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View Full Version : No Water between Fontana Dam & Derrick Knob in the Smokies



-Rush-
10-12-2016, 13:16
I've heard multiple reports that there's no water during this stretch. My plans are set in stone. It's a 22 mile hike, and I'm prepared to do that, but I wanted to see if anyone has any creative ideas outside of lugging a ton of water?

PennyPincher
10-12-2016, 13:35
carry less water and power through the whole 22 in one shot?

-Rush-
10-12-2016, 14:02
It's a rough 22 mile stretch without trail legs. I'd be more comfortable with a 15 mile day. I'll probably end up lugging water to Mollie's Ridge/Russell/Spence (hoping to find a flow) and/or rationing from there to Derrick Knob.

Tipi Walter
10-12-2016, 14:46
Carrying a heavier water load goes with backpacking in most places in the Southeast during this drought.

-Rush-
10-12-2016, 15:05
Carrying a heavier water load goes with backpacking in most places in the Southeast during this drought.

You're absolutely correct. I guess I was hoping to find out about a new hydration pill that replaced a liter of water with a 1oz capsule. :D

My plan is to camel up a liter or more before I leave. I can make it to Mollie's Ridge on 2 liters or less, but there was supposed to be a small source at Spence, so that might be a better destination. Either way, I'll eat light with no cooking at camp. I'll then have two liters to Derrick Knob with hope that I run across a source somewhere in between.

Dogwood
10-12-2016, 15:20
If you can first night at Spence there's water down at Eagle Creek. Under current conditions I personally would do the 15 mile haul from Fontana to Spence if I was infatuated with an AT only scenario. If I wasn't infatuated with the AT, which I'm not in GSMNP, I'd opt for Eagle Creek out of Fontana(Lakeshore or AT to Lost Cove to Eagle Creek). Sometimes there's H20 at a small stream near CS 91 that crosses Lost Cove between Eagle and the AT. I'd leave from Spence with based on current drought conditions on the ridges to get to Silers and Double Spring.

Tipi Walter
10-12-2016, 15:21
What is sad is there are probably dozens of water sources we don't know about off the trail and down a hillside but it takes too much energy and time to bushwack, explore and find. And many dry sources are running if you go down the mountain far enough, but who wants to look and who wants to climb back up? My buddy Patman went on a water run last year and when he got back his pack was gone, eaten by a black bear.

Dogwood
10-12-2016, 15:36
What is sad is there are probably dozens of water sources we don't know about off the trail and down a hillside but it takes too much energy and time to bushwack, explore and find. And many dry sources are running if you go down the mountain far enough, but who wants to look and who wants to climb back up? My buddy Patman went on a water run last year and when he got back his pack was gone, eaten by a black bear.

Absolutely! By having a map, knowing how to read it, knowing where water begins congregating, and a willingness to wisely cede elevation and efficiently regain it in various likely drainages there is water right now probably less than 1/2 mile off the AT between Derricks Knob and Fontana baselining from the AT.

-Rush-
10-12-2016, 15:41
If you can first night at Spence there's water down at Eagle Creek. Under current conditions I personally would do the 15 mile haul from Fontana to Spence if I was infatuated with an AT only scenario. If I wasn't infatuated with the AT, which I'm not in GSMNP, I'd opt for Eagle Creek out of Fontana(Lakeshore or AT to Lost Cove to Eagle Creek). Sometimes there's H20 at a small stream near CS 91 that crosses Lost Cove between Eagle and the AT. I'd leave from Spence with based on current drought conditions on the ridges to get to Silers and Double Spring.

Anyone have any current info on the spring at Spence? I heard there's also a piped spring about .1 down the Bote Trail just up from the AT.

theoilman
10-12-2016, 15:55
I was there 2 weeks ago. Spence had a small puddle you could dip from, though with no rain for the last two weeks, that is likely dry or you have to go downhill a ways to find any. I heard Russell had water if you went far enough down the hill, I did not venture to find it. Derrick pipe was running great. From Derrick to Newfound Gap all had water.

-Rush-
10-18-2016, 00:24
I was there 2 weeks ago. Spence had a small puddle you could dip from, though with no rain for the last two weeks, that is likely dry or you have to go downhill a ways to find any. I heard Russell had water if you went far enough down the hill, I did not venture to find it. Derrick pipe was running great. From Derrick to Newfound Gap all had water.

Thanks for the update!

slbirdnerd
10-18-2016, 13:41
How did you fare, Rush?

Berserker
10-19-2016, 09:57
So does anyone have an update on this? Does this mean Mollies Ridge, Russell Field and Spence Field are all dry and there's nothing in between?

-Rush-
10-26-2016, 09:26
I started on 10/19 and exited on 10/26

Ekaneetlee Gap - Small puddle/flow about .2 down
Mollies Ridge - Dry
Russell Field - Follow about .2 down past the marked source to the cairns and make a left. Nice pool of clear water.
Spence Field - Possibly something down the side of the mountain a ways
Derrick Knob - Good flows
Silers Bald - Heard it was dry (but maybe something after that storm I got caught in)
Double Spring - Dry (but maybe something after that storm I got caught in)
Mount Collins - Good
Boulevard Trail - Waterfall flow/pool about 2 miles in
Icewater Spring - Good
Pecks' Corner - Dry
Tricorner - Small flow
Cosby Knob - Small flow
Davenport Gap - No clue

The source at Ekaneetlee Gap wasn't great, but I'd use it to avoid carrying an extra 2 liters up.
Most people were loading up at Icewater Spring to head towards Pecks/Tricorner.

gollwoods
10-28-2016, 04:09
There could be water at a second spring near where Jenkins ridge trail heads south from Spence. The spring and former shelter are some ways straight south from junction so it is s bushwhack I'd guess.

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