April 26: Ben did not freeze his balls off in his hammock and 45 degree bag. He did declare the smokies victorious and sprint down the mountain on a side trail. Alas, Morning Joe took the opportunity for s ride out and stepped off the trail as well.

It was great hiking with Ben and good to see a friendly face. I was, admittedly, misty eyed to see him leave. And as for my buddy Joe, he will be sorely missed out here on the trail. It was awesome having a partner and wing man for the first 230 miles. Joe steps off having tackled some of the toughest conditions the trail can throw. Thanks to Ben and Joe for walking with me.

So as we left the park, Joe and I hiked about five more miles to a famous hostel called Standing Bear. What a hippied out, cool as shit rest stop. The old man gave me a piece of paper and told me to write what ever I took on it. I started out with 3 ice cream sandwiches and two 16 oz Fat Tires. Joe and I waited for Ben to pick him up at this very odd way station. After a six pack, and a couple packs of hohos, I said my good byes to Ben and Joe and hiked two miles straight up the next mountain to a free camp ground. That was a death march that was not aided by the six pack and hohos. I barely made it and pitched my tent as the sun was going down. My lone adventure begins :(. Happy trails.

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