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Charlie's Bunion, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina -
207 miles down and 1961 miles to go
There was a big storm that rolled through the Smokies just as I was getting out of them.  The trail crews will come out with chainsaws and clear the path suprisingly fast considering they're volunteers with other jobs, but if you get to an area a day or two after the storm, you'll be climbing over or going around "blow-downs" all day long.  Squirrelfight took this photo of trail over the Smokies after that storm.  There are more blow-downs here than there would have been at a lower, less-rocky elevation.
I inlude this photo of the North Carolina landscape a few days north of the Smokies because it resembles that layered view of the mountains that was a constant sight along the ridge.
This is a photo taken a few weeks later, but it was before Damascus, so I still had my first backpack here and no walking stick.  Love that big fleece pullover.
This sign is where the trail breaks off to Charlie's Bunion.  The rocks jutting out at the peak of the ridge and the trail clinging to the edge are a great example of the experience of the park.
Charlie's Bunion.  This is a blue-blaze trail less than a hundred yards off the AT.  It's just a few miles from New-found Gap as you're crossing the Smokies on 441.  Check it out.  Be gentle with any thru-hikers you come across.

Chapter 3
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