AT Thru-Hike Day 25

Tri-Corner Knob Shelter (5,887 feet), mile 223.4, to a cascade and tent stealth site, mile 240 for a 16 mile day. We ascended 2,851 feet and descended 2,953 feet.

This was our first 16 mile together, Kelly and I, and it was an eventful 16!!

Today is our 1 month anniversary of starting our hike. We woke to rain, and hiked in rain for a majority of the day. We learned today that our bodies were ready to make a jump up in mileage.

Kelly, packing up in the rain

You see, someone decided to sleep with their food instead of hanging it or putting it in a bear box, this may not always cause trouble, but at some point recently, it did, and all hikers are having to pay. Mile 231.0 sits the Cosby Knob Shelter, and on April 8, 2021 a bear ripped into someone’s tent trying to get to their food. When this happens in the Smoky Mountain National Park, the bear is usually trapped and relocated. I’m not certain as to the where abouts now of the bear that welcomed itself into a hikers tent, but, there is currently a decoy tent setup with a trail camera watching to see if any other bears show up to rip another tent open. Oh, and the shelter get shut down until there is no bear activity at the shelter.

The decoy tent seen in the distance on the left

So, we had to hike past the shelter to find shelter, and in the GSMNP, the only place to sleep, is a shelter. So, here is the math and our decision, it was 7.7 miles to the Cosby Knob Shelter, which, at this point, is too short of a day anyway, it was 6.1 miles to the next shelter, Davenport Gap Shelter. We knew if we went there, because of the closed shelter, Davenport shelter would be jam packed, our next option was another two miles to, what Guthook labeled as, “cascade and tenting”. We continued on, and came to a blue blaze trail that lead to Mt Cammerer fire tower, and by this time, we didn’t want to go the extra 1.2 miles, out and back to the tower, because in the distance was thunder, with rain in the forecast, and we still had 6.1 miles to go.

Move along, nothing to see here

The rain had started slacking off though so we took the time to dry our some gear and eat some lunch before pressing on.

As we continued on and the rain had let up still, we were able to enjoy some amazing views from a rock outcropping!


And just around the corner from this view was a super cool section of trail that was obviously built to impress the weary hiker, at least it impressed me! This beautiful rock wall supports the trail for several hundred feet and is bordered on the other side by boulders the size of a small car and a natural rock wall!

We continued down the trail and made another milestone, it was time for us to leave the Great Smoky Mountain National Park!! The AT treks 71.5 miles through the GSMNP and ascends and descends, 18,819.2 feet and 18,829.1 feet respectively! I’m tired just writing that!!

As we approached the shelter we knew that we were going to be cutting it close moving on but the weather seemed to be working in our favor. We looked at the radar and decided to press on to the cascade and tenting spot, I prayed hard and asked God to show us favor without rain to finish the evening, and save it for the night!

Passing the shelter, and pushing on, we approached Davenport Gap (2,000 feet) mile 238.9, deposited our “Thru-hiker permit” into the box and moved on!

1.1 miles left for the day, and we made it in to the, “cascade and tenting” site, which I imagined is sort of what The Garden of Eden looked like, we were surrounded by two streams and lots of greenery, and I imagine the only thing missing here was thousands of different types of flowers.

A tent site, next to a flowing stream, with cascading water, and the sounds that come from that, were my home for the night, it was my kitchen for the night and my dining room.

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