By Karen L Amundson, May 21 2017 08:56PM
Day 18 (zero day)
Today was my zero day to rest my sore & tired legs. I was preparing to wish some of my friends farewell his morning, when a significant thunderstorm rolled in about 10am. The skies let loose, & thunder cracked loudly overhead. The picture below should be showing the mountain ridge the trail follows, but it was socked in with the storm.
The last thing you want to do is ascend 3,000' into the mountains during such weather. The forecast at the shelter they would be targeting was for 1.5" of rain, with lightening & 20-30 mph winds gusting to 50! Wisely most people decided to take a zero-day including my friends.
Additionally, some of my other friends, whom were a day behind, rolled into Fontana Village wet but no worse for wear. While we were having lunch, a nightly crack shook the tables & windows. It turns out it hit the laundry & general store. One of my friends whom was putting coins into the washing machine at the time was actually shocked by the lightning strike, but was fortunately ok. The lightning strike actually took out the computer systems, & blew out several TVs.
In the afternoon, we played some ping pong, & I put my food resupply together. The pack was heavy to handle the 7-8 days it will take to cross Smokey Mountain National Park. The weather looks good for tomorrow, but the Smokey's are notorious for bad weather this time of year. Being up high during bad weather is no fun, but we have to cross this hurdle as quickly & safely as possible.
The forecast is for snow on Friday, but that is a way off, so we shall see...