Winter Appalachian Trail Thru Hike – Day 8 (23 miles)

Up into the Smokies I headed.

I barely managed to pack up and get to the toilet block in time this morning. After that it was a mile or so road walk from the shelter over Fontana Dam and into the Smokies NP. This also began a 8,000ft (3km) vertical climb up including 4 peaks along the way.

The day was rather good. I climbed out of a layer of cloud sitting on the valley floor and for the rest of the day was treated to some great views of the dam below.

It was actually quite a tough day physically with some fairly steep climbs and also some rocky terrain.

I stopped at the first shelter for my morning break. It was out of the frigid wind and so much more pleasant.

I only was going for an hour or so when I ran into a guy at the next shelter. I ended up taking to him for about an hour. He was getting close to his 4400 mile AT YO-YO and had some interesting stories to tell.

It was only a couple of hours until I arrived at the shelter I will be staying at. The parks requirement of staying in a shelter is rather frustrating as the is still a couple of hours of daylight left to walk. However, on this occasion, with a large and very cold storm predicted to hit tonight, I was happy to call it an early day.

There was a couple also staying at the shelter and when I walked in they were just getting a fire going. It seems I arrived at the perfect time!

It ended up being a fantastic night hanging out with them both (@gypsy_jenns) . Nothing special, just listening to music around the fire and taking. I was just listening to some great stories of theirs from hikes in Nepal and South America.

Just after dark the wind picked up and snow was falling! Tomorrow will be a white Christmas!

It was 10 or 11 before I finally went to bed, well past my normal bed time. It is going to be a cold night with the temp predicted to be in the teens (-10C).

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Comments 3

  • Kamakazee : Dec 27th

    I really like these posts as they are strait forward about hiking, trail conditions and sights to be seen. You don’t get all the BS about life changing karma, out of body experiences, or abusive life histories as you tend to read about from many other hikers. Good luck and happy trails.

    • Andrew Sherry : Dec 27th

      I’m saving that stuff for my best selling book!

  • Justin : Dec 28th

    Good stuff man…agree with the guy above, love hearing about the trail/weather conditions, etc. Keep at it sir and best of luck!


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