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  1. #1
    Moderator TallPaul's Avatar
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    NC - Newfound Gap to Hot Springs

    I have wanted to hike the AT through GSMNP and after doing roughly half of it last year, I wanted to finish the other half.

    Another big motivation - hammocks were allowed near the shelter due to the social distancing rules so I got to avoid sleeping on the hard wooden floors with the mice - whoop whoop.

    I started with the day hikers at Newfound Gap. The crowd thinned as I neared Charlieís Bunion. The views here were great - Iíd never been so I stopped and enjoyed lunch.






    After Charlies Bunion, I only saw overnight backpackers and some thru hikers.

    I spent the first night at Pecks Corner - .4 mile off the AT but not a bad option. Iím not in great shape so going to the next shelter (Tricorner Knob) would have been too far. There was a father and 3 teens plus a couple others at the shelter.

    I slept in my new Dreamhammock Darien. Slept great. I got this to shave some weight vs my double layer Warbonnet XLC - and letís be honest who has enough hammocks. I got the ďready to shipĒ version of the hammock, which meant I didnít have to wait for it long.




    The next day was a great ridge hike though what seemed like old forest. I think I read the trail goes something like 30 miles above 5000í. That night I stayed at Cosby Knob shelter. After arriving around 3:30, I setup the hammock and tarp as clouds were moving in and it felt like rain. After eating an early dinner, I retired to the hammock at 4:30 and it started to sprinkle. I enjoyed porch mode while thinking of those poor tenters surrounded by 4 walls and no views. It wasnít much later that a front moved in and pounded us with rain all night. Kind of nice to listen to but I wish Iíd taken down porch mode cause I got stuck with the wind coming up the valley blowing right into my hammock. Only got a bit wet though.








    The next morning as I broke down my tarp I turned and saw the butt end of a black bear run away into the woods - Iíd say only 8-10í from me. I didnít even have time to be shocked it happened so fast.

    I hiked up Mt Cammerer then it was down to Standing Bear hostel and my car for a resupply. I originally wasnít sure if I would continue to Hot Springs but decided I would. After laying out clothes to dry, eating lunch and drinking a beer and gatorade, I plied myself away from the hostel and landed that night at Painters Creek. Itís listed as a water source in Guthooks but the notes mentioned a number of campsites. Beautiful spot. First night by myself.




    Next day was a slog and the crux of this section - a 4000í cumulative gain. The humidity had my shirt soaked as climbed up Snowbird Mtn and Max Patch. Iíve been to Max Patch a handful of times and the views were again beautiful. It was a Saturday night and it was like a mini Woodstock up there. People hauled up campfire wood, coolers, air mattresses, full bottles of Barcadi... but they were a good crowd (for the most part). I camped north of the bald in the trees.






    Crazy thing - at 3:16am (I checked my watch) I heard the distinct jangle of my cook set, which had been up in a bear bag hung from a tree. Then I heard voices. And I realized somebody had taken down my bear bag and was rifling through my stuff. I got out of the hammock and went to talk to these folks - they claimed they thought the bag was abandoned. Nothing was taken or damaged so I didnít give them too hard of a time. And I re-learned the lesson of camping less than a mile from a parking lot - never know who will show up.

    With 20 miles till Hot Springs I planned to break it up in 13 & 7 mile days with my daughter picking me up to shuttle me back to my car. We planned to camp out a night.

    Well, that was the plan till I got cell service - the first thing my daughter said was ďDid you get my texts?Ē No. Followed by ďEverybody is okĒ. Well not exactly. My wife was bitten on the hand by a dog our family was fostering. They went to the ER and had a visit scheduled with a surgeon the next day. So I changed plans and hiked 16 miles to Deer Park shelter that night and caught an 8 am shuttle the following morning. I made it home for the visit with the surgeon.


    The only thing of interest the last couple days was Iím pretty sure the camp near Deer Park shelter was haunted - or there was something in the trees that night. Had a laugh to myself how ridiculous I felt throwing rocks into the woods at 1 am to make whatever it was go away. Found the 2 tombstones nearby the next day.







