An AT Pandemic, Forest Fires, and A Lost Dog

early spring landscape

We’ve been hearing rumors and reports from many people about a lot of hikers getting sick with the same virus – the symptoms being described to us by those that got sick as “the worst case of food poisoning in my life.” Rumors abound in this sort of situation, and we have to pick through them to the most credible information, but the likeliest scenario is that someone picked up this virus and hiked into one of the shelters before developing the symptoms. Then they got sick, passing it on to others at the shelter who hiked a day before getting sick, and thereby spreading it on to other shelters. The word is that it goes from Hot Springs up to Damascus. Continue reading

Warming Toward Hot Springs

Ice storm

Coming out of the Smokies, we took a short walk along the road and under the interstate before heading back into the woods. It was fascinating to me to see the trail blazes (a white blaze) below signs to the interstate. After a couple days of rain, the weather cleared and it began to warm up. Continue reading

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

Now Entering Smoky Mountain National Park

Entering the Smokies

All in all, we had about 3000 ft of elevation change to do (equivalent to around 250 commercial stories – the Empire State building is 102 stories tall), not to mention the ups and downs along the way. So far, the trail in the Smokies was nice, though we got some rain our first afternoon in them. Continue reading