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Smokies hike.

labor day weekend I spent four days in the smokies.  Here's a breif trip
report.  I'm listing this here because I know we have a lot of GSMNP
fans on the list.

Fri. - 

I started by driving 9 hours in intermittent rain, only to be stuck in
an interstate parking lot for over an hour!  I mention this because all
the chalanging travel made me realize that sometimes just getting there
could be an adventure.  I spent the night in Tslali Campground off Hwy
28, in the Nantahala NF.  Great spot.  A little on the crowded side,


Hiked from 20 Mile ranger station to Gregory Bald via Long Hungry Ridge. 
approx. 10.5 miles up.  The trails here are in really good shape.  The
stream crossings even had bridges on them strong enough to drive a
really narrow truck over.  When going up this trail and you come to the
rye patch, be sure to take a right.  This trail junction is poorly
marked.  I took a wrong turn which cost me an extra mile when I was
already tired.  This route makes for a great workout hike.  I did a 3
mile, 3500' gain stretch in 1 3/4 hrs.  It felt good in a strange sort
of way.

I spent the night at campsite 13.  This is a great spot. Worth the trip,
if you ever get the chance.  The water is south, downhill about .25-.5
miles; look for a ravine.  It could be rough to find by yourself.  There
are no signs and no trails to speak of.  Luckily, someone there already
knew where it was.  There was one of those  smokie mnt. downpours that
night.  Really scary stuff.   Those are two of the things that I really
like about the Smokies; The great high altitude tent sites, and the
tremendiously exciting storms (summer & winter).


A day of rest!  an easy 4.5 mile downhill to campsite 95 via Wolf
Ridge.  This is a nice trail, and, #95 is an excellent site tucked away
amongst the creeks and trees.   The campsite is .5 mile off the trail to
the right.  This too is poorly marked.   For those of you who have "the
book" : the elevation guide has this campsite about a 1000' too high.

Monday.  3 miles back to 20 mile ranger station and my car.  Along an
easy creek hike.  It is obvious that this area would be impassible
during times of Lots & lots of rain.   Then a trip to Fontana dam and a
HOT shower!  Any of you thru-hikers have any memories of the Fontana

New gear : 

Ti cookset.  This worked great.  The weight and size are perfect.  The
time to boiling is noticably quicker.  Two cups of coffee will stay hot
longer than it takes to drink them.  A good measure of heat retention,
don't ya think?  

Walrus Swift.  Great tent.  This tent kept me dry the entire weekend. 
That one rain storm was a small flood, and, I was perfectly dry. (as
well as could be expected).  It did get quite crowded with me and all my
gear.  The vestibule is to small for an external pack.  But, once I
settled down, I slept like a baby.  The lack of weight was wonderful. 
It makes me wonder just how much I would appreciate the extra cubic
feet  the arch-rival brings with it's extra poundage.

AT enthusiasts .... Do any of you remember, or, have read about, the era
before the AT turned south to go over fontana dam in '48?  It use to go
over Gregory Bald.   Do you know of the exact route the AT followed
before it was shortened to it's current route? I know it meet the
current trail at Doe knob to the north.  Where in the Nantahalas did it
join with the current trail, to the south? Can this route still be
hiked?  These are good history questions!

Well, thanks for letting me bend your computer screen.

Happy trails!



Tom Fort