View Full Version : 9 day hike T.R. on the A.T.

10-18-2009, 21:16
Just wanted to give a trail report for my latest outing.
This is what a hike from Franklin N.C. to the far north side of the Smokies turned out like.
We left Franklin with a drop off by my Dad. (thanks to him). That was a great morning. Really no good views due to the fog. Next morning started off with a heavy heavy fog. I believe it was in the hammock with me, fairly warm temps. It was foggy all day with only one good view at a fire tower.
The third day started the same heavy fog and rain all the way to the N.O.C.
We decided to get lunch there. That is wherer the third member of our group of 3 dropped the bomb he was leaving. He was not having a good time on his first outting and saw the 7 mi up hill climb of over 3000 feet coming. He left us on the highway with his thumb out and got a ride to Ashville N.C. for a rental car and headed to Memphis.
We finished the day with the big uphill climb and a nice sunny afternoon rest. We hung out our wares for drying to no evail. We awoke to pouring rain on at midnight that didn't stop for over 24 hours. I hung the hammock for the last night that night befor entering the Smokies.
We made it to the Fontanna Hilton in the rain and fog. Just in time to get a shower and hang a few clothes lated in the evening. The next day was nice leaving there after my first ever night in a shelter. It was rather tough sleeping on the wooden floor with the broken ribs I have from a fire dept
The next day was nice coming out of Fontanna a heck of a climb into the Smokies. but a good day with views from Shuckstack Mt tower and one bear sighting. We stayed at our 2nd shelter that night solo.
We awoke to rain again, who would have thunk all that rain and more to come. No views and we got to Russel field shelter for lunch I was frozen and shaking uncontrollably. I got a quick lunch and hit the trail for more rain and mud.
Pretty mucn that was the same thing for every day from that point until the finish. Rocky Top and Thunderhead Mountain were both completely covered in fog and the wind was blowing the rain so hard it blew me off balance crossing each peak.
We pulled out early at Clingman's Dome which was really nice. We were actually were above the rain clouds that day. When my Dad picked us up rather that the prearranged resupply it was beautiful at the top but as we got below the clouds the rain began again. The rain turned into snow that night at elevevation but the the rain followed us all the way home to Memphis.
So all totaled it was 7.5 days of rain out of 9 days out. only 2 nice views but it was still quite fun. We covered only 88 miles where we did 108 in the same time frame last year. The terrain and weather really hammered us this time.
Thanks for reading

10-18-2009, 21:19
I do love me an adverse trip report. ....... way to tough it out and be out there enjoying in less than ideal conditions.
Did you stay warm in the hammock?

10-18-2009, 21:36
What Shug said and asked! What a trip!

10-18-2009, 21:57
I do love me an adverse trip report. ....... way to tough it out and be out there enjoying in less than ideal conditions.
Did you stay warm in the hammock?

I did stay warm. I also tied some pieces for fabric in the suspension string that stopped the rain from traveling into the hammock itself as it did last year.
Unfortunatly we had to stay in the shelters during our time in the Natl Park. Which was not bad as I thought it would be. The most company we had was 9 out of 12 spaces one night and one night just me and my partner.
I forgot to tell about thet black bear that we encountered. He came in to the shelter area looking for food. We spotted hime abuot 25 yards out so of course we took bunches of pics. He wandered around circling camp. He visted the bear cables standing up on his back legs and tried to get the food off the cables. He then came to the back of the shelter where we decided that was enough. He was within 10 yards of me, we hollered and yelled slapped our hiking sticks together in attempt to run him off. He bluffed a charge scracthed up a tree and then moseyed off with us in trail yelling at him. That was really exciting.


10-18-2009, 22:20
Met a "rough looking" guy in the middle of a storm a couple of trips back.

Long story short:
"... Rain bother you? It don't bother me none (chew, chew, spit, spit). ..."
My response, " ... been there, done that, will probably do it again. But, no, I don't like spending my vacation time hiking in the rain."
If it looks like extended rain, then bail out and save you hiking time budget for "good" weather.

Prime example:
Mt. Rogers and Grayson Highlands - horizontal rain, howling wind, no ponies (because they were smarter than me and huddled under some shelter), no views, no pictures. I'll go back someday, but my time budget, right now, only allows me to go forward, not rehike places I've already been.

12-10-2009, 15:02
Just found this thread but two weeks before your trip I took a newbie on a cross Smokies backpack from Elkmont Tn to Deep Creek NC. The second day in he kept falling back and by the time I entered the clouds at 5000ft on Goeshen Prong trail we were no longer hiking together. I reached the AT and suited up my rain gear since it nothing but swirling mist and waited. After 45min I was getting worried and had really cooled down so I began blowing my whistle and calling out for this guy. He finally showed up al pissed off that I left him and told me he ditched his gear on the trail instead of carring it anymore. All he had left was his pack, sleeping bag and food he needed to spend one more night at Double Springs shelter. I gave him some time to cool off and convinced him that if he would continue on to Clingmans Dome where I had parked my truck for resupply I would drive him off the mountain instead of another night out. He said if I did that he would get me a hotel room and dinner. Between the room, dinner and dropped gear he lost about $400, I just wish he would have cached the gear so I could get it later.

12-10-2009, 15:21
That reminds me of last year at about this time. Same thing happend to me and my friend. We were just not compatible in the hiking speed department and he kept getting slower and slower. Since I was on a time frame to get back home we had to keep a certain pace and he wasnt....

