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  1. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post

    All in all for the highest elev most used trail in GSMNP the AT isn't all that jaw dropping scenic.

    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.

    Well, vistas arent the only scenery.
    The smokies are one of the most biodiverse places in the world.

    The dark boreal fir and spruce forests area like something out of a fairy tale.

    Theres as many yet undocumented species, as documented, or more.

    And the few views....are good ones.



    If someone doesnt appreciate gsmnp.....their reasons for hiking must be different from mine.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-18-2019 at 22:15.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Well, vistas arent the only scenery.
    The smokies are one of the most biodiverse places in the world.

    The dark boreal fir and spruce forests area like something out of a fairy tale.

    Theres as many yet undocumented species, as documented, or more.

    And the few views....are good ones.



    If someone doesnt appreciate gsmnp.....their reasons for hiking must be different from mine.
    yup.

    plus c'mon, what beats hearing a pack of pigs oinking from somewhere nearby in the woods as you hike by.

    the trail from NFG to mt cammerer is all gorgeous, even when theres no views. even on a foggy day. every step of it.

    i didnt have great weather south of NFG (or north of it really for half of it either) so i didnt see many views down there. but that section seemed more dependent on being able to see the view and have a nice day to enjoy it. i'm sure its great on a nice day, but the northern half is great on any day.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Well, vistas arent the only scenery.
    The smokies are one of the most biodiverse places in the world.

    The dark boreal fir and spruce forests area like something out of a fairy tale.

    Theres as many yet undocumented species, as documented, or more.

    And the few views....are good ones.



    If someone doesnt appreciate gsmnp.....their reasons for hiking must be different from mine.
    Exactly. So, do you assume experiencing that flora and fauna biodiversity is best served by sticking to the AT and the GSMNP AT shelter agenda through GSMNP? If one wants to experience a waterfall it isn't had sticking strictly to the AT as ATers through GSMNP are accustomed. And even those views are sometimes attained by manmade artifices structures like CD, C FT and NFG interesting manmade objects with history in their own right. Poll 300 AT NOBOers it would be rare to find 5 % that went off the AT to experience elk, natural history, geology, flora or fauna, or elk elsewhere. Where ATers through GSMNP go is to the fun house that is called Gatlinburg, a combination of Seaside Heights NJ, Las Vegas Nevada, and the southeast. I guess they go to G burg seeking the highly esteemed biodiversity that exists at the buffets and the great view atop the GBurg Observation Tower? Maybe they even get an Organic Cotton tee shirt out of it.

  4. #84
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    If you cannot stand mice, I'd suggest avoiding the entire AT. I've had a hole chewed in my tent several miles from any shelter.
    Sleep on the ground, rise with the sun and hike with the wind....

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    the popular Smokies campsites are overrun by mice as well. there's probably a mouse in your house somewhere.

  6. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashepabst View Post
    the popular Smokies campsites are overrun by mice as well. there's probably a mouse in your house somewhere.
    I had mice in my house til I got a cat, I know this because there are traps still set after many months.

    DO you guys really believe the OP is avoiding solely based on mice? It's gotta be more than that.

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    DO you guys really believe the OP is avoiding solely based on mice? It's gotta be more than that.



    no.....not solely.......

    OP wants to have more "freedom" than following the rules.............

  8. #88
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    Remember the mice live there

    You are just visiting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    no.....not solely.......

    OP wants to have more "freedom" than following the rules.............
    hes made more than one post about mice and lead with mice. only reason? probably not. seems to be on top of the list.

    if you want to avoid crowds it cant be that hard. is mid week in november really very crowded?

    its also kind of funny to talk about any national park backcountry as crowded. i'm in manhattan every day. 20 people at a shelter isnt "crowded" in the grand scheme of things.

  10. #90
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    If going NOBO, in the first 200 miles of your "epic hike" you are forced to register, pay and plan your trip through the park. While in the park you're required to abide by all rules and laws (understandably). For some this is an unwelcome governance that is not expected. Some set out seeking independence and a break from the societal beat down. It's a bit counterintuitive early in that big hike.

    I don't suggest shunning the rules. I'm a former Marine, fully aware of the importance of structure. As I prepped for my thru, all starry eyed and dreamy, I didn't envision a rigid set of rules as I walked the path of previous thru-hikers.

    I found the restrictions and overuse of the AT in the park to be very off-putting. I just love this topic because the only burr under my saddle from my hike was my first week of March in the GSMNP. It was awful. I'm sure others have had wonderful experiences.

    I prefer to be free when I do an LD hike. Unfortunately, I think that means avoiding the popular "ABC" trails. I'll be personally accountable on some lesser used trails.

  11. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by Durwood View Post
    I found the restrictions and overuse of the AT in the park to be very off-putting. I just love this topic because the only burr under my saddle from my hike was my first week of March in the GSMNP. It was awful. I'm sure others have had wonderful experiences.

