Sunday, May 12, 2013

GSMNP Rewind: Part 3 5/6/2013-5/8/2013

After being dropped off at the parking lot of the Visitor's Center at Clingman's Dome, we hiked the half-mile paved approach back up to the top in, yet again, cold foggy weather. Although there was no view, I decided to hike up the ramp of the monument, just to say I was there. Then Bonjour, Gronk and I began the descent down the mountain, heading north on the AT. We covered 9.5 miles before arriving at our destination that night at Icewater Creek Shelter. Another cold night, followed by a light fog in the morning. The fog began to burn off around noon, when I came to a great view where I decided to have lunch on a rock, overlooking the Smokies. Our group stayed at Tri-Corner Knob shelter that night, each of us ready to soon exit GSMNP.

We departed the shelter around 8am with a goal to hike over 15 miles to the last shelter in the park. On our descent from Mt Guyot, somewhere around the 226 mile mark, we found wreckage from a plane about 10 yards east of the trail down the side of the mountain. My guidebook didn't explain what or when this happened, so maybe someone can help me figure out the details...

The rest of the day was nothing more than a muddy trudge through the remainder of the park. I arrived at Davenport Gap shelter, which was located a little less than one mile short of the park boundary. It was around 3:30pm when I arrived to the only shelter in the park with a chain link cage covering the opened side of the structure. At this shelter, the hikers cage themselves in with their packs and food at night and hope the bears aren't waiting for them to exit in the morning! I blew up my air mattress and unrolled my sleeping bag to stay for the night. After assessing my food supply, I realized I was running low. Gronk and Bonjour arrived about 30 minutes later and we discussed going to resupply in Newport to have enough food to carry us to Hot Springs. The only shuttle we could find out of the gap wanted to charge us each $40 round-trip for the ride. I decided that was too much to pay for a resupply and decided to ration my food over the next two days hike to Hot Springs. Gronk and Bonjour both offered me food, but I declined, knowing that I could make it on my own. However, I knew I needed to get to Hot Springs quickly and decided to pack up and leave the shelter to hike out of the park and get another 5.5 miles closer to the town. I left my hiking buddies at the gap where they were waiting to be shuttled, not knowing if I'd see them again.

As I left GSMNP, I felt liberated, although I was now hiking on my own. The cage on the shelter seemed to be symbolic of the way I felt hiking through the restrictive length of the park that had not offered me many of the beautiful views I had looked forward to seeing. As I began my ascent out of the gap, the muddy trails seemed to disappear and I could smell the variety of plants and flowers that were now beginning to appear on the damp forest floor. A calm came over me and I knew everything would be fine.


  1. Goodness, I hope you have gotten more food by now! That must have felt odd knowing you had to really ration your food. It must be kind of humbling knowing people all around the world are faced with that same situation daily and we are so spoiled with the abundance of food that surrounds us.
    It seems like you are making great progress.
    So proud of you.

  2. Wow, there must have been a lot of bear incidents to cause the chain link closure on the shelter. And that reminds me, you didn't tell about your little bear incident that you told me when we Skyped. Everyone would love that story!
    I see you are a man of principles in all aspects of your life now. Not accepting food must have been difficult. I imagine hiking all that way works up a huge appetite.
    I remember when we camped, well, in a cabin, up there when you were 8 or so. Remember? It was so foggy and dark I was afraid we would run off the road. I had chosen that particular place because of the view they were known for, but even the next morning at breakfast we couldn't see through the fog. Memories.....
    I'm so proud of you for challenging yourself!

  3. You must have still be full from your stay in Knoxville! I would have taken the food offer and stayed with my hiking friends.....that's just me though since I would be more scared to walk alone!! :)

  4. Adam, you have been through so much during the beginning of your journey, I can't imagine what else I will read about, but I can't wait! Apparently, there have been many plane wrecks in the Smokies over the years (primarily seem to be weather related) but I did come across an article from several years ago that seemed to be relevant to the location you were at.

    Keep up the progress and take care!

    1. let me know if you can access or not, if not I will just copy and paste what is important from the article.

  5. Spring has sprung! Keep on cranking man. Inspiring to read this stuff as I sit in my poorly lit office staring at a computer.