Appalachian Trail, Week 3, 4.22-29.15

Week three has been a good week!  I left Fontana Dam with some of my trail family* and we crossed Fontana Dam and entered the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  We spent five days hiking through the park and then two more days to get to Hot Springs, NC.

The Smokies were beautiful and we spent a lot of time around the 5000- 6000 foot elevations.  The first three days, the weather was sunny and breezy; the last two days, the weather was rainy, windy, and foggy.  We were fortunate to see perfect views from Clingman’s Dome, the highest point on the trail, at 6644 feet.  Sadly, we did not get to see Charlie’s Bunion as it was socked in that day.  Also during our time in the park, we passed the 200 mile mark. 

After the Smokies, in the the two days we hiked to get to Hot Springs, we went over Max Patch.  Max Patch is what is known as a bald, a rounded hill it mountain with no trees and a lot of grass.  The weather was perfect and we had great views back to the Smokies and ahead for the next day’s hike.  

Looking forward to another week and crossing the 300 mile mark!

*trail family:  a group of hikers that are hiking roughly the same pace day to day.  While they don’t always hike all day together, they end up at the same shelter each night, look out for and help each other and sometime share town experiences.

Fontana Dam as seen from the visitor’s center.

Walking across Fontana Dam with Pacer, BigSky and Red Pepper.

  

Shuckstack fire tower in the Smokies. This one was open all the way to the top and had great views.

  

Hidden in the grass on the side of the trail was a small bird’s nest and egg.

  

Pacer hiking through a section of Spring Beauties. For almost two days, we walked through sections of the park that looked like this, with masses of little white flower blossoms.

  

Many of the shelters in the Smokies are more primitive than most along the AT. This one has no privy, just a “toilet area” and shovel.

  

View of Mt. Le Conte from the observation tower on Clingman’s Dome.

   

The observation tower on Clingman’s Dome. A space-age marvel built in 1960.

  

200 miles! Only 1989.2 to go!

  

Trail family at Newfound Gap in the Smokies. From L to R: Me, Red Pepper, Big Sky, Pacer, LoNSlo, and Corky.

 

The AT crossing over Max Patch.

  

The sidewalk in Hot Springs, NC.

  

Walking into Hot Springs. The trail goes right through the center of town.

  

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One thought on “Appalachian Trail, Week 3, 4.22-29.15

  1. Enjoy the adventure Summerset! My friend Sam Ducharme is ahead of you by a few weeks. He’s had a great time so far and I am sure you will too. Stay healthy and be safe. The smile in your pictures says it all.

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