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Re: Fall Hike In The GSMNP (Change in Direction)



	Well, those who said it was hard to get the shelter location you 
wanted on an October weekend were right.  As you may recall.  My son and I 
have been planing a hike in the GSMNP for the weekend of October 19.  We 
wanted to hike up to Mt. Lecont and them down to Gatlinburg.  I started 
calling at 8am on September 18.  Got an automated reply system.  Called 
again at 8:02am.  Line Busy!  I then started redialing and receiving a busy 
until 8:55am.  Once I got to talk to a real live human, I was told that Mt. 
Lecont shelter filled up at 8:05 that morning.

	With that bit of bad news, the search was on to find another trail to 
hike.  The park service rep was very helpful.  I explained that my son and 
I were looking for a half-day hike to a shelter or campsite, with a full 
day hike on Saturday back to Gatlinburg.  He looked over his map and 
checked the reservatons, and found he could fit us into Mt. Collins.

	Now we have a new hiking route.  We plan to start about noon at 
Newfound Gap.  We will hike up the AT for 4.3 miles, to the Sugarland 
Mountain Trail.  From there we will hike 1/2 mile to the Mt. Collins 
shelter.  After a good nights sleep, we will depart early on the morning of 
Saturday, October 19.  We will hike down Sugarland Mountain Trail for 8.5 
miles, to Huskey Gap Trail.  From there we will hike 2 miles to 441, then 
hike a few more miles into Gatlinburg.

	The book that many on this list recomended, "Hiking Trails of the 
Smokies" has been a great deal of help in planing our trip.  Based on the 
book, it looks like we have a 1000 foot rise over 4.3 miles of trail on 
Friday afternoon, followed by a 200 foot drop over 1/2 mile to the shelter. 
We plan to start at noon and arive at the shelter by 6:30pm.  On Saturday, 
we will drop 2200 feet over 8.5 miles to Huskey Gap.  From there we will 
drop another 1600 feet over two miles to 441.  Looks like an all Down-Hill 
day.

	Given our new plans, I want to get the input of those on this list 
who have hiked these trails.

1)	Does anyone on this list have experence with these trails?  What can 
	we expect (should we look out for) on this hike?

2)	What about the Mt. Collins shelter?  What should we expect?

3)	Once we get to 441, it looks like there is a dirt road which runs
	near 441 to the Old Sugarlands Trail.  Is this a good way to get to
	Gatlinburg?

Thanks to all,
Wayne Brown (and Ryan)
WayneBrown@gnn.com