    .
    Well, its not the park itself, its typical southern AT with a few twists.
    Its not the shelters, the whole At has shelters, and most thruhikers prefer them
    Getting the permit is simple and cheap, theyve made it incredibly so
    There really isnt any rules for thru hikers either, other than stay at shelters, in if not full. And get thru in a reasonable 7 days. Not a problem unless intend to take 3 days off in gatlinburg.


    So what could problem be?

    If your fellow thru hikers are the problem, just say it
    Too many people. Squeezing 18 into a shelter. For 12 ?

    But you can tent if dont like that
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-19-2019 at 13:12.

  12. #92
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    MW, have you experienced that section during spring break as the snow falls? Shelters are crammed with groups totally under prepared. If you grab a spot early in the afternoon and hunker down you are still bound to be pushed out as the crowd with reservations come in. Beyond that, look earlier in the thread to see TP blossoms and poor food storage, cooking practices etc. As the winter weather blows in people tend to freak out and take votes on moving forward. Feels like the game show "survivor".

    Not my kind of hiking. Each their own.

  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cleaner View Post
    If you cannot stand mice, I'd suggest avoiding the entire AT. I've had a hole chewed in my tent several miles from any shelter.
    You don't have to avoid the entire AT to avoid mice. Mice aren't rampaging everywhere on the AT. They congregate at areas where humans provide shelter and food - at AT shelters. Avoid AT shelters and beaten down dirty CS's and the mice "problem" practically 100% go away. It's humans that are the root cause of mice infestations on the AT. Mice are only doing what mice do. Think of mice on the AT being taken out of their natural instinctual patterns just like bears FROM HUMAN BEHAVIOR.

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    ... people breaking the rules will only lead to more rules.

    In this case, the park is already getting over burdened from legit AT thru hikers. I expect in about 5 to 10 years, the park is going to start limiting the number of AT thru permits issued. If illegitimate hikers add to the burden, rule changes will come faster and harsher.
    This is the direction it's headed.

  15. #95
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    if you want to avoid crowds it cant be that hard. is mid week in november really very crowded?


    hit or miss.....but generally no...

    ive had an AT shelter in the park to myself on a July 4th Saturday.....

    and some summer weekends with nobody else at shelter...

  16. #96
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    its also kind of funny to talk about any national park backcountry as crowded. i'm in manhattan every day.

    well....dang...

    was just up in nyc a few weekends ago.....

    went to the garden to see Billy Joel and then went out to Nassau to see KISS...

  17. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by Durwood View Post
    MW, have you experienced that section during spring break as the snow falls? Shelters are crammed with groups totally under prepared. If you grab a spot early in the afternoon and hunker down you are still bound to be pushed out as the crowd with reservations come in. Beyond that, look earlier in the thread to see TP blossoms and poor food storage, cooking practices etc. As the winter weather blows in people tend to freak out and take votes on moving forward. Feels like the game show "survivor".

    Not my kind of hiking. Each their own.
    yeah, in fact I stayed at a motel at Fontana instead of at the Hilton because the loud 30 people there just weren't my scene. Fun fact, those little motel rooms don't have heat their intended for summer use... It can be literally 32 in your room.

    Not really much different from anywhere else on trail that time of yr
    Except you cant claim shelter space if a thruhiker.

    Yeah gsmnp attract some unprepared people, but its not like the AT itself doesnt. How many in feb or mar in GA are really prepared? Trash, discarded gear, full privies, 70 people at shelters, nobody has a clue how to hang a bear bag, food and trash in fire rings. No way gsmnp is worse, yet no ones complaining about GA , just the four nights in gsmnp. Why didn't anybody say hell i'll skip Georgia?

    if I didn't know better, I think it might be all about the not being able to stay in the shelters if full.

    But my point is, it's really seems to be fellow hikers that are the problem..... The numbers. Of which the complainers are one as well.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-19-2019 at 16:11.

  18. #98
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    The funniest part about all of this is "everyone" states that they hate shelters. Then when the weather turns sour, "everyone" loves shelters. People love convenience, and a shelter is just that when the weather turns.
    AT: 471 mi

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  19. #99
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    In Georgia I can sneak off and stealth in the forest. Woe to the hiker that attempts this in the park. After all....that is against regulations. Again, the rules in the park (even if only 5-7 days) are more pronounced than most of the rest of the trail. It is jarring to some just beginning their hike. Education is key but it doesn't change the stark reality when you're at 5k ft with a gaggle of weekenders. It's a bottleneck, like it or not.

    I appreciate the smokies...love em. AT route during thru season is just not for me. The "suck it up" mentality does not fit my hiking style. I've sucked it up for long enough...now I choose to hike without the restrictions.

    Caveat**I fully understand the need for enforcement in such a heavily travelled area.

  20. #100

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    I have only been to the Smokies a couple times so far and always made a point to camp at a designated campsite that had no shelter because of the "shelter rules".Since I use a hammock I don't even own a suitable ground pad/air mattress.Here in Georgia,I always avoid the shelters and always will because of mice,hard floors,people with bad manners,and people who snore/party/you name it.

    I've got an overnighter planned this weekend with two other hammock campers that I enjoy hiking with but I will make a point to be far enough away from one of them who is best described as "an all night lumberjack"............

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