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Following is an entry in a shelter log from Brian Gruber
and Rob Kohus ( I hope I spelled their names right). They
apparently visited the list only briefly before starting their
hike. I was asked to post it for all to enjoy. Sorry about the
length, but they had a lot to say. Here goes...
Greetings from the AT ! We are currently at the Davenport Gap Shelter
for our last evening in the Smokies. The hiking has been treating us well
so far, and I must say, we are holding up healthfully to the physical tests
that the trail has had for us.
The Smokies has been quite an experience in itself. We entered the park
from Fontana Dam with blowing snow but no accumulation on the ground.
Despite 6-8" and 50 mph winds, we were going ahead with our plans. The
snow continued over the next day and a half, dumping close to a foot in the
mountains. This amount seemed only to increase on the trail itself to knee
deep and on some of the ridges to waist deep levels.
From the Birch Spring Shelter we found the hiking extremely slow, breaking
much of the trail to Derrick Knob Shelter. In particular, the climb from
Field to Rocky Top was numbingly difficult. It felt like we were up to our
in snow 50% of the time.Eventually we found some broken-in trail, either from
other thruhikers or from spring breakers who were caught in the foul weather.
Clingman's Dome was a solitary experience, as the road to it must have been
Our first long day, from Double Spring Gap to Icewater Spring, proved to be
interesting as we hung out at Newfound Gap to gawk at the tourist crowds this
Saturday afternoon. Amazingly, they had no concept of how tough the hiking
was because of the snow. ( I think barely any fell at lower elevations). Most
seemed more concerned about how we were holding up in the cold weather.
It did warm up and this, in combination with this morning's steady rain,
for a slushy, soaking hike down from Tri Corner Knob to this shelter.
Rob and I have met a lot of interesting folks on our trip, all with a
reason for hiking the trail. One fellow from England was re-hiking a portion
had just done in Jan/Feb, so he could enjoy the community aspect of the
We have been hiking steadily and passing much of the crowd that started at
Springer on March 1-3. Unfortunately, that means we haven't picked up a trail
family or trail names yet.
Other at-lers - We met Sharon Deitz, Dave Appell, who started on the same
day and camped with us at Springer and Hawk Mtn.. Dave had a sore throat
at the time and last we heard, they were going into Suches, Ga. to see a
doctor and get some drugs. We also ran into a young guy named Adam. He
was hiking with his father for the first week of the trail. Never saw Kurtis
Kursch (sp), but learned that he pulled out at Franklin due to a blown out
We will continue to seek fellowship with the wilderness and will send word
again if the opportunity is there.
Brian Gruber & Rob Kohus
"The Cornell Crew"
( a self-appointed team name)
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