The AT is has become so dry thru-hikers are starting to drop off the trail. Plagued by the driest spell anyone can remember, springs are drying up in locations that are usually reliable water sources.
Last week a friend hiked the section from Erwin, TN to Damascus, VA. He reported that the only water he found was between highway 19E north to Denis Cove Road. In this area he reported water was plentiful. However, from Watauga Dam north to Damascus the only water was from Trail Angels.
I hiked part of the Iron Mountain Trail and AT north of Damascus last weekend and while it was dry most springs were still running. At Saunders Shelter the flow was about ½ the diameter of a pencil. Additional water was available from the streams running along the Virginia Creeper Trail. At Sandy Flats Shelter (on Iron Mountain Trail) the flow was a little stronger but not much.
A got a call from a couple of friends hiking on the AT just north of Hot Springs, NC. On the hiked from Allen Gap to Hot Springs yesterday and the first water they found was the French Broad River (which is not so broad anymore). They spent the night at Elmer’s and were advised that the trail is pretty much dry all the way to Standing Bear Farm.
Pray for rain!