Day 27 – A Mossy Wonderland

Day 27

Start: Derrick Knob Shelter

End: Mt. Collins Shelter

Miles Hiked: 13

Miles on AT: 203


*The next post will be in a couple of days due to internet issues


Today was much more pleasant than yesterday. The sky was blue and the temperature was perfect. I started my day right around sunrise. I had gone to bed super early and awoken around 6 am needing to pee. Since I was already wide awake, I decided to just get up and see what the morning had in store for me.

I caught the sunrise right in front of the shelter. Lost & Found, a hiker I had met, had had the exact same idea, so we shared breakfast together while we enjoyed the morning show. After a while, a few more hikers joined and it was officially morning.

I packed up and left camp around 7:45, enjoying the morning air. The grass was silvery with dew and sparkled in the morning rays. I was going to take this day easy as well.

Today was Clingman’s Dome day as well as mile 200 day. So much to celebrate! With a beautiful gauranteed, I didn’t have to beat any weather or race to catch a view; I had all day.

The trajectory for the day was generally uphill with only a few steep parts. Totally doable. I spent the morning hike looking at views through the trees, stopping every so often to admire the splendor that stood before me. Sometimes it was had to find a perfect view because of the trees, but that just made the ones I did catch all the more special. 

Before I knew it, I arrived at Silers Bald Shelter. A bunch of people who had left before me were there getting water and drying their tents out. Seeing that the water source required more effort than I wanted to give, I pushed on to the next shelter.

At Double Spring Gap Shelter, I just had to step off trail and put my water bag under the pipe to get water; perfect! I set up shop at the shelter, putting my wet tent and socks out to dry in the sun. A few minutes later, more hikers rolled in and we had a great time chatting over lunch. One hiker I had met the day before told me stories about her vanlife experiences while a section hiker listed all of the things he was going to do once he got off trail and back home that afternoon.

Getting back on trail, the climb to Clingman’s Dome was otherworldly. The vegetation on this secion was unlike anything I had seen on trail before. The forest was dark, damp, cool, and green, full of moss that covered every surface. The air smelled like Christmas, the pungent pine giving off a wonderfully rich scent. I loved every minute of that section.

The final push to Clingman’s was steep, but worth every second. The views and skies were clear in all directions. Because it was such a beautiful day, there were many tourists around, so I didn’t spend that much time up there, just enough to get some pictures.

On my final leg to Mt. Collins Shelter, I met Ridgerunner Andy. He was the first ridgerunner I had met and he was very nice and informative. The privy at the shelter was recently cleaned and he was willing to relay any issues I might have on trail to those who could fix them.

After saying goodbye, I started my descent and then final ascent to the shelter. Unfortunately, I had to walk an extra 0.5 miles off trail to the shelter, but it wasn’t too bad. Again, we were in a cool, uber mossy, green forest that looked like it was straight out of a story book. I set up my tent in a quiet area, did my camp chores, and said goodnight.


And that’s day 27.


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