Loud snoring going on in the shelter all last night. When I woke up around 6am, I just laid there and couldn't fall back asleep. Finally crawled out of bed at 7am, packed up, and was on the trail at 7:30am. Earliest start so far, and I was the first out of the shelter to hit the trail for the day. If getting first chair at a ski resort is anything like the feeling I had this morning, I've gotta get on that next season!!! Felt amazing!
Knocked out about 5.6 miles from Peck Shelter, and made it to Tricorner Knob Shelter about 9:50am. Hiked another 7.6 miles to Cosby Knob Shelter and got in around 1:30pm. Took off my shoes and socks, relaxed for about an hour, then realized it was too early to stop, and I still had plenty of juice to get to the next shelter. Hiked 2.5 miles to the junction for Mt Cammerer, and decided to take the side trail .6 miles into the lookout. It was a cool 8-sided fire lookout built in 1937/1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, enclosed with windows, and had a porch wrapping all the way around it. Saw what looked like storm clouds rolling in after hanging around for about 20 min, so I headed back down the .6 miles of side trails, linked back up with the main trail, and headed 5.2 miles to Davenport Gap Shelter. Put down about a 21 or 22 mile day when all was said and done. The shelter here has a chain link fence across the front, along with a doorway. I imagine this is for bear protection, but I thought I'd heard that all the chain link had been removed a while back. Smilin' Joe and I kept passing each other up on the trail today, and as it's pretty dark right now, looks like we will have the whole shelter to ourselves. Hiking that many miles is one way of getting away from out of control snorers!
About 3 miles or so tomorrow and I'm out of Smoky Mountain National Park. It's been cool being here, but the fact that you can have horses on the trail but not dogs is odd, and not being able to set up a tent anywhere but right next to a shelter (while I understand keeping the land in good "natural" shape), is kind of annoying.
Plan is to leisurely get to Standing Bear Farm Hiker Hostel tomorrow, lounge around (maybe take a shower), pick up my food resupply, and wait anxiously for my good friend Rachel and her husband Jason to get here from Chattanooga and spend some time with them!