BDSM in the GSMNP

Big Dump of Snow on Monday in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Yesterday was the first day of spring which was great! With warm weather, flowers and birds chirping it was an overall beautiful day until the snow started which we watched from the lodge at Fontana, NC. The lower elevations got about three inches but it quickly increased as we went further into the Smokys. Once we got up to about 4000 feet the snow was a foot deep in some places with drifts even higher! At low elevations the snow was melting and falling from trees but it quickly started freezing again after gaining a little bit of altitude.

Hiking in the Snow

It’s a great experience with breathtaking views if you can stay dry and warm. Hiking in trail runners, I quickly accepted the fact that my feet were going to be wet and cold all day until reaching the shelters. I wore ZPacks calf-height gaiters which helped keep snow and slush from getting in the top of my shoe but proved to be near useless once the shoes were soaked through. Using trail runners, I had a little bit more traction than Rambo and Shoelace who opted for Vasque boots but overall, everyone still had to deal with very slippery trail conditions which proved dangerous on descents. Another big drawback from hiking in the snow is a much slower hiking pace which made for longer days.

Injury

I’m suffering from a pissed off tendon running into my calf which I’m sure was aggravated by all the slippery hiking and steep trails in the Smokys. The pain isn’t too terrible to deal with but the mental aspect of hiking with an actively painful injury was a little hard for me. Every step I was reminded that I’m either hurt, doing more damage or preventing the healing that I’ll need to keep going! My injured calf mixed with terrifically cold feet naturally put my head in a terrible place and definitely made me work hard to get back into a positive mindset. Pro Tip: Play mental games and think only in positive thoughts! For example; I change my thoughts from thinking about pain to thinking about healing and becoming stronger.

Snow Hiking 101

Drink water! Eat every few hours! Keep moving! When stopped; conserve body heat, stick your gloves in your crotch to keep those babies warm!

 

At Camp in the Snow

To keep dry around camp while getting your water, cooking and doing all your other homely chores, try wearing heavy socks, covering with a freezer bag, tying top with paracord, putting on crocs and finishing with gaiters!

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 3

  • Avatar
    Kestrelchick : Mar 25th

    loving your post – my son and I are leaving on our thru-hike at the beginning of March and are trying to take notes on how everyone handles the possibilities of snow – thanks for sharing and keep pushing through!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Karl Zagrod : Mar 26th

    Nice work Jon. Keep it up. Hope the calf doesn’t hold u back too much!!!

    Reply

What Do You Think?