    The new Darien slept great. I did miss the shelf of the WB XLC but getting older this was some easy weight to jettison. I also took a smaller battery pack (10k mAh instead of 20k). Both helped reduce a pound and were appreciated.

    And as for my wife... she is a trooper. The dog bite mangled the finger tip and bone on her left index finger so much she unfortunately needed surgery to remove the tip. Sheís on the mend and feeling better every day. Though she keeps flipping me the bird.





    Day 1: 10.9 mi Newfound Gap to Pecks Corner
    Day 2: 13.3 mi Pecks Corner to Cosby Knob 231.1
    Day 3: 13.8 mi Cosby Knob to Painter Branch 243.7 + 1.2 M Cammerer
    Day 4: 11.4 mi Painter Branch 243.7 to Max Patch 255.1
    Day 5: 16.6 mi Max Patch to Deer Park shelter 271.7
    Day 6 :3.2 mi Deer Park to Hot Springs


    Video: https://youtu.be/0ti6ZcbvD5M
    Last edited by TallPaul; 09-11-2020 at 23:23.

  2. #2
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    For someone who "isn't in great shape" you took on some meaty days! I know there isn't much more than a couple steps of flat ground through that section of the Smokies & beyond. Back in March we were caught in a few minutes of near-blizzard conditions in between Max Patch & Deer Park. We were also surprised when we found those 2 small tombstones close to the shelter area, hadn't heard of those being there prior to visiting.

  3. #3
    Moderator TallPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Layne View Post
    For someone who "isn't in great shape" you took on some meaty days! I know there isn't much more than a couple steps of flat ground through that section of the Smokies & beyond. Back in March we were caught in a few minutes of near-blizzard conditions in between Max Patch & Deer Park. We were also surprised when we found those 2 small tombstones close to the shelter area, hadn't heard of those being there prior to visiting.
    Ha thanks. Iíve learned to pace myself so I can get the hike done, maybe just not quickly. Kinda like an Everest climber.. step.. breath.. repeat.

    I canít imagine whiteout conditions. Part of me says no thanks and another part says sounds cool. It was nice lollygagging on Max Patch this time.

  4. #4
    ofuros's Avatar
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    I hear you on the Covid kilo's/ unfitness...good to get out though. Nature soothes the soul.
    Last edited by ofuros; 06-19-2020 at 06:04.
    Mountain views are good for the soul....& getting to them is good for my waistline.

    https://ofuros.exposure.co/

  5. #5

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    Paul, does that make "Thumbs" Mom's new name "Flipper"?
    Talmadge
    "GroundHog"

  6. #6
    Moderator TallPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ofuros View Post
    I hear you on the Covid kilo's/ unfitness...good to get out though. Nature soothes the soul.
    It was good to get out, enjoy the views and breathe some fresh air.

    Quote Originally Posted by GroundHog View Post
    Paul, does that make "Thumbs" Mom's new name "Flipper"?
    Lol sounds right

  7. #7
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Amazing. Spectacular. Stunning.
    What a cool trip. I woulda avoided the mountain rave on Max Patch too.
    Your wife is a trouper. Was it a random bite or was she feeding the dog? Curious. I got bit once taking food from Bean.

    That sunset picture with all the mountains staggering....made my heart happy.
    Shug
    ShugArt Hammock Paintings....https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShugArtStu...platform-mcnav

    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Secure in Sector Seven

  8. #8
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    I clearly need to check out the AT just north of the Park, thanks for the report.

  9. #9
    ObdewlaX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TallPaul View Post
    Great photo!

    Enjoyed your trip report too & thanks for posting.

  10. #10
    Moderator TallPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shug View Post
    Amazing. Spectacular. Stunning.
    What a cool trip. I woulda avoided the mountain rave on Max Patch too.
    Your wife is a trouper. Was it a random bite or was she feeding the dog? Curious. I got bit once taking food from Bean.

    That sunset picture with all the mountains staggering....made my heart happy.
    Shug
    Itís a great section to hike. Loved the views and that creepy old forest feel.

    As for the dog, the bite didnít involve food. It happened when my wife went to comfort the dog as it was stressed. She pet it, then it bite her when she pulled her hand away. Just unfortunate all the way around.

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