April 18 – Orion returns

We woke up at a crowded shelter and separated from the crowd a bit by getting out on the early side. The location of the designated camping areas in the Smokies tends to dictate mileage, and we had planned on a moderate day,

but most of the day was downhill, and the kids took off running at a pace that makes our older knees hurt just to watch. We arrived at our intended resting point a little after lunch time and decided to keep going. Cartwheel and Robinhood swung on vines, hugged trees and and jumped off stumps as we careened our way out of the Smokies. Cartwheel successfully whistled for the first time, which brought on a celebration dance on her part. After another long wait for the kennel lady at Davenport Gap, we were reunited with Orion (although without his bed, which they will have to mail to us later). There was much rejoicing by the four-legged and two-legged alike. We ate a quick dinner and found the first flat spot to camp. Everyone conked out until Orion let us know that a few night-hikers were going by at 2am.

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