This is my first posting to the trip report section but here goes. My dad and I did the 40 mile section from Newfound Gap to Fontana Dam about two years ago. That is the trip that got my into looking at BPL. Since then, I’ve dropped so much weight from my pack. This trip would total about 30 miles or so.
We started on Friday night by driving our car to Big Creek Ranger Station and getting a shuttle from Curtis from Standing Bear Farm. Awesome and funny guy. We got to Newfound Gap at 8:00 PM and hiked by headlamp to Icewater Spring Shelter. On the way I spotted a few salamanders.
When we arrived at the shelter, there were three guys already sleeping so we hung our food and settled in for bed.
We woke up before sunrise the next morning a witnessed the sun coming up that morning. It was beautiful and there is a great view from the shelter.
We also got to meet the Icewater Spring Peahen. I’ve never seen one of the birds in the park before.
Our next destination was Tricorner Knob Shelter, 12.6 miles away. We stopped at Charlie’s Bunion for some pictures and conversation. One guy was cooking eggs and sausage which smelled much better than the poptarts I ate that morning.
After that we hiked for a while with the sausage and egg man for about 6 miles. He was from Georgia I believe. We parted ways as he left the AT and we stopped to fill up out water bottles at a small spring. There were great vistas that could be seen at times when hiking along the ridge.
We arrived at Tricorner Knob shelter around 4:00 or 5:00 and shared the shelter with 5 other people. The spring was so close to the shelter and was very convenient. The privy was also a welcome sight (beware the swarming flies though). There wer also many butterflies around the shelter though.
After a restless night due to snoring sheltermates, we departed for Davenport Gap, 17 miles away. We had originally planned on staying at Cosby Knob, but arrived there at 1:00 PM and decided to push on the 10 miles to the end. On the decent to Cosby Knob Shelter, I turned my knee on some loose rock. I hiked the rest of the 10 miles on a very sore knee. We did get to see some wreckage from an F-4 jet that crashed in the Smokies in 1984.
We made a brief detour on the Mt. Cammerer Trail to go up to the old fire watch tower.
Views were great from the tower, but the haze and pollution limited the views greatly from what they normally would have been.
We finished our hike at Big Creek Ranger Station at 7:30 just as the sun was about gone. 2 years ago it took me 4 days to do 40 miles and now it took 2(if you don't count the late night start) to do 30. I used a Jam 2 backpack, homemade down quilt, Montbell UL 90 pad, and INOV 8 Flrocs.