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Great Smoky Mountains Trip 1, NC

Oct 10 - Oct 17, 2021 -- $1300 ★★, Only 1 Spot Left


Even if you have been on one of our Fatpacking trips through the Smokies before, you will want to join us again for a somewhat different route that promises to be awe inspiring (as well as all perspiring). The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in the country, yet despite its popularity and proximity to major population centers, our trek will provide plenty of solitude from the crowds during Fall Foliage Season.


Beginning and ending at Smokemont Frontcountry Campground, we will head up to the Appalachian Trail and spend 2 nights in AT Shelters. Prior to the advent of the AT, noted author and early Smokies explorer Horace Kephart described the Sawteeth on the AT as "the most rugged and difficult part of the Smokies and of the United States east of Colorado". Since then, the trail has smoothed out some of that ruggedness, but the Sawteeth still provide hikers with some of the finest views to be had.


The particular stretch of the AT we'll be traversing hides an old manway to the former False Gap shelter in between Ice Water Springs and Pecks Corner. If we have the time (and desire) we may take a 300 meter detour to the remains of the shelter and the spring below. Eventually, we will head back down towards Smokemont on some of the park's less-traveled trails.


The park also features an abundance of wildlife including deer, elk, wild boar, black bears and even red wolves. This trip is a good sampling ofthe Smokies: wilderness, virgin forest, vistas, the Appalachian Trail, wildlife and rustic shelters.


Fall is a great time to be in the Smokies as weather is still temperate, bugs subside and a panoply of colors begin to reveal themselves in the foliage. Isn't this a great time to join us?



Weather

Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 60s and 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s and 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures as high as 90 and as low as 30, with an occasional chance of rainfall and on rare occasion, snowfall. Here is the historical October weather Be prepared for cold temps at high elevation (we had snow one year) as well as warm sunny weather or rain.



Probable Trip Leaders

Bruce Cannon
Elisabeth Castleman


Cost

$1300 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. For this particular trip: Because of high-season room pricing, a single supplement (solo room) will be $125 for the front end of the trip and $200 at the end. So if you'd like 2 solo rooms the cost will be $325.


You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Asheville Airport (AVL), as well as personal equipment restaurant meals and any gratuities for guides. You may also be charged for any parking charges for leaving your car at the hotel all week (probably none, but they sometimes charge for this).


Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation between Asheville, NC and the National Park, park permits, campsite fees and awesome guides.



Note

This is the 1st of 2 Fatpacking trips to the Great Smoky Mountains in 2021. Here is a link to the later trip.


Our route crosses creeks and streams several times. There are usually bridges, but there may be a few water crossings without them. Be prepared to wear water shoes and use trekking poles to walk through water (generally ankle deep but sometimes knee deep) in order to cross these waterways.


While all Fatpacking trips are difficult, this one might be considered somewhat more attainable than others because of relatively gradual elevation changes and solid footing, even if mileages are a little longer.


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Packing List
Itinerary
Weather
Guides for this trip
Cost
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
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Itinerary


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Drive or fly into Asheville Airport (AVL). The best time to arrive is between around Noon-3PM. However, if you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving a few hours earlier or later, then do so especially because flights to Asheville may be limited.


Take the free airport shuttle to local hotel Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Arden - Asheville Airport, 9 Brian Boulevard, Arden, NC, 28704, 828-684-6000


Equipment shakedown. We go through all the items in your pack to make sure you are prepare for the trail


Trail mix distribution, pending Covid


Go to Diamond Brand Outdoor Shop, 2623 Hendersonville Rd. • Arden, NC 28704 • 800-459-6262 • info@diamondbrand.com for last minute equipment if necessary


"Before" measurements taken


Body temperature taken to assess Covid risk


Go out for dinner at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)



Monday, October 11, 2021

Second set of "before" measurements taken


Second body temperature taken to assess Covid risk


All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in a storage unit.


Free Hotel Breakfast


Check out of hotel


Shuttle to Smokemont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, elevation 2200'.


Hike 4.0 gently graded miles on the Bradley Fork Trail (an old railroad bed) alongside the Bradley Fork of the Oconoluftee River to the Cabin Flats Trail


Hike 0.9 m. on the Cabin Flats Trail through virgin timber to Cabin Flats, elevation 3060'


Camp at Cabin Flats campsite #49, elevation 3060'


Total miles today = 4.9. Total miles = 4.9


Possible Bailout: Smokemont.



Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Hike 0.9 miles on the Cabin Flats Trail to the Dry Sluice Gap Trail


Climb steadily for 3.0 miles on the Dry Sluice Gap Trail to Grassy Branch Trail


Descend 2.5 miles on the Grassy Branch Trail to the Kephart Shelter


Camp at the Kephart Shelter, elevation 3600'


Total miles today = 6.4. Total miles = 11.3


Possible Bailout: Smokemont (but it's not that close)



Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Climb steadily 3.7 miles on the Sweat Heifer Trail past a very nice cascade to the Appalachian Trail.


Hike 1.3 miles on the AT to the Ice Water Springs shelter


Camp at the Icewater Spring Shelter, elevation 5900'


Miles today = 5.0. Total miles = 16.3


Possible Bailout: Newfound Gap



Thursday, October 14, 2021

Hike 7.5 undulating miles past Charlie's Bunion and the Saw Teeth of the AT to Peck's Corner and the Hughes Ridge Trail.


Enjoy some of the best views the Smokies has to offer along the way


Descend 0.4 miles on the Hughes Ridge Trail to the Pecks Corner shelter.


Camp at Pecks Corner Shelter, elevation 5480'


Total miles today = 7.9. Total miles = 24.2


Possible Bailout: Newfound Gap



Friday, October 15, 2021

Descend 4.6 miles on the Hughes Ridge Trail to the Chasteen Creek Trail


Descend 1.7 miles on the Chasteen Creek Trail to the Upper Chasteen Creek campsite


Camp at campsite 48, Chasteen Creek, elevation 3400'


Miles today = 6.3. Total miles = 30.