting horse trail and I can't believe the BMT doesn't just walk the road.  We walked under power lines uphill in the sun in fresh horse shit for a mile before reaching the back end of the Smokemont Campground.  We took a detour into the campground to use the running water.  We both washed up and charged up our phones a little before heading up to Chasteen Creek. 

 Beautiful flowers on our walk today

Beautiful flowers on our walk today

We reached campsite 50, our destination, at 4:30 and decided to just go on the extra 2.2 miles to the next site up, campsite 48, to get a jumpstart on tomorrow.  We followed Chasteen Creek up an old roadbed very similar to yesterday on Noland Creek. We reached this site at 5:30 and settled in for the night, alone again now that the holiday is over.  Tomorrow is our last full day on trail and is by far the toughest on paper.  We're hoping the weather holds out as it is a 50% chance of scattered showers overnight and most of the day!

 Chasteen Creek Trail is pretty too! 

Chasteen Creek Trail is pretty too!