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Fall Hike In The GSMNP
After years of day-hiking, my son and I are going to attempt an
overnighter this October. We plan to hit the trail Friday afternoon at
Newfound Gap. From there we will take a short, three mile hike on the AT
to the Icewater Spring Shelter. After what we hope is a very good night's
sleep, we will get an early start on Saturday morning. Our plan is to hike
to the top of Mount LeConte (5.3 miles) by noon. After a break for lunch
and rest we will head out for a long, 8.5 mile hike hike to Sugarlands. We
will get there via the Bullhead Trail and the Twomile Branch Trail.
I give you all the above information as prep for my questions.
1) I'm a big guy who hikes at between 1.5 and 2 miles per hour. I know
we will make our first night spot (Icewater) with no problems. But,
if we could go a few extra miles up the Boulevard Trail prior to
pitching our tent, it would make day two easier. What are the rules
about back-country camping in the GSMNP? I've read on this list that
shelters are mandatory. Is this true?
2) My son and I are both Florida boys. Temps are still in the 90f - 95f
range in the day and 65f - 70f at night, in mid-October. What temps
should we expect at that time in the GSMNP? Will we need any special
cold weather gear?
3) Does anyone on this list have experence with these trails? What can
we expect (should we look out for) on this hike?
4) Any other tips or hints will be well received.
Thanks to all,
Wayne Brown (and Ryan)