Day 23

Today was a 17.9 mile hike from Derrick Knob to Newfound Gap.

The temperature really dropped again last night in the mountains and the cold wind picked up. While a thick fog also settled in making things damp. My wet hiking shoes froze darn near solid over night. I put on a pair of dry socks and kept my feet in them a little while to soften them up. As soon as I broke camp, I had to hike to stay warm.

Had some pretty nice views during parts of the day. Clouds and fog came and went a few times during the day.

By the time I made it to Clingmans Dome (the highest point on the AT at 6658 feet), clouds blocked any views. The hike up and down Clingmans Dome was very icy and slow going. There were only 5 people at Clingmans Dome when I was there, in the most visited National Park in the Country. I later learned the road up to it does not open for another week or so.

Saw lots of different types of moss and fungi today, especially in a cedar forest at higher elevations.

I needed to get into Gatlinburg, Tennessee to get a new pair of rain pants. This morning I realized I lost them somehow, two days prior perhaps. With the cold, wind, potential for rain and my next resupply a week away, I felt I could not risk being without them with the real risk of hypothermia present in these conditions. So I will find a pair tomorrow. Not what I planned on doing, but I feel good about the decision.

In this area of the trail it goes over the Tennessee and North Carolina border a few times. It is hard to know what State I am in sometimes.

I hitchhiked 15 miles into town (Gatlinburg). It was actually my first time hitchhiking. Trail Magic! A super nice couple from Richmond, Virginia picked me up. They were on their 21st wedding anniversary. Each year they come to the Smokys for their anniversary. Had a good back a forth conversation with them.

9 thoughts on “Day 23

  1. Hi, ‘J.’ Nice to be past Climgman’s Dome! And given the lack of rain pants, Gatlinburg must have been a welcome destination. Top priority, given weather conditions! And you even got lucky and caught a ride into town… not a bad day! 😉 I think Sharkbait will be in Hot Springs in a couple of days, and is looking forward to soaking in them hot springs.’ A night (and maybe a zero) in Gatlinburg should feel pretty good for you as well. The lower elevations should be warmer and a welcome change. Get warm and rested!


  2. Sure looks cold and wet, just wanted to remind you that your Sister, your Brother in law, and your two Nephews are in Hawaii.
    I felt that I was sending to many email, so I thought I would use your Blog for a change of pace. Hope your taking some time off to warm up and to get some rest. Hope you get some good weather soon, catch you later.


  3. PartAnimal PartMachine March 27, 2018 — 11:29 am

    “Through your wanderings, you cultivate a sensibility of wonder and surprise, rekindling the innocence that got buried in your adolescent rush to become somebody in particular. Now you seek to become nobody for a while…so that the person you really are might find you.”
    -Bill Plotkin,“Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented world”


  4. Hi Jason! Thanks for sharing more cool moss pictures again. Way to take good care of those feet. Hope they carry your pant size in Gatlinburg. What are you going to do if you run into somebody wearing your old rain pants? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi man! I got new rain pants in town. The had two in my size. I have new rain pants now, so if someone has my old ones and they needed some, I welcome them to keep and use them. Nobody stole them I am sure of that. Maybe I forgot them or someone accidentally took them when it was dark, no matter either way at this point.


  5. Hi Jason! Glad to hear you’re taking care of the feet in these cold and wet conditions. I think I’d have thrown in the towel by now with all the cold, wet, and snow. But it sure makes for some dramatic photos!

    Great to see you connecting with people and sharing your humor and kindness with them. Pretty cool to hear about those trail angels that keep showing up, too! What a cool experience you are having!

    Thanks for sharing the journey and keep up the good work on the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Jason,
    Really enjoying your blogs and your adventure!! I will be in NC in a week and then back and forth from Charlotte to Nashville for a race on April 7th. Sounds like you’re doing a good job of taking care of yourself and enjoying the adventure!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks man! Have safe travels yourself.


  7. Seems like you’re really moving along! Great! Wet feet, that’s rough. maybe rain pants can help with some of that. hope you find a nice pair. Gatlinburg is a fun little tourist town. I love the smokies! thanks for the lichen shot!! 🙂 looks like spring is coming there, a few buds coming out and things greening up. I heard you give our podmate Ryan some BS yesterday, very nice. He was happy to oblige. Keep up the great work out there and we’ll keep it up here. Hopefully warmer days are in the near future for all of us!!!


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