A beautiful chilly, crisp night sleeping in the Smokies last night for the first time. a bunch of owls making noise is the last thing I remember before falling asleep.
Rained a few times through the night, but for the most part, slept really well. Hiked out in the clouds for about 5 miles or so. Reached the first shelter and met Morgan (from San Jose) and Esther (from Watertown, WI). Hiked most of the day with Jersey Steve. Passed 2 shelters and after a muddy 12 miles, made it to Spence Field Shelter. A few people there already, and a lot more pulled in. Decided to sleep in the shelter and avoid a possible wet tent in the morning. Those I remember staying here are Morgan, Esther, DJ, Jersey Steve, You Again, Spider, Midnight, Go To, Shipwreck, and about 7 other people.
We are right about at 184 miles into the trail, which means we have 2,000 left to go. Kinda hard to believe, but it's been some great times already! Clingman's Dome (highest point on trail), is about 16 miles away. Should make it close tomorrow, do it, then head into Gatlinburg. Left foot and knee are feeling good, but my right shin that I whacked straight on the end of a log about 3 days ago was swollen and slowing me down today. Water filter is giving me problems, so thinking of new options for that.
Still no trail name after 2+ weeks, however the three of us have been going by The Three Amigos to some other thru hikers.
Oh, and we entered a new state today... Tennessee! We will float between TN and NC for a little while before we bid farewell to NC.