June 30. I woke up in the basement of the fraternity house around 7:30 AM and started moving around. The frat brothers were going to have Saturday Cleaning Day starting at 8 and I wanted to be out of there! The basement was incredibly hot and Rafiki slept on the tile floor and I slept on the hard wooden bench so neither of us got much good sleep. We packed our gear and headed down to the village. We stopped by The Bagel Basement because they give thru-hikers a free bagel…first breakfast! We then walked to the gas station/Dunkin Doughnuts and I got 2 doughnuts and a coffee. We sat outside and ate them, second breakfast. Before we left I ran back in and got 2 more doughnuts, third breakfast! After a bagel and four doughnuts I was ready to hit the trail! We walked across town and headed out on the trail. I was feeling the heay pack, not too happy about having 3 days of food. We pushed hard up a few big hills and came to the Bill Ackerly home just off the trail. The trail guide said we could stop and get water and take a break and play some croquet. We stopped in and got water but Bill must not have been home. After that it was a really tough several thousand foot climb up Smarts Mountain. It took me a long time to make the climb but somehow I stuck pretty close to Rafiki. The only bad thing about the climb was that Rafiki swallowed 2 black flies…gross! When we made it to the top I ran into 2 other hikers I hadn’t seen in a long time…one I hadn’t seen since the Overmountain Shelter and another guy I hadn’t seen since day 3 on the trail in Georgia! We shot up the firetower to get the views of the mountains…it was nice to be back in the real mountains even if the climbs were tough, the views were worth it! It was exhilarating knowing we had just climbed up the mountains we were looking out over. We found some flattish places to camp and I hit the sack. We could hear some fireworks off in the distance as I climbed in my tent, July 4th was coming soon! Today was a 23 mile day and we finished at mile 1,765…only 418 left!
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