April 14 - Newfound Gap (206.8)

Going to Newfound Gap to get a ride to Gatlinsburg, TN with the expectation we will stay there two nights, in part because I'm sick, also nasty weather is expected, and we haven't had a true zero in a while. Get up early and am on trail before sunup (640 AM) with Achin leaving around 7. Use my headlamp for first 20 minutes partly to see trail, but also to give warning to any critter. Trail has changed in the last three days in a couple noticeable ways. First, the trees are mostly pine (southern Balsam?) providing less views and a deeper, darker, quieter environment to walk through. Second, there are less drops in elevation after rises. So in Georgia we would rise to a peak, then lose most of that elevation in a following gap. Here we still lose elevation but it less pronounced and regaining that elevation is easier.

So we arrive at Newfound Gap settle in to wait for the NOC shuttle from Gatlinsburg, What is it with waiting for shuttles? It is COLD and WINDY. We watch tourists run around in shorts and take selfies and group shots of the freezing fog that descends on us. Shuttle shows up on time (9:40) but I am about 5 degrees from becoming an icicle.

Shuttle continues to Clingman's Dome and after dropping off some hikers, picks up more (including Purple Turtle, Professor, Hot Sauce, Good and Plenty, among others we've met) and we drive down to Gatlinsburg. Stay in the Days Inn which we find out after checking in has no laundry. This is important, dear reader, as we have been in the same clothes for a week. So we get some lunch (I eat a whole rack of ribs), then we investigate the nearest laundry; which is four miles away. We decide to walk up the hill to a hiker friendly motel and the owner is kind enough to let us do ours there.

Do you wonder what hikers watch when they finally find a TV? The Weather channel and the local news, for the weather.  We know or care little for what's going on in the World, but we have a pretty good idea what the forecast is for the next few days.

Talked to a Uncle Dan in Charlotte, and he's coming to join us for the day tomorrow, so we will have no problem getting to resupply. Plus we will get more time to tour this tourist (close to DollyWood) town. Also asked him to bring sling a bathroom scale to see how my weight is holding up.


  1. Hope the town visit is fun. Was the town named first or the gun?

    1. The gun is Gatling, and a Union weapon.

    Long Branch Shelter Open
    Construction of the Long Branch Shelter was recently completed by the Nantahala Hiking Club and is now open. It is about 2 miles north of Albert Mountain in the Nantahala National Forest. There are accessible eating shelves, accessible privy, and the site is laid out with interior trails at accessible grades. Cold Spring Shelter under construction
    The Cold Spring shelter, south of Wesser, NC, is closed while undergoing renovation by the Nantahala Hiking Club.

    Post Office Changes - Fontana Dam, North Carolina
    Reduced hours: M - F 11:45 am to 3:45 pm. This schedule reflects a change that was implemented during November 2012.


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