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  1. #1

    Default Smokies in 3 Days?

    Wondering what the trail is like through the Smokies. Not elevation gain/loss, I can see that on the map. Wondering if the trail allows for fast miles that would allow for either Clingman's to Fontana or Newfound to I-40 in a long day? We usually do 2.5 mph when day hiking; can one make that pace in the Smokies if starting high and hiking downhill either direction?

  2. #2

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    New Found Gap to Davenport Gap : 32 miles. 2.5 MPH (steady, no breaks) = 12.8 hours. Realistically with breaks, 14-15 hours. Similar time for Fontana to New Found, but probably longer as the southern half has a lot more climbing then the northern half. That's a couple of really long days.
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    anything is possible depending upon your ability....

    and whether you take a flashlight or other light source.....

    but pretty much every trail in the Park, especially one like the AT, is easy to follow and beaten down......

    and just do the math on it-----each stretch is roughly 30 or so miles..............divide that by your hiking speed....

    and without stops, you're looking at least 12 hours to do it........

  4. #4

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    Thanks. Just a "what if?" at this point, might re-visit the idea next June around the solstice.

    Following Mercury's current FTK attempt, thought it was interesting that she got lost between Newfound and Davenport, Warren Doyle reported that she lost 2-3 hours wandering back and forth looking for a blaze. Assume it was in the dark, as she started hiking at Newfound at 2:20 am

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    Following Mercury's current FTK attempt, thought it was interesting that she got lost between Newfound and Davenport, Warren Doyle reported that she lost 2-3 hours wandering back and forth looking for a blaze. Assume it was in the dark, as she started hiking at Newfound at 2:20 am


    yeah....

    i didnt understand that either.......

    and it didnt say which exact part she was lost on.....

    some parts of both stretches are heavily traveled and it can be like a bike path (kinda wide)....

    plus it's fairly well blazed along both those sections....

    and all intersections have signs.......

    maybe the area around where the heli pad is at..............but even that should just be a straight shot across the field....

    she started at the gap at 2:20 am......

    sun is up around 6:30 am...

    lost for 2-3 hours.......

    if in the dark, that would have to be the first stretch leaving the gap-----which out to the bunion is heavily
    trafficked......

    i have too many questions about it and it started right after i read that post the other day....

  6. #6
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    Over the length of the AT through the park there is a variety of trail conditions. Some portions will be relatively smooth and cushy underfoot but some will be rocky and uneven. Northbound from Newfound Gap the trail is worn down to bare rock.

    In addition there had been a stand down on volunteer activity until just this week There may be blow downs that have not been cleared as well as heavy summer growth.

    Even though it is signed and blazed I have seen hikers continue straight onto the Boulevard Trail where the AT breaks to the right for northbound. Not the sort of thing you want to do if trying for a big mileage day.

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    Following Mercury's current FTK attempt, thought it was interesting that she got lost between Newfound and Davenport, Warren Doyle reported that she lost 2-3 hours wandering back and forth looking for a blaze. Assume it was in the dark, as she started hiking at Newfound at 2:20 am


    that area and around snake den ridge intersection would be my best guesses.....

    especially going on very little sleep over the course of hiking heavy miles....

    and getting on one of those two trails, would be the reason for not seeing a blaze.....

  8. #8

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    Maybe that's what happened to Mercury? Boulevard Trail intersection, that is.

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    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMR View Post
    Thanks. Just a "what if?" at this point, might re-visit the idea next June around the solstice.

    Following Mercury's current FTK attempt, thought it was interesting that she got lost between Newfound and Davenport, Warren Doyle reported that she lost 2-3 hours wandering back and forth looking for a blaze. Assume it was in the dark, as she started hiking at Newfound at 2:20 am
    Another possibility is that she did what I did once and took the right turn onto the Sweat Heifer Trail. My hiking partner was standing in front of the sigh and asked which way and I said go right mis-remembering that intersection comes before not after the Boulevard Trail. After hiking for several minutes with no blazes I realized what we had done. But since we considering doing a lolly pop loop to Charlies Bunion we continued onward.

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    You don't say why you want to do this, if it's only because of not wanting to stay overnight in a shelter area, there are alternatives but it will involve many more miles using access trails, however more miles more smiles and more days on trail it whats it all about.

    IIRC doing the AT this way you get some ridiculously short AT miles on a day or 3, but it doe break it down into much more manageable sized chunks.

  11. #11
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    You say you can see the elevation change but then coment on starting high and going downhill.

    That's not how the Smokies works. Yes there is about a 3,000' climb starting at either end when you enter the park. But once you've gotten past those initial few thousand feet of climbing, you still have thousands of feet up and down hiking the ridge. As a simple example, leaving New Found Gap heading NOBO, you start with a 1,000' climb.

    So doing something like hike from New Found Gap to Fontana and then New Found Gap to Davenport Gap only saves you about 3,000' of climbing out of maybe 12,000 of total cumulative climbing you do if you just went from Fontana to Davenport.

    Does anyone have a cumulative elevation gain hiking the AT thru the park?

  12. #12

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    Yep, see that.

  13. #13

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    I just finished GSMNP section in 2.3548 days. Iím doing a ĎStuck in Time FKTí going after WDís 66d 8h mark or as close as possible... what a coincidence that he and Mercury started day before I did. Iím right at 30 MPD and never felt better (all could change in an instant no doubt). Iím coming after them, although itís ĎRabbit and Tortoiseí here... will post update soon, at UJs in Erwin tonite

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by WMR View Post
    Maybe that's what happened to Mercury? Boulevard Trail intersection, that is.
    Dry Sluice Trail just after Charlies got a mile or 2 from me one year through there. As in i took the wrong turn off the AT, and it was during the middle of the day.

    I dont know why someone invested enough to do a FKT would not have a resource like guthooks, or really anyone hiking the trail for that matter. BUT, what do i know.
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    The AT runs 72.371 miles in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The cumulative climb from Fontana to Davenport Gap is about 20,000 feet (about 278 feet per mile)

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bmelee View Post
    The AT runs 72.371 miles in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The cumulative climb from Fontana to Davenport Gap is about 20,000 feet (about 278 feet per mile)
    How many days would that take SOBO?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longboysfan View Post
    How many days would that take SOBO?

    3 days........

    but rather depending upon one's speed...

  18. #18

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    Thank you.
    I see posted on my maps they allow for horses on some sections of the trail in the smokies.
    Does that halp with making the trail beaten down and a bit easier to walk?

  19. #19
    Leonidas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longboysfan View Post
    Thank you.
    I see posted on my maps they allow for horses on some sections of the trail in the smokies.
    Does that halp with making the trail beaten down and a bit easier to walk?
    No, it generally degrades the trail faster and you have to dodge their crap.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longboysfan View Post
    Thank you.
    I see posted on my maps they allow for horses on some sections of the trail in the smokies.
    Does that halp with making the trail beaten down and a bit easier to walk?
    Based on my personal experience hiking the smokies, the AT doesn't see many horses.
    Seems like the most common places to see horses are the main fishing creek trails accessible by horse trailer: Deep Creek, Big Creek, and Noland Creek. Other popular horse riding trails seem to be those between Cades Cove and Abrams Creek Ranger Station.

    But the AT sees enough hiker traffic to keep the trail beaten down... too beaten down is some places. New Found Gap to Charlies Bunion gets so much hiker traffic that parts of the trail are badly eroded and therefore difficult to walk.

    But overall, I would say the most difficult part of the GSMNP AT trail is simply all the ups and downs.

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