Wednesday, April 13, 2016

AT 2016 -> Days 10-16 (4/7-4/13) (miles 145-265)

The last section of trail took me into and out of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). Starting at Fontana Dam, the AT climbs into the park and oak forests give way to fir and spruce trees at the higher elevations.   Much of the park is a temperate rainforest.

The big negative of GSMNP is that the park service requires all hikers to stay at designated shelters, meaning no dispersed tent camping is allowed.  You can tent at the shelters only if the shelter is full when you arrive.  This means there is a greater risk of getting sick (norovirus is a real problem), and also that you sometimes have to stop hiking before you normally would in the evening because the next shelter may be too far to reach.

Fontana Lake NC

Crossing Fontana Dam

Highest damn dam east of the Mississippi

Spence Field shelter, GSMNP

Early morning climb up Rocky Top - GSMNP

Beech tree forest - GSMNP

Clingman's Dome, highest point on AT - GSMNP

Snowy rain forest - GSMNP
Newfound Gap mile 207 - GSMNP
Charlie's Bunion mile 211 - GSMNP

GSMNP
Camp near Davenport Gap

Max Patch bald, first real landmark after leaving GSMNP 

Mile 254