View Full Version : Truncated Trip to Hot Springs

Bruce Hudson
07-06-2008, 17:11
A month or so I got a lot of good information for my planned trip from Springer to Hot Springs. And other then the surprise/agony of the 600 steps getting out of Amicalola things went will until in infected index finger on my right hand forced me to abandon in Franklin at Wallace Gap. My finger looked like a walnut had grown on the end, and by the time into town it was a nasty yellow color. Here I am back in Raleigh two doc visits later and hoping to get back to Franklin this weekend. The goal would be to at least get through the Smokies, and I think I'm going to have to employ some shuttles.

My goal would be to get from Wallace Gap to I guess Newfound Gap (am I correct in thinking that clears the Smokies).

I was worried going meeting southbound hikers who suggested I needed reservations to get through the Smokies, and others said all I needed to do was register at Fontana Dam.

In general I'm looking for advice for hiking that stretch-- so include how to handle the Smokies-- as well as shuttle recommendations.

The finger's got a nice piece of floppy skin that has to heal, and from my experience I can recommend that apparently minor infections shouldn't be ignored. My Doc treated me like an idiot for letting it get that bad and hustled me down to x-ray with a concern of it infecting the bone in the finger.

Bruce Hudson

Two Speed
07-06-2008, 17:15
Coulda been worse, the finger mighta gotten truncated instead of the trip.

07-06-2008, 17:17
Well, it does take a lot of neglect to let such an abcess get going, but it happens. It sounds like you are lucky to have avoided an amputation or worse.

Newfound Gap gets you half way thru the Smokies. I suspect that you will still qualify as a "thru hiker" if you start near Wallace Gap and have 50 miles before you hit Fontana. At this part of the season, I doubt you are going to have to compete much for space as a thru-hiker. The southern half of the Smokies has lots of great views and is pretty accessible - lots of people. The northern half has some great stuff, very nice gradual ascents once out of Newfound Gap, and a long descent into Davenport Gap, but fewer people. There are very nice services and shuttles available there.

Good luck on your recovery and your return to the trail.

Just what did you do to get such a nasty infection going?

Bruce Hudson
07-06-2008, 18:34
It started out feeling like a hangnail-- I might have tried to bite it off unconsciously. The odd thing is I had an infection in the same spot that ended up taking care of itself last year on the trail.