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  1. #1

    Default End of October Section Hike

    I'm looking at a section hike 4 to 8 days. NOBO.
    From Fontana Dam - which I just finished a one day segment to complete this section.
    Hurt ankle last year on the trail.
    Fontana to Route 40.
    Resupply in Gatlinberg - is the shuttle still running.
    How's water on this section?

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    When I lived about a 100 miles SE of Plano I went backpacking in Colorado. A day and a half drive would put me in the South San Juan Wilderness. Or a few more miles and I was in the Weminuche Wilderness.
    The Pecos Wilderness north of Santa Fe, NM is a few miles closer than the Colorado areas.
    October is still nice out there.
    Be safe and have fun.
    Wayne

  3. #3
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    I don't know if the shuttle is running.

    The weather and water can be good or very iffy. By late summer, the high altitude springs can be very low if winter rain hasn't kicked in. I've been in the Smokies before on October 1 - temps in 30s, wind howling at 40 mph, and rime ice forming on everything; and Super Storm Sandy hit in late October, bringing heavy snow that marooned backpackers. But usually the weather is lovely. As usual, you'll need to remain flexible until you start getting reliable forecasts. That time of year, the weather is highly dependent on frontal passage, and those are usually predictable, with warmer weather ahead and cooler, clear weather behind.

  4. #4

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    Wait - plans may change - hiking SOBO from route 40 to Fontana Dam.
    How many days in either direction would that be - 7 or 8?
    Gatlinberg resupply can it be done quickly?

  5. #5

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    I see that from Fontana Dam to Route 40 is 75 trail miles..
    Not counting the ups and downs...
    Elevations at each start point are about the same.

  6. #6
    Leonidas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longboysfan View Post
    Wait - plans may change - hiking SOBO from route 40 to Fontana Dam.
    How many days in either direction would that be - 7 or 8?
    Gatlinberg resupply can it be done quickly?
    The number of days depends on you. We did it NOBO in 3.5 I believe. As for the Gatlinburg resupply, that will depend on if you call someone to get you there and back or hitch. In a normal year, I would say the hitch down would be pretty easy, back isn't too bad from what I have heard either. But with the situation we are currently in, I wouldn't count on a hitch being a fast or reliable way to get to town and back.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

  7. #7

    Default

    Thank you - that looks like a pass on re-supply.
    Best to carry 5 days worth of supplies.
    From Fontana Dam to I40.

    Then hitch back to Fontana dam.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Longboysfan View Post
    Wait - plans may change - hiking SOBO from route 40 to Fontana Dam.
    How many days in either direction would that be - 7 or 8?
    Gatlinberg resupply can it be done quickly?
    Same amount of days either direction. I personally like hiking the park south to north. 7-8 seems long, I would say 4.5 days.

    I would not call a resupply into gburg quick. I would plan for .5 day to get this done.
    Trail Miles: 3,978.2 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 59.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 0.0

  9. #9

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    I've done the park in 5 days a couple of times. Actually 4.5 days as I stay at the Davenport shelter so I can swing by Standing Bear in the morning and keep going. But I had started at Springer and didn't have to worry about what shelters I could get reservations for, which is a big variable.

    Hitching from Davenport to Fontana? Good luck. The non-highway route is 98 miles and is a 2 hr. 45 min ride by car.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  10. #10
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Hitching from Davenport to anywhere at all in a good year would be difficult. There just isn't much car traffic at Davenport Gap. More so at the bridge crossing at

    the river if rafting is going on at the time.

    That will still be leaf season so there might possibly be day hikers going to Mt. Cammerer that you happen upon. Finding someone at random to give a ride to Fontana would be like winning the powerball lottery with a single ticket.

  11. #11

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    Thanks you - so it's carry 5 days of supplies.
    Are there bear hangs in place at the shelters along the way in the park?
    Easy to get water?

  12. #12
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    All of the shelters and backcountry sites in the park have a cable system for hanging packs and food except for Davenport Gap.

    Water is typically from a spring close to each shelter. Sometimes the springs can dry up So far those this season has been wet but October tends to be one of the dryer months.

    Shelter reservations tend to book up quickly, probably more so this year. The capacity has been cut in half but you are allowed to tent or hammock nearby.

    If you aren't familiar with the Smokies I would suggest you check out the parks website https://nps.gov/grsm.

  13. #13

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    When I went a few years ago there was a 50 year drought and I had to lug 6 liters of water in from Fontana. We stayed at the Molly Ridge shelter which was around 12 miles in. The first running water we had was at the end of the second day at Derek Knob shelter. The temperatures were nice in the fall. I would recommend Guthooks app and download that section. You should be able to see the water flow at most springs based on what people post as they go by. There may be a fair amount of flip floppers or some south bounders going through there that should give you some good updates.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  14. #14

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    Thank you both.
    So it's less things to carry - bear hanging rope and holder.

  15. #15

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    Keep an eye on weather as it gets closer. Snowstorm hit the last couple of days of October a few years back. The section between Davenport Gap and Charlie’s Bunion is some great hiking.

  16. #16
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    Great hike - Make reservations early! Lots of people in the park watching the leaves change. My favorite time of year to hike this section - I would plan my nights in shelters as far away from the roads as possible. Ice Water Spring shelter usually gets loaded with people on busy weekends.
    Have fun!

  17. #17

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    I thought you could only reserve two weeks out?
    My hike will be done during the week.

  18. #18
    Leonidas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longboysfan View Post
    I thought you could only reserve two weeks out?
    My hike will be done during the week.
    They changed it back to a month/30 days out last week.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

  19. #19

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    Thank you. I'll look today.

  20. #20
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Yeah, several changes were made for Labor Day weekend.
    Had a permit to stay at LeConte Shelter Saturday of Labor Day weekend. When I got the permit, only 6 spots were being issued {half capacity). But by Labor Day weekend, they had opened back country campsites to 30 day reservations and returned them to full capacity. When we arrived at the shelter (where we only expected 6 to say the night) there were already 6 packs hanging... and at least one other person arrived before we decided (for this and a few other reasons that involved things like honey and lighter fluid) we went ahead and hiked back down the mountain that same day.

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