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Re: [AT-L] Fall Hike In The GSMNP

Wayne Brown wrote:

> 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?

The polically correct answer to part of this question is that Icewater
Spring is closed to all but thru-hikers. (I assume that means "hiking"
thru-hikers. some of you might have a case for the other) Who knows what
will happen if a ranger sees you.  My guess is a fine.  In the smokies,
you are only suppose to stay at designated campsites.  Of which a
shelter is one.  When at a shelter sleep inside unless it is full.  The
GSMNP is heavily used, and, this is the FPS's way of limiting impact on
the land.  It really is a good idea.  You also need to phone-ahead
reservations to some sites.  All shelters require this.  fyi ... they
sleep 12. 

(check out the area where the jumpoff trail starts from the boulevard.)

> 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?

ALWAYS expect rain.  when in the smokies you will get wet with either
rain, snow, or creek water! (or, maybe not.) I'm going there this
weekend, and, I'm expecting 70's days, 40's nites, & rain. Maybe even a
huricane.  In mid-oct. I'd be prepared for everything.  I've hiked in
shorts & seen sub-30's at night; in the same day.  Particularly, at the
higher elevations.  You should really try it in the winter sometime!  
> 3)      Does anyone on this list have experence with these trails?  What can
>         we expect (should we look out for) on this hike?

getting to icewater is a snap.  The boulevard trail has it's moments, if
you consider hiking up to 6600' cool.  (you go down 500' then up
1000'.)  I always try to stay at 7-8 miles/day.  sometimes less. the
bullhead drops 3500' in six miles.  sounds like fun.   Sometimes those
downhills can be rougher than the ups.  Couldn't find the twomile
trail.  My guess is you mean old-sugarlands?  Your schedule sounds a
little ambitious for a first overnighter.  But, then, i'm slow.  I met a
southbounder there last sept. who was plannig a 25 mile day over
clingman's dome. I think he did the entire park in two nights.

now for a comercial(sp/) ...  buy the following book:

"HIKING TRAILS Of The Smokies" by the Great Smoky Mountains Natural
History Association.
ISBN 0-937207-15-2   575 pages. 
Phone : 615-436-7318

A great book worth twice what you will pay for it.

> 4)      Any other tips or hints will be well received.

Have a blast.  Respect the Park;  It's yours.  



Sorry, group, about being long winded.  I get excited the few days
before a hike.  Can't sleep a wink!


Tom Fort