Backpacking camaraderie in the Great Smoky Mountains
One thing I love about hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains is the backpacking camaraderie that exists in the shelters. Every time I have stayed in a shelter along the Appalachian Trail (AT) I have met some of the coolest people. My latest trip over the 4th of July was no exception. I have heard stories of rude hikers before, but I have never had the misfortune to camp with them.
There were a couple of young men about ready to begin their college career at my alma mater, the University of Tennessee, there was another young man doing an internship with the park service, friends from New York and Atlanta hiking together, and a couple from California out on a 6 night AT hike. We enjoyed many hours of hiking conversation in the shelter and around the campfire. I will most likely never see any of these people again, but for one night, I enjoyed hearing about their lives and past adventures and sharing some of my own.
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