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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    I think it is pretty extreme to skip the AT through the GSMNP because you don't want to sleep in a shelter.
    What about minimizing impact and to avoid crowds? Is that a sufficient reason to skip the GSMNP-AT (or follow an alternate route--BMT--)
    Is this extreme too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmercury View Post
    What about minimizing impact and to avoid crowds? Is that a sufficient reason to skip the GSMNP-AT (or follow an alternate route--BMT--)
    Is this extreme too?
    minimizing impact is a fine reason to not go somewhere you'd otherwise like to go, because its crowded? i suppose thats better than "i dont like mice crap in my hair" but not by much.

    this is the key- it being somewhere you otherwise want to go. "i'd really like to go to (insert any location activity) but i wont because of (insert any sort of minor inconvenience or annoyance that is commonly found everywhere)" is always, IMO, an unreasonable position.

    i hate flying long distances. not because i'm afraid of planes, but because its uncomfortable and irritating to me to be on a plane for 6 hours.

    so should i never leave the country? if i sat and talked about how much i'd love to see australia and then concluded with "but no, the flight is just too long" would that be a reasonable position? i dont think so.

    this is no different.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https...gseMAhn-nHciiE

    Saw this in the ATC facebook page yesterday. GSMNP hike on the AT one of the 25 best hikes in the world.
    Quotes from the Article:
    Of the Appalachian Trail's 2,200 miles, there's something extra magical about the 72-mile section through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
    There are, however, 12 comfortable backcountry shelters, all which sleep at least a dozen.

  4. #64

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    Disagree
    I've already been on the AT ridge through the Smokies. It's no longer someplace I'd "otherwise like to go",
    If I thru-hike in the future, I'm taking the BMT route. If I make it to Maine, nobody will take my thru-hike away from me, I don't care what y'all think. I will not die without a certificate.
    Mouse poop in hair is way worse than being in a crowd, not just slightly!

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmercury View Post
    Disagree
    I've already been on the AT ridge through the Smokies. It's no longer someplace I'd "otherwise like to go",
    If I thru-hike in the future, I'm taking the BMT route. If I make it to Maine, nobody will take my thru-hike away from me, I don't care what y'all think. I will not die without a certificate.
    Mouse poop in hair is way worse than being in a crowd, not just slightly!
    if it is not somewhere you'd otherwise like to go then no argument, don't go there.

    but if you would gladly and happily hike it but you won't because of the rules or because it is too crowded then thats your loss and i think its a kind of a sad way to exist.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    In 1977 I hiked from Springer to Roan Mt. I had to stop in Fontana and get a permit for the GSMNP from the ranger. He told me where I would be staying each night. So in my opinion the rules in the park have evolved in favor of the "thru hiker". The AT thru the GSMNP is a totally different experience than the BMT thru the park. I think it is pretty extreme to skip the AT through the GSMNP because you don't want to sleep in a shelter. There seems to be a vocal minority of shelter haters on this site. I prefer to tent but do use a shelter on occasion. I think the AT shelter is as iconic as the white blaze. There was (and still might be) a shelter as an exhibit in the AT museum.
    Never implied one couldn't do some of the AT through GSMNP. To reiterate, I said don't limit yourself to it.


    Have more then 800 miles in GSMNP with many miles repeated. Some of the least favorite miles are on the AT between Fontana and Newfound Gap. The route I suggested gets you Shuckstack, Clingmans and Newfound Gap and cuts off the rest of the BS while providing greater flexibility of logistics, far fewer crowds, more scenery, some solitude, and overall a scenically richer hike between Fontana and NFG. In a NY minute I'd opt in for the Eagle Crk or Hazel Crk Tr verse the AT.

    All in all for the highest elev most used trail in GSMNP the AT isn't all that jaw dropping scenic. If you didn't get above the tree tops at Clingmans, Cammerer, and take Charlie Bunion and the Jump Off, the main scenic AT highlight through GSMNP is NFG. You dont get many views on the ground. What you get is a lot, a real lot of people, who are having their hikes agenda dictated. AT Sheeple. So much for all the HYOH yakkity yak. Get the GSMNP AT highlights and avoid the backwash of the AT shelters which are some of the most beaten down CS's in GSMNP.

