Day 20: Down To The Persistent Snake
Much of today was descending from the Smokies. From about 6,000 feet in the morning I dropped to about 2,500 this evening and camped at Davenport Gap, about 2 miles before the northern boundary of the park.
It was a 15 mile day for me but I was the first person at the shelter. I washed my underwear and tee with peppermint soap. Then I gathered wood and got a fire started. Others rolled in. A woman who calls herself Tangle came next. She had tales of woe and lots of nervous energy. Then three people from a meet-up group. Those folks, 1 guy and two woman in mid 30s, were clearly new to hiking.
Next came a persistent snake. I noticed a 5 foot black snake heading to the shelter. I pointed him out to folks and used my staff to redirect him. 20 minutes later he tried again. Again I blocked him. I did not see his third attempt, one of the women saw him in the shelter and freaked. He went under the sleeping platform in search of mice. I sat by the fire drying my underwear while they fussed and made a commotion. Eventually snake left of his own accord.