After the mercury dropped to 8 degrees overnight, we spent the morning building a fire to thaw the shoes enough to cram feet into them and get moving. The day dawned sunny and clear, and the sun coming through the ice on the trees almost made yesterday worth it. We passed the trails highest point (Clingmans Dome) and met up with a couple Emily and I met on our first thru-hike back when we were Zipper and Ewo and they were Whiz Kid and Buzz”. They hiked with us for the day and provided a truly magical trail dinner with slow cooked beef tacos, fresh guacamole, and some adult beverages. Their kids and ours became fast friends (we haven’t seen them in person since 2002), he we caught up like it was only yesterday. They even provided evening entertainment. The best thing about the trail is the connections you make to truly remarkable people; connections that last for decades.