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    the main scenic AT highlight through GSMNP is NFG.


    i would also add in the stretch after double springs shelter to the dome-----riding that ridge gives views in both directions.....

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    Of the Appalachian Trail's 2,200 miles, there's something extra magical about the 72-mile section through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


    Strongly disagree. Those 72 miles mile for mile are not any more magical thanmany other 70-90 mile GSMNP hikes. What's so magical about those particularly 72 miles? Some will pt to those AT GSMNP highlights I
    mentioned. Those can all be had by incorporating the AT into an 80 mile hike but not limiting yourself to the AT. When I compare the AT's GSMNP miles to miles elsewhere in GSMNP, or with SOME AT miles included on a hike, I find greater magic in more wildlife diversity more often behaving with their natural instinctual patterns, flexibility of CS's, more solitude, more endangeredand rareflora, history and scenic diversity and less people.


    You're not going to see an elk or catch a fish on the AT in GSMNP. Probably no longer going to see a a bed of 60-120 lady slipper orchids. What you'll see most on the AT in GSMNP are human animals and the questionable impacts those animals can have on a larger ecosystem.



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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    i would also add in the stretch after double springs shelter to the dome-----riding that ridge gives views in both directions.....
    Yeah they are going to place colored twinkle lights on both sides of the ridge so no one falls off.

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    if it is not somewhere you'd otherwise like to go then no argument, don't go there.
    but if you would gladly and happily hike it but you won't because of the rules or because it is too crowded then thats your loss and i think its a kind of a sad way to exist.
    Those are just factors in the decision (crowds, rules). Very legitimate ones, more important for some. There are so many great places to visit and enjoy... might as well take the routes that you get the most enjoyment out of.
    I've made the decision multiple times to take a quieter path, and it was often an outstanding decision for me. Not to say I haven't done and enjoyed crowded hikes too

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    the main scenic AT highlight through GSMNP is NFG.
    I would disagree... while it's true that even along the AT rigde line, you spend most of your time in the "Green Tunnel", there are several scenic spots along most of the AT:
    Shuckstack Fire Tower, Rocky Top (and the near-by balds), Silers Bald, parts of Double Springs to Clingman's Dome (like TNHiker said), Clingman's Dome, the JumpOff, Charlies Bunion (several spots here), Mt Cammerer, and numerous spots where the trees open up to a view all along the way.

  12. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    I would disagree... while it's true that even along the AT rigde line, you spend most of your time in the "Green Tunnel", there are several scenic spots along most of the AT:
    Shuckstack Fire Tower, Rocky Top (and the near-by balds), Silers Bald, parts of Double Springs to Clingman's Dome (like TNHiker said), Clingman's Dome, the JumpOff, Charlies Bunion (several spots here), Mt Cammerer, and numerous spots where the trees open up to a view all along the way.
    Rocky Top was great, and we were blessed to see/hear two Diamondbacks near there.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmercury View Post
    What about minimizing impact and to avoid crowds? Is that a sufficient reason to skip the GSMNP-AT (or follow an alternate route--BMT--)
    Is this extreme too?
    The OP never mentioned minimizing impact and avoiding crowds as a reason to skip the park. I think skipping the GSMNP because one doesn't like sleeping in shelters is an extreme position to take. Especially if you are section hiking with the goal of doing the entire AT and you have never hiked the AT thru the GSMNP.
    More walking, less talking.

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    The AT thru the GSMNP is not close to the top of the list of sections of the AT I would hike again, but in the GSMNP I prefer the AT over the BMT as far as scenery goes. I don't see thru hikers en masse ever embracing the BMT as an alternative to the AT from Springer to Davenport Gap unless thing change dramatically along the BMT. The infrastructure along the BMT is almost non-existent compared to the AT. AT "thru hikers" today expect trail magic at every road crossing in GA and NC. How many hostels along the AT from Springer to Davenport Gap? How many on the BMT?
    More walking, less talking.

