View Full Version : Observations on trip to Spence and Russell Fields

04-07-2006, 11:47
Hello everyone on the net:

I wanted to report that I just returned late last night from a short trip from Cades Cove Ranger Station to Spence Field via the AT to Russell Fields and back.

Note 1:

The NOBO's are out in force. I had the pleasure of meeting three of them at Spence Field on Wed night. And the ages are varied. On the way to Russell Fields Shelter yesterday I ran into 15 of them heading for Thunderhead Mtn and beyound. This group covered all ages and it was good to see so many making the journey. It was reported to me that Russell was full and that 9 tents were pitched in the front of the shelter Wed night. Rumor also has it that the body count of those who have dropped out is pretty good this early in the season.

Note 2:

The weather was starting to fall apart yesterday after such a perfect day on Wed. It started to rain yesterday several times on the way to Russell and when I got there at Noon the wind started to blow and the temp dropped from 60 to 53 in 15 min. I was able to see my breath in the shelter. The wind was blowing right into Russell Field Shelter. Because of this I decided to head back on home as my bag was not that good for colder temps.

Note 3.

Most of the NOBO's are trying to get over ThunderTop Mtn due to the pending storm that is moving in on them this afternoon. Many wanted to stay at Spence but many were telling me that they were going for Double Springs.

Note 4:

I saw a few of the NOBO's and they looked sick. Some had some bad hacking go on and one older gentleman had a broken rib after falling for the third time. He told me that he needed to be more careful on the downhills.

Note 5:

If you are a horse person then don't read this. The trail from Cades Cove to Russell Fields is blocked by a mother of a tree that has fallen on the Anthony Creek trail. You have to really work to get under it and no horse is going to make it. What I am trying to say is that there was little of no horse crap on the trail back to Cades Cove.

Note 6:

I hate to say this but the TP issue at Russell and Spence is out of control. What gets me is that with the Privy at Spence we should not be seeing TP all over the place. It was not a pretty site. As for Russell, it was pretty bad in the privy area. Of course it sits on the hillside but many are just taking a dump and throwing tp on the top and not even making the attempt to bury it. Come on people, even I can make a cat hole.

Note 7.

From Spence to Rusell the clothing and TP issue was there. I know that things happen but I was really shocked at what I was walking past on this trip.

Note 8.

Springs all over the place on the hike from Cades Cove to Bote Mtn to Spence. Water not an issue. The spring at Spence is flowing pretty good out of the pipe.

Note 9:

Spring at Russell is really flowing, the one under the tree and the other one past the tree as well. Water not an issue there either.

Note 10:

Most NOBO are not aware that Clingmans Dome is closed. Someone needs to get the word to them as they are all looking to see the sights from there.

Note 11:

I confirmed this morning on Whiteblaze the death of the backpacker at Mt. Collins. I had been told this several times yesterday on the trail and I am very sorry to hear this.

I took my digital camera with me on this trip so I have new pics if anyone is interested. I will post the new pics of Spence Field and the privy at Spence later tonight. If anyone is interested in my photos just drop me an IM until I can figure how to get them in one spot.

CaptChaos :D

04-07-2006, 12:56
nice report, thanks. Really sucks about all the tp being all over the place

04-09-2006, 14:32
nice report, thanks. Really sucks about all the tp being all over the place
I agree. I hate seeing that all over the place in the spring and summer.
I've only done spence to russel once (off season) and I had some bad experiences. I much prefered the trail around mollies ridge though.
At spence the night before, a horse packer got stuck up there with two horses (he was training one, I guess) because of the snow. I don't know what gear he had, but I didn't see any when I passed him the next morning. Anyways, he let the horses sleep in the shelter. There was mud, crap, and food everywhere. As beautiful as the area is, the high use makes it almost not worth it.