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ductape's smokies report
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“i had a great time on this trip, no backpacking, though only dayhikes. but, i still had a blast.
wednesday after work i left cincy cussing all the way to gatlinburg cause of the traffic. arrived at the rented chalet to meet my family around 12:30 am. thankfully there was an open beer waiting for me as i walked through the door.
got up at the buttcrack on thanksgiving to meet the great white sherpa at the chimney tops trailhead. seems ole motha nature didn't feel my plan was good enough. Newfound Gap Road was closed due to snow and ice. so i pull into the sugarlands visitor center to decide what to do. it's 6 am and im thinkin sherpa's comin from the south, which is gonna make it real, hard, well, impossible really to meet up with him.
i get in my daypack to find his number to give him a call. surprise, i forgot to put his number in there. wouldn't ya know it? i called my mom and informed her it was time to get up. then i asked her to check my email for me to get sherpa's number. she did this for me. at this time i remember to say "Happy Thanksgiving mom"
luckily sherpa was staying in gatlinburg with his family too. so we meet up at the visitor center and decide to hike bote mountain.
very pretty 7 mile hike. the beginning was up on an old road bed where we saw 2 piles of fairly fresh bear scat, numerous snow covered mountain views, and one other hiker. the way back down also had some good pics. a few with snow covered trees and some more of the beautiful stream we followed back down(Anthony's Creek???)
sherpa took me back to my car at the visitors center which was completely filled at this point and our goodbyes were cut short by someone almost backing into his car which was not in a parking spot being as there were none.
i went back to the chalet and ate and drank for the rest of the day.
i slept a little later on friday and met with smokygirl at the cosby campground around 8 am.
from there we walked up the low gap trail to the AT. the walk up was beautiful. there was a very pretty stream at the bottom and the leafless trees up top were covered in snow.
we stopped to catch our breath and talk to a few hikers at the AT junction then walked on and sat at the Cosby Knob shelter for a few. had something to eat, chit chatted, got cold and started moving again. the trail flattened out for a while then descended and followed a stream for a few miles. this section was flat but we both thought it was the roughest part because of all of the rocks under our feet. at one time smokygirl said she felt like she had no shoes on.
after breaking again at campsite 36(i think??) we headed back out getting ready to take the other side of the low gap trail back up to the AT. smokygirl pointed out campsite 37 to me, where bbinkley was supposed to be staying the night before. on the way up we noticed there was still a tent but we didn't think it was him.
we had to stop to catch our breath numerous times on the way back up to the AT and we were definitely moving slower than when we started.
finally we got to the AT. it was all downhill from there. and pretty too. i was happy to walk this section again, and downhill this time.
back at the cars we had a beer, talked to a guy, and laughed at a couple girls who were not happy with each other. looked to me like the girl who planned the hike pulled one of those "we're almost there" deals. you know, where she kept saying it all day.
then we went to gatlinburg and had some beers and dinner at the smoky mountain brewery.
after this i went back to the chalet to find that my dad had bought me a foot massager that day. boy, was it nice. i passed out on the couch, got up to get a shower and planted my ass back on the couch for the rest of the night.
i slept late on saturday, got up to a huge breakfast, and was feeling sick from eating too much. i took my little cousin and pregnant aunt to tackle the chimey tops which i wasnt' able to do the other day.
the trail was very icy up top and we didnt go all the way up. had my aunt not been pregnant(almost 5 months) we probably would have gonet to the top. but the people coming down were saying it only got worse for a while but then it got better where the sun was hitting.
everyone had already slipped and fell at least once so we headed back down. i was a bit disappointed but kept thinking about how i would feel if someone got hurt. after all i was "in charge."
so we stopped at the visitor center for aunt dorrine to pee(again) and $50 later we headed back up to the house. i took the shortcut smokygirl had shown me the night before, avoiding a lot of the gatlinburg traffic.
again, i ate and drank for the rest of the night.
Day 5, the final day
sunday i got up at the buttcrack again and took a run through the woods before heading home around 8:30 am. lucky thing i got out of there early too. i talked to grandpa around 12:30 and he said they left at 10 and were still sitting in pigeon forge traffic. im so glad i missed that.
i had a great time. met a new tt'er and hiked with one i've already met. got to spend time with my family and ate way too much. what a long weekend.”
“Sounds like you had a good time, cool report!”
“that was my tent that you saw there at 37. i dayhiked the gunter fork trail and didn't break camp til about 3:00 and then hiked out. it was a yellow rei halfdome plus 2 tent.
dud i didn't realize you 2 were hiking that way or i would of planned on meeting up with you guys. The Gunter fork trail was awesome. See you guys at TC2 this coming weekend.”
“yup, that was the tent we saw. we should've moved it to the other side of the campsite or packed it up and left a ransom note or something. it would have been funny.
we would have walked down to check it out but i thought you were a hard core hammocker.”
“ductape - Nice report! However, I'm confused about your first hike. Was it seven miles one way, round trip, or loop? Where did you actually start and how far up did you go? Did you make it to the AT and Spence Field? Thanks.”
“I am normally. Unless it is just me. Then I take the tent.”
“Nice turkeyday weekend ductape! Did you hit the Happy Hiker out there? Did you purchase an Elvis shirt in Gatlinburg?
I'll see you in a few bro, thatnks for the report (brought back memories)”
“nowslimmer, we took the finley cane trail to bote mountain trail, back down via lead cove trail. i was wrong before, we actually turned off one trail junction before anthony creek.
i think we were still about 2 mi?? from the AT when we turned off bote mtn trail.”
“didn't make it to the happy hiker. was gonna go but i got the brown book and nat'l geographic map at the visitor center, plus a few other things including a roll of film for $9. that kind of upset me.
i didn't want to sit in traffic which seems 24\7 in gatlinburg.”
“Now that's the way to spend a Thanksgiving weekend!! Nice report! Pics?”
“no pics yet. i did get some good ones though, i hope.
really wish i could have got all the way up to the chimney tops. it was so clear out yesterday. oh well, i guess now i have to go back to the smokies. what a bummer:)”
“Better safe than sorry when others (especially in delicate conditions) are involved! Good decision, I think.”
“yea, they were both wearing tennis shoes and had already taken a couple spills. i took a bump once too.”
“Ductape, can't be too careful with the women in "delicate conditions", (lmao). Wise choice, my friend. Sounds like you had a great weekend!!! Wish we would've gotten some of that snow......maybe tonight, (snowday anyone)!!!!!!”
“I thought that would get a laugh!”
“one thing i learned is horses are allowed on parts of the AT. i always thought it was foot travel only.”
“It depends on where the section is. As part of the Smokies charter they are required to allow horse use on a certain percentage of the trails. Can't remember the exact number but it is big. Well, big in my opinion anyway.”
“so it's only in the smokies?”
“Honestly I'm not sure but I think so.”
“Yes, that is the only part of the AT where horses are permitted___on about 38 miles of it.”
“That hike was beautiful! Hey, I didn't realize you did the Finley Cane, Bote Mt Loop - read my description of that hike on my website when you get a chance! I am going to add my Thanksgiving hike and Cosby hike today... It was cool meeting you - see you at TC2!”
“That is friggin hilarious!! I just said when I saw that light yellow dome tent, "Wouldn't that be funny if Bbinkley was camping there right now?" But I figured you were on Mt. Sterling... Damn!! We could have met up!”
“glad you played it safe...seems to me that I remember you were recently on the TT injured reserve list...no point revisiting that and you don't want to put anyone else on it, either.
TC2>>> c u there.”
“Cool trip report dude it looks like you had a blast!
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