Wednesday, April 16, 2014

more journal entries for AT Hike 2004

Fontana Dam to Russell Field Shelter
Todays Miles = 14.9    Total Miles = 177.5    To Go = 1996.6
We started todays hike with Julia and Mike and M.C. and Mo-Jo. We all ejoyed the easy hike over Fontana Dam (the largest dam east of the Mississippi). Enormous! Once we entered the Smokies, we all got separated with our own pacing.  I was ready for a really tough day. But it wasn't that bad. There was this section that was covered with these white wild flowers everywhere. They gave me energy. So beautiful. I just wanted to lay down in them and sleep. To me, that is what heaven must look like.

Russell Field Shelter to Silers Bald Shelter
Todays Miles = 14.7    Total Miles = 192.2    To Go = 1981.9
Today was a different picture. We stayed in the shelter last night. The Smokies have a ton of bears, so you are required to stay in these caged shelters. The high winds caused the tarps hanging over the cages to be very loud. No sleep. We are doing some high miles now to get out of the Smokies in 4 days and get to Hot Springs, NC (our next time off the trail) a day early. It will be wet and awful. I hope to stay calm, focused and warm
Silers Bald Shelter to Icewater Spring Shelter
Todays Miles = 14.5    Total Miles = 206.7    To Go = 1967.4
Today was a huge day for us. Clingmans Dome = the highest peak on the AT. The morning was sunny, so we got out early to get to the peak before the rain came in. We were hoping for trail magic...but there was none. Lots of tourists though. It was Easter weekend and many people were there with their cars to see the views. Ugh...If they only knew we hiked over 200 miles to get there. On the north side we had to hike through lots of snow on the ground. Very slick 

Tricorner Knob Shelter to Standing Bear Farm
Todays Miles = 18.1    Total Miles = 237.4    To Go = 1936.7
Left Tricorner in a down pour. Hiked our longest miles to get to a dry warm place. Standing Bear Farm is a hostel just off the trail. Everything made of trees from the property. Funny Drunk Hostel Owner. Great flowing stream going right under the cabin we stayed in. Small hut for laundry, and one for cooking and eating, outdoor library area, an outdoor shower and a great fire pit that we all hung out at till midnight. Great experience.
Standing Bear Farm
Standing Bear Farm to Roaring Fork Shelter
Todays Miles = 1485    Total Miles = 255.9    To Go = 1918.2
MAX PATCH - 4629'
This morning we woke to a complete down pour. Started hiking and got soaked real fast. Eventually the cold rain went away and the sun came out - became very hot and steamy. later the fog came and it got really cold again. The fog got worse and the wind picked up and it started to sleet. We hiked up Max Patch - it was horrible. Couldn't see 2 feet in front of you. I hated Max Patch and couldn't wait to get off it. I'm sure it is beautiful on a sunny day though - but now, I hate it. We heard it was suppose to snow at higher elevations, so we hiked on past the campsite we planned to stay at, since it was just past Max Patch. By the tine we got to the shelter it was so cold, we barely could cook. We just wanted to put on every piece of clothing we had with us and crawl into our sleeping bags. Then the snow started - UGH! Went to bed freezing - a tent probably would have been warmer. All night - snow blowing into the shelter onto my face. I just wanted to cry. Our sleeping bags were soaked and covered in snow.
15 miles to HOT SPRINGS
Miserable morning. No cooking or hot cocoa. Just pack up and go and get to lower elevations. I even put on my hiking clothes over my pjs to try and stay warm. My boots were frozen, along with my hands - made it really hard to tie the laces. Going to the bathroom was a treat. Not only did I have a tough time digging a hole with frozen hands and a frozen ground, I had to drop my pants and be bare bottom in the snow. Finally - HOT SPRINGS, NC! Rest!


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