Day 21: Gatlinburg

Day 21. Week 3 is done! This video captures The NOC to Gatlinburg over the past 7 days … though truthfully, I had hoped to be in Hot Springs by now. That puts me about 60 miles behind schedule on my original plans. This cold weather is no joke though, and I don’t regret any of the Zeros I’ve taken this far. It will pay off in dividends later that I don’t over-excerpt myself early in the hike, and I know I can make up those miles later when the weather and my legs are more suitable.

As for today’s recap … it turned out to be a pretty boring Zero Day in Gatlinburg. We didn’t do anything touristy and really just walked Main Street, got some food, rested and went shopping. The NOC has an outfitter here which is pretty impressive, so I was finally able to get a better sleeping pad for the Smoky shelters. I researched it before the trip, and know there are mixed reviews, but really like the new self-inflating Thermarest. Their Evolite line is about 2″ thick, very comfortable for a side sleeper like me, and comes in the right color. So, now I am happy and eager to test it out tomorrow (fingers crossed).

Speaking of which, it snowed all day today. All day. Nonstop. Freezing white out conditions.

Ground Score, who stayed at the shelter 3 miles prior to Newfound Gap last night, just told me he hiked the 15 miles down the closed road to get here because of how bad it is up in the mountains. In his words, the snow and cold are much worse than the weather predicted. I’m glad he made it down safe but am worried for others still in the thick of it. Stay warm Huevos and Julia!

Oh, side note, Julia earned a trail name the other day. Because of her adorable new frog-shaped winter hat, and how she is constantly leapfrogging us while hiking on the trail … that became her name, Leapfrog. Stay warm Leapfrog!

We have hopes of getting back to the trail tomorrow morning still, but will wait and see what the new day brings. Supposedly it will be very warm tomorrow, which should be enough to open it by noon. If the road is open, we are back on track. If not, we are back to Netflix.

Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!

  • Start Mile: 207.3
  • Start Time: 00:00
  • End Mile: 207.3
  • End Time: 00:00
  • Miles Hiked: 0.0
  • Miles to Go: 1983.6
  • Lodging: Johnson’s Inn / Gatlinburg