Only Downhill From Here

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View near Clingman's Dome

Today we climbed Clingman’s Dome. While the weather stayed clear of precipitation for us, the trail was very icy. We got up earlier than normal, hoping to get to the top for sunrise, but we simply couldn’t move as quickly on the trail as usual. The trail remained icy and snowy to the point that we ended the day spending just as much time on the trial as the day before (our longest day yet), but covered just over half the mileage. Temperatures dropped to freezing the night before, slicking up the trail that had begun to melt in previous days. Continue reading

Trail Magic

icey snowy branches

There’s a whole different culture on the trail, and one of the things that people talk about is trail magic – and yes, it’s a real thing. Trail magic is what hikers call acts of kindness that others (often people who have thru-hiked before, or have some connection to the trail) do for the hikers – often in the form of food. Today, a couple thru-hikers from 2012 (named Whitewater and Video) had decided to meet up at a road along the trail; they set up a tent, turned on a grill, and shared a bounty of snacks, burgers, and stories with this year’s hikers as we came through the gap. The burgers were great! Continue reading

Getting Cold Feet

snowy branches

There’s still a lot of snow on parts of the trail, but we were getting even more restless just waiting. We managed to get a shuttle to Wayah Gap, where we left off the day before when we headed back into town. Depending on if we’re on the sunny side of the mountain, the snow is beginning to turn to slush, and we’re really hoping that the Smokies are not too bad in this regard, as we’ve heard bad reports about the conditions there. Continue reading

Walking in the Snow

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Siler Bald in the snow

It has been snowing lightly in town for most of the last 24 hours, but the forecast said it was supposed to clear up by the end of today so we got a shuttle to the trail head this morning, knowing that there was snow build up in the mountains. We got a few miles before the snow got deeper than we expected. Continue reading