View Full Version : Call GSMNP to determine start date???

01-23-2011, 20:09
Anybody amongst early March starters planning on letting snow depth in the Smokies determine their start date?

01-24-2011, 22:13
I plan on starting in early March, but the possibility of deep snow is holding me back a bit from nailing down a start date. What's the best way to find out the trail conditions and how much snow is down there?

Turtle Feet
01-25-2011, 01:00
My flight is booked, so I'm starting on the 13th of March no matter the snow conditions. If the snow levels are so deep (or blowdowns so bad) that the trail is impassable, I'll either hold up somewhere for a short time, or jump north (maybe into VA) and hike south to finish the Smokies. I'm totally flexible.

01-25-2011, 01:49
Maybe it's hubris on my part but i have never let snow dictate my travel. On the PCT there is a huge hoopla over the "best" day to enter the Sierra. On the CDT it was the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.
What I found, when confronted with deep snow, is to adapt my expectations of travel.
I had been doing mid to high 20 mile days until I reached the San Juans. The snow was up to 5 feet deep but crusted till about 1 PM most days. So I got up earlier, at first light, and travelled as far as i could until i began to posthole. When that happened i readjusted my definition of hiking pace. My days became 12 and 15 milers over 14 hours of solid hiking. I told myself to forget about how many miles I could have made and focus on a steady methodical pace.. even if it meant 100 yards an hour.
The snowfields always have an end. There is always someplace to camp. Even in places like the Rocky Mountains or the Sierra Nevada the snow itself is only an obstacle to our expectations.
If you prepare for the conditions, carry adequate gear and the skill to use it, and believe in yourself you can cross any snow covered mountain range.
It's not about bravado or challenging the wilderness.. the wilderness will always win that fight. It's about conquering ourselves; our fears, pride, preconceptions, limitations real or imagined.
I have never been to the Smokey Mountains. But I will approach them with the same respect I did the Sierra, Cascades, Floridas, Mangas, San Pedros, San Juans and Rockies.
Some of the best moments I ever had on a long trail occured on snowbound slopes.
Snow in the Smokies? I certainly hope so!