Adventure Liz reporting: Epic Views: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Within the first 3 miles of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a rigorous 2000 ft climb invited me to my first epic views of the mountains I would be climbing for the next four days. I didn’t realize it at this moment, but the next few days would be the most exciting and adrenaline pumping days of my journey thus far.
That very night, a decently sized black bear snorted and brushed up against my MSR Carbon Reflex 2 tent. It’s shadow darkened the fresh green nylon of my vestibule, and I could hear the solid crunch of dead foliage under paw. Scary stuff for this girl.
The next day, a few friends and I pushed 29 miles through the night to watch the painted sunrise at the top of Clingman’s Dome, the highest point on the AT, then pushed another eight miles more to make it to Newfound Gap  for resupply in Gatlinburg, TN.
Exhausting, but worth every step.
Never a dull moment in the Smokies.