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Thomas "10-k" Bradford
Begins: Apr 11, 2011
Date: Sat, May 7th, 2011
Entry Visits: 526
Journal Visits: 10,665
Guestbook Views: 1,334
Guestbook Entrys: 7
Benton MacKaye Trail Map
After leaving Standing Bear Farm I began the long 2 hour climb up Snowbird Mountain. It's not a particularly hard climb but it feels like it goes on forever. On top, there is an FAA station that looks like something out of a science fiction movie. I'm not sure what kind of radar and electronics are in place up there but it's very futuristic looking.
By 11:00 AM I had crossed Max Patch, one of the premier 360* views of the Appalachians including the Smokey Mtns and deep into TN and NC. After I walked across the summit I walked by a tree where someone had left some Capri Suns and taffy for hikers who walked by and decided this was a good place to stop for lunch.
After lunch, I made good time and decided to try and hit Hot Springs which was still more than 20 miles before the end of the day - this would make for a 33-34 mile day but the trail was easy and I was feeling good - my feet had quietened down significantly with my new insoles. So, I turned up the steam and cruised into Hot Springs at 7:00 PM that night. 34 miles in 14 hours - I'm not a fast hiker but I can hike for extended periods of time without stopping and I don't take many, or very long, breaks.
When I got to Hot Springs I got the "Hiker Special" room at one of the local boarding houses and it was just my luck to get a room right over the bar where a live band played well into the night. I was so tired I went to sleep without much trouble even with the music - with my sleep being greatly aided by a huge country fried steak dinner at the Smokey Mt. Diner down the street, with a big pecan log for dessert. ;-)
The Benton MacKaye Trail or BMT is a footpath nearly 300 miles in length in the Appalachian Mountains in the southeastern United States and is blazed by a 5x7 white diamond. Learn more: www.bmta.org