Day #5 — That’s Enough!

After hiking 42 of some of the toughest miles on the Appalachian Trail, I decided to stop hiking this section here at Fontana dam. There are many reasons I’ve made this decision, the biggest one is that my daily miles are not anywhere near what I need to make it to Atlanta in time for my regatta.

So I got a hiker shuttle into Knoxville late last evening and I am taking the bus home from Knoxville. Looking at the weather, it might’ve been an even better decision.

I’ve got lots of projects at home including building a deck and lots of sailing stuff. I also have a lovely lady and sweet dog that I haven’t seen for sometime.

Day #4 — Out of the Smokies to Fontana Dam…

I got an early start from Mollie’s Ridge Shelter after a much-needed long nights rest.

The rain from yesterday had passed on and the trail was pretty nice.

I began the long descent out of the park to Fontana dam as the sun came out and it got very warm. I ended up at the Fontana dam shelter, also known as the Fontana Hilton.

AT Thru-Hike Stats
Section Day # 4 (4/9/21)
Start — Mollies Ridge (177.7)
End — Fontana Hilton (165.7)
Today’s mileage: 12.0
Total section miles: 42.0
Total miles on AT: 1016.6

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. — Leo Tolstoy

Day #3 — Milestone and some rest.

I set off from Spence field this morning and after hiking the 6 miles to Mollies Ridge, I decided to call it quits for the day. This gave me a chance to get some much-needed rest and have a nice dinner. The shelter is very crowded and there’s a ridge runner here checking everyone’s permit. I was able to call the back country office and get permission to stay here for the night.

The big mile stone today is that I now have more than 1000 miles on the Appalachian Trail. It seems funny because the thru hikers here all have trail legs and are hiking strong, yet they’ve all done less than 200 miles.

I’ve got 11 miles to hike to Fontana Dam tomorrow. That will take me out of Smoky Mountain national Park.

AT Thru-Hike Stats
Section Day # 3 (4/8/21)
Start — Spence Field (183.7)
End — Mollies Ridge (177.7)
Today’s mileage: 6.0
Total section miles: 30.0
Total miles on AT: 1004.6

Be courageous! Have faith! Go forward. ― Thomas A. Edison

Day #2 — A long one..

I hiked 13.5 miles today; got caught up with my schedule. I kept seeing my park with your friend Greg And intern Megan.

I ended up hiking the last 2 miles in the dark with my headlamp on. I climbed and descended Thunderhead Mountain in the dark. I hiked through thick Rhododendrum’s in a dark tunnel. I did come upon a pair of shiny eyes looking back at me from the side of the trail; fortunately it was a bunny rabbit. 🐇

The miles up here in the Smokies are really tough. Ten miles a day is tough for me.

AT Thru-Hike Stats
Section Day # 2 (4/7/21)
Start — Double Spring Gap (197.2)
End — Spence Field (183.7)
Today’s mileage: 13.5
Total section miles: 24.0
Total miles on AT: 998.6

You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction. ― George Horace Lorimer

Day #1 — A Tough start…

Today was a tough one. I started at Newfound gap after taking the shuttle from Gatlinburg.

Almost immediately the 8 mile climb to the top of Clingmans Dome begin. With my winter gear and five days of food the pack was very heavy and going was very slow slow.

 I ended up making it only to double spring gap and doing 10 1/2 miles. I met a nice park ranger who gave me permission to stay at the shelter. I also met lots of through hikers and there are also many vacation hikers here as well. I have 13 1/2 miles to do tomorrow to get myself back on schedule.

AT Thru-Hike Stats
Section Day # 1 (4/6/21)
Start — Newfound Gap (207.7)
End — Double Spring Gap (197.2)
Today’s mileage: 10.5
Total section miles: 10.5
Total miles on AT: 985.1

Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding. ― Jimmy Valvano