Friday, August 10, 2007

Hike: Icewater Spring Shelter

5/11/98--Icewater Spring Shelter, 43 miles (from Fontana)

The trail only got worse this morning. Actually, it only got worse until well into the afternoon--the whole damn treadway could use bog bridges from Russell Field to Indian Gap. It sucked at my boots, it seeped in the eyelets. It spattered as high as my knees. I was using my hiking poles as much probes--it was up to 8 inches thick of Miserable, just a trough (as someone wrote in the registers.)

Hiked as far as Mt. Collins Shelter, right on Setback's trail, then she headed on for Newfound Gap and Gatlinburg, to check on her ailing hiking partner. She hasn't shown up at the shelter yet, so I guess that means they're heading back up to Virginia. I wish them luck and easy trails.

I enjoyed a 2-hour lunch that ended in blue skies. Still had a few miles of mud to plow and slide through, but by the time I got across Newfound Gap I was finding trail I could live with. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

The wind in the Smokies is intense. It sounds like the ocean. It will gust up and slap the side of the mountain, often just above or below me--I hear it more than I feel it. So this morning, even though it was only cloudy and not raining it sounded like a tempest crashing through the trees.

Crossed Clingman's Dome, highest point on the Trail, but visibility was so low it wasn't worth bothering with the Tower. Ah well. There will be more mountains, that's for sure. --MC

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