4/3 Day 17

We got up late and took our time leaving the shelter as we had planned for a shorter day. We made it to the shelter where we had planned to stay for the night by lunch and we decided to push on further. We had been chased by storm clouds and thunder all day so our pace picked up. We made the downhill portion of our day quickly, dropping from 6,400 ft to 1,600 ft. We made it to Davenport Gap Shelter and made dinner but decided not to stay the night. Davenport Shelter was the last shelter in the smokies and the remaining shelter of its kind. The shelter was closed off by a chain fence making the shelter a bear-proof cage. In the past, the park had issues with people feeding bears from the inside of the cage so much so that the bears became trained by the noise of the chain door closing. The bears would hear the door close and run up from the bottom of the mountain to sit outside of the shelter. The shelter had bad mice issues as well so we hiked on to a camping area right outside of the park boundaries with a few other hikers. The rain caught up with us as we exited the park and we were forced to set up in the pouring rain. We hiked 23.2 miles for the day, our biggest mileage so far.

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