Sorry. I meant ice, not snow.
Saturday morning I woke up for no reason at about 3:30 and a buddy that I have been hiking with was also up. We decided that it was only 4.5 to Clingman’s Dome. So we quietly packed up and hiked up to the highest point on the AT for sunrise.
After that there was too much daylight to just do another 12 miles so we decided to do another 18.5 to the shelter past the one we were going to stay in originally. On the way down it was absolutely horrible. I kid you not (see pictures) it was like hiking in a frozen creek bed. There was no grip at all. So I basically slid and fell 7 miles down a mountain. If it sounds fun I can assure you that it wasn’t! Haha. In between the Dome and the shelter is Newfound Gap. This is one of the most popular spots in the park as it services some impressive views by day hike and also is the shuttle point to and from Gatlinburg for anyone on trail.
At newfound gap, my other buddy and I were the incredibly grateful recipients of some trail magic. A college guy from University of Cincinnati that completed the trail last year had decided to drive down for the day to do some trail magic. It was an amazing first trail magic experience. He brought a ton of food and we ended up taking all of it after talking for about 30 minutes. He was heading back to school and didn’t want all the leftovers. So my friend and I carried out a bag of chips, some apples, some cookies, granola, cuties, and doughnuts. I can’t even explain how amazing fresh fruit tasted.
After Newfound Gap I took my time and headed the next 10 miles to the shelter for the night.
We only have 24 miles left in the smokies and some of us are very tempted to knock it out tomorrow. Either way I’ll be in store for a great zero in Hot Springs, NC on Wednesday!!
I also added a picture of the sunset from my night hike.