Appalachian Trail

Location: Great Smoky Mountains, Appalachian Trail
Date: Friday, August 29, 2003 10:10 AM

I started by driving from home to Fontana Dam and I waited for Snowman at the
Fontana Hilton,  He arrived a little ahead of schedule, after loading his
gear in my truck, we went on to Smokemont campground to pick up Marsh.  Marsh was
late and we proceeded to Newfound Gap.  Soon, Two Sticks arrived and told us
Marsh was running late and went to Smokemont to pick him up.  Now we were
altogether and ready.

Two Sticks drove us to Davenport Gap, the last few miles the road was so
curvy that sometimes we could see our own taillights.  Snowman and I saddled up
well after dark and started up the mountain.  Two Sticks and Marsh went back to
Gatlinburg.  Snowman and I went up one mile to the Davenport Gap Shelter.
This shelter has been renovated and was clean.  Chain link fencing was across
the front, there was water but no privy.  There were no mice or other critters.
We slept well.

After breakfast we started a steady climb upward (3,000'+ in 3 miles).
Snowman took the side trail to see Mt.Cammerer Fire Tower while I ate lunch and had
a rest.
At Low Gap, we met Two Sticks and Marsh.  They had come up from Cosby Camp
Ground.  We went on to Cosby Knob Shelter to spend the night.  This shelter was
clean and had cables to hang packs and food.  There was a good spring and a
Sleep was good with no problems.

Surprise!  We saw blooming rhododendron in late August.  The blossoms were
white.  I also saw an aircraft crash site to the left of the trail and it
appeared to be military.  Shortly after that, I encountered a full grown bear.  He
was moving ahead of me on the trail and turned off to the North Carolina side.
Soon, I came to Tri-corner Knob Shelter and decided to spend the night there.
 The others went on to Pecks Corner Shelter.  Mark, the ridge runner came in
and we had a good visit.  Later we were joined by a couple from Nashville and
we had a very pleasant evening.

Next day I went on to Pecks Corner Shelter with good weather and a pleasant
walk.  This was my lightest day.  At the shelter, I was joined by John from
Texas and a couple from Slovia.

The last day I finished at Newfound Gap at about five.  From Charlie's Bunion
on there were many day hikers.  I ran out of water and the spring at Ice Water
Shelter was really appreciated.  Finally, there was my truck at the Gap.

Summary:  The shelters have been improved and were all clean.  Plenty of
water at the shelters but not much in between.  The ridge runner is doing an
excellent job.  The work the CCC did in the Thirties is lasting and amazing.  Both
big toes were blistered, as was one heel.  I had a great time!

First Pilgrim
Foster Parsons