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

17 thoughts on “Day 21: Gatlinburg

  1. Stay warm, stat safe. Save your energy for the good hikes, the big climbs and dry trails! It only gets better, mostly! 😉 Haven’t heard from ‘J,’ I think he’s near buried on Clingman’s Dome -be glad you missed that one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just heard from ‘J,’ aka PaceCar…

    Day 18
    by J

    Happy Wednesday everyone! Last night it was raining, then it turned to freezing rain and then snow.

    Woke up in the morning around 6:30 a.m. and packed up and got going, while the going was good, as the saying goes.

    Headed to Carter Gap, which gave me a 14.5 or 15 mile day I believe. With that said all day today was a blizzard in the mountains with snow, snow drifts and winds up to 45 or 50 mph at times. I had on most of my clothes. Today was my most challenging day on this hike due to weather, but I have been in tougher situations. It was very beautiful and I enjoyed it. In conditions like this, just hike a comfortable pace and try not to sweat up your clothes (best to avoid tempting hypotherema to join) and watch your footing as best as you can. The storm got stronger as the day progressed.

    As I hiked today, one of my friends lost his brother very recently, so I thought about both of them today and dedicated the toughest mile to them both.

    One of the guys I was hiking with had to head home to take care of some personal issues. But I also met and hiked with some new people named ET and Honey Bear.

    I will evaluate the weather conditions as I gauge when it is a good idea to enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which is under a winter storm warning. Kept my camera in my pocket today as it did not like the cold.
    You’re a lucky, happer camper, Mike. Enjoy your good fortune. Best! MH

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tarzan FaceTimed from Camerrer Peak at 11:30am! Him and the Gap Tramily (Jack & Happy Feet) were “warm enough”. He estimates they got 6 – 8 inches of snow. He looked like a steely mountain man.

    Liked by 1 person

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