We're now in Franklin, N.C.! We finished the Smokies without incident but with lots of pretty landscape (and, for a day, rime ice); visited Fontana Dam (which the A.T. crosses); and swung through the Nantahala Outdoor Center (on the Nantahala River).
We've also made our Final Plan — subject already to modification, but enough of a plan that we know we're probably going to summit Springer on December 2nd (or 1st or 3rd), and we just bought our Amtrak tickets (!!).
Last night was our first most awesome trail magic. Apple, a trail angel (a maintainer who does Nice Stuff as a habit) had set up a big tent with a wood stove, and cooked us hot dogs for dinner and made hot chocolate to go with pop tarts and oatmeal for breakfast. He was also a fun chap to spend an evening and morning with — among other things, a Ham radio operator (he set up an automated detector that notifies him in Morse code when a hiker is getting close!). (Although our hitch into Franklin — in the rain — took a little while, a couple we passed hiking today recognized us as we were walking back from the grocery store where we resupplied, and gave us a ride; more magic and general friendliness.)