The Great Frozen Smoky Mountains
Going through this beautiful section of the A.T was a pleasure but will now forever be burned into my mind. It can be a fantastic hike but also this early in the season can be a very dangerous one. Snow storms, freezing temperatures with enough ice to slide down the entire mountain. Your in for a wild ride.
Snow Flurry At 5400 Ft
I knew Going through the smokies this early was a challenge, no where near expecting the outcome. To start, the climb up into the mountains is all ready difficult. When you get to the top you hover around 5000 ft in elevation through out the whole park. It was cold, around 40° when it starting snowing. The farther I climbed the harder the wind picked up. By the time I reached the summit, the storm had hit hard. Winds strong enough to blow you over, snow flying hard into your face with hardly any visabilty. It was quite the thrill for a Florida Cracker to hike through those conditions. Thus the day ended with no problem. Then came the rain.
Rain With 20° Temps
So after the snow storm came, quite a bit of rain followed. Being stuck at a shelter all day was enough to get me moving the next morning. The day goes on, stayed dry all day. Then slowly rolling in I could here thunder. With only 3 miles to the shelter, I started running. With the shelter in view the rain dumped on me with all its power. I was officially soaked for the first time. It wasn’t an issue until it hit about 20°. Everything froze. My clothes, boots, food and water. All completely frozen. Stayed frozen for 2 days. Only water I could get were from the bigger streams. Then came the winter wonder land.
The Great Frozen A.T
The trail was covered in snow, pushing 30°, awful wind with ice. Tons of thick hidden ice. Parts where the stream would come down the mountain would be one giant ice slide. I bet if you took a running start you could slide down to the gap. Very dangerous to hike in. Especially with frozen boots. With every step trying not fall. Big boulders. Steap cliffs. Slippery ice. No views. It was a rough day. After all the mayhem, everything changed.
The Sunny Side Of Life
The end of the frozen hell
Woke up to yet again, more frozen wonder land but luckily was my decent out of these mountains. The sky was clear. Finally able to see some amazing views. The ice was melting, warmed up quite a bit with a nice easy stroll out the park into Standing Bear Farm. A great hostel to resupply. Eat pizza and talk about the fabulous week we just had.
Overall, my time in the the Smoky Mountains has been one of the wildest week I’ve had on my journey so far. Quite possibly the craziest event in my life. I’m glad it’s over. Can’t wait to see what the trail has to offer next. Hot Springs, here I come!
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