  15. #75

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    a hiker feed is not trail magic. we aren't talking about BMT south of Fontana, so that doesn't apply.

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    Wherever the ATC advises thru hikers to go, that's where they will go. If an alternative through GSMNP is suggested in the interest of impact or otherwise, hikers will follow that suggestion. After all, cant have that golden certificate if you deviate from the prescribed trail. Were that to happen, infrastructure would build up around it (on either end of the park).

    Just look at Superfund, private cow pastures and cornfields to see that the herd will hike where they are told. Walk the trail in SNP parallel to Skyline Dr, witness the swaths of forest laid down so tourists get a good view from the overlooks.

    Point being: this trail can be manipulated 100 different ways to accommodate the increasing numbers impacting it annually. The route through GSMNP doesn't have to be burdensome on the park OR the hikers....there are alternatives.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durwood View Post
    Wherever the ATC advises thru hikers to go, that's where they will go. If an alternative through GSMNP is suggested in the interest of impact or otherwise, hikers will follow that suggestion. After all, cant have that golden certificate if you deviate from the prescribed trail.
    The AT isn't going to get rerouted to the BMT thru GSMNP. Effectively, GSMNP isn't going to allow it because campsites along the BMT don't have the capacity that the AT ridge line has.
    The ATC might officially recognize the BMT as a valid alternate route thru GSMNP, but that alone will move almost NONE of the thru hikers to the BMT because it's more difficult:
    1. There's more cumulative elevation change
    2. Permits are much more difficult.

    The only way I start seeing any significant traffic getting moved to the BMT thru GSMNP is if the ATC starts recognizing the BMT thru GSMNP is a valid alternative, and GSMNP creates a BMT Thru permit similar to the AT Thru permit, AND GSMNP puts limits on AT/BMT Thru permits (i.e. when all the AT Thru permits have been issues, people will start using the available BMT Thru permits).

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    So we are back to where we began: follow the rules of an extremely overloaded system or skip it. Options still exist depending on one's ability to circumnavigate the AT.

    Pooping on BMT alternatives because of "permitting" is precisely what I hope we can get away from. More difficult?? I don't believe thru hikers would be intimidated, they go where the blazes tell them to go. Baa-baa.

    Seriously, we (thru's) will take whatever route the conservancy puts us on. If it requires accommodation outside the norm...let's change that. I love GSMNP, hated the restrictions as I came through on an end to end.

    I believe in rules and order....but I don't like to be confined on my "once in a lifetime, epic hike".

  19. #79
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    i wasn't suggesting breaking them.
    4. Discussions involving how to commit illegal acts ... are forbidden.
    Did you discuss how one might get away with breaking the rules?
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    I would disagree... while it's true that even along the AT rigde line, you spend most of your time in the "Green Tunnel", there are several scenic spots along most of the AT:
    Shuckstack Fire Tower, Rocky Top (and the near-by balds), Silers Bald, parts of Double Springs to Clingman's Dome (like TNHiker said), Clingman's Dome, the JumpOff, Charlies Bunion (several spots here), Mt Cammerer, and numerous spots where the trees open up to a view all along the way.
    You're taking a snippet out of context of what I said. Don't mind disagreement but make a better effort understanding what I said before doing it.


    Take my AT comments in context of their entirety. I just said this a few posts earlier:


    To reiterate, again, I said don't limit yourself to it(the AT).

    All in all for the highest elev most used trail in GSMNP the AT isn't all that jaw dropping scenic. If you didn't get above the tree tops at Clingmans, Cammerer, and take Charlie Bunion and the Jump Off, the main scenic AT highlight through GSMNP is NFG.


    What's so magical about those particularly 72 miles? Some will pt to those AT GSMNP highlights I mentioned. Those can all be had by incorporating the AT into an 80 mile hike but not limiting yourself to the AT.

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