Long story short, the trip was cut short. On our last day, he got out at Unicoi to go pick up the car and I continued on to Dicks Creek Gap where he picked me up and we went home. We are still friends but I do not bring him on trips that have a strict time table for completion.

So are you still friends with the guy? What kind of gear did he leave?


12-10-2009, 17:37
I've talked to him once since then. He rolled his camper and was thinking of coming back to primitive camping. He's a small guy and I'm not, I've lost 180lbs since last year through diet and exercise, lots of exercise. Though I'm still big, 240lbs he figured if I could do it so could he and if we were on level ground without packs I'm sure he could out pace me no problem but fast walking doesn't translate to strong walking. Maybe we'll go out again if he gets it together. Lets see, I know he left a Coleman xponent one person tent, a tarp, books, katydin water filter(I could have kicked his *** for that one), water bottles, camp stool, fuel cartridge, you get the idea. He was planning if I wasn't at the trail intersection to head 0.6mi in the wrong direction on the AT to Double Springs and spend the night before turning around to Clingmans and calling for someone to come get him. I questioned his logic of dropping his gear if he had fallen or broke something what was he planning to use as shelter, he said he knew but he was never going to backpack again so he would never need any of it again. I was about 10min from leaving him on the trail and going for help. The temp had dropped into the low 40's and I was wet and cold, going back down the trail wasn't an option by then, I figured looking for one person is better than two. On the plus side we found late blueberries on the AT, my fingers were purple when we reached Clingmans Dome.

12-11-2009, 09:26
this thread sounds like it should be titled "what to do when things go wrong". It's so much easier to talk about what can go wrong before the trip. But to go on the trip and have things start falling apart and then people's feelings start getting in the way. If you've already talked about "worst case senarios" and what to do if such and such happens... well it's easier not to get people's feelings involved. Course a lot of the time, you don't realize what kind of "worst case senarios" you need to talk about before the trip. Like who knew that these two people would end up having such wide spaced walking paces??? Or that that guy would dump out essential gear??? It would be nice if there was some sort of "guide sheet" that would direct us to how much adversity an individual can take before they start to "lose it".

12-11-2009, 10:01
It would be nice if there was some sort of "guide sheet" that would direct us to how much adversity an individual can take before they start to "lose it".

Might have to talk to the manufacturer about that.. lack of specs on delivered product is a serious oversight.

12-11-2009, 10:21
My hiking partner and myself have been working together on the Memphis Fire Dept for almost 18 years . We have not seen anything that we have not been able weather yet.
We have been soaking wet and froze in the single digits working fires and car wrecks. In ditches looking for drowned kids in 100 degrees with cotton mouth snakes and snowing freezing rain. (not on the same date) We have spent 20 plus days sleeping on tail gates, parking lots and airforce runways in 100 degree temps. Those days are for the FEMA Rescue team chasing huricanes and working rescues such as Katrina, Gustav, Ike, Francis etc. Now that I have seen the light no more tail gates HAMMOCK goes everytime now.
All that being said the hiking is relative. No one is dying, no one is loosing anything, and no one is getting hurt (well maybe a little hurt). So wet cold weather was kinda bad but looking back no bigggie at all just lots of fun.


12-11-2009, 12:13
Taking newbies out is a special commitment. Usually I am taking them out because they are newbies and I am seasoned. I know ahead of time they will be dependent on me for many things, so I don't set high expectations. Short hikes, rest often only hike as fast as the slowest person in the group etc. Plan around good weather, or make sure that they know it is going to be a wet, cold, hot (whatever), miserable trip. Generally I want newbies to have a pleasant time on their first trip, so they don't get dissuaded on camping/hiking.

It's like taking a bunch of <10 year old kids fishing. I don't take a pole for me, I am there for them to fish, not me.

I reserve long mile hog trips for my solo outings or someone who I am comfortable with and isn't a whiner. I'm there to hike, not babysit.

The newbie outings do make for the best stories tho. :)

Sounds like ya'll did pretty well in some ugly weather BEAS, 7hanks for the report.

If you could have taken one more piece of gear, or different piece of gear what would it have been? If you could have done one thing differently (route planning etc) what would it have been?

12-11-2009, 12:30
As far as the gear change it is done, ditched the poncho and purchased the Mountain Hardware rain jacket. The poncho kept my pak dry and me dry for the most part during the heavy rains but it was a real pain when the rain let up for a short time and I really wanted just a pak cover and no jacket. It did vent well but it is a trade off I guess.
My wife made me a just jeffs pak cover and it doubles as a gear hammock.I have used it once that way it worked great.
Other than that all my gear has functioned well over the last 3 years.
The route is set since we are sectioning the A.T. so can't change that one. I really am looking forward to the next section. This year we are planning in early May. Maybe we can miss some of the thru hikers in Spring. We may even try again in the fall also to log some extra miles we missed this past hike.

"Due to budget cuts the light at the end of the tunnell has been shut off."

12-11-2009, 21:17
I always enjoy hearing trail reports.

I for one have aborted before due to relentless rains and once this past spring due to a tick invasion in the middle of the night,woke-up to find 7 ticks already burrowed in and several others crawling but this was in a tent.

Yes...cold rain is by far the worst and the best clothing money can buy can't keep it out for extended periods.

I actually enjoy backpacking in the snow but non stop rains certainly put a damper on things.

You seem to keep a good additude,thats important when the weather refuses to cooperate.;)

06-20-2010, 11:34
this has been such a pleasure to read,,, thanks for the report,,,,
I'm new to the hammock hangin and i cant wait to get in my wbbb,,

this forum has been so inspiring,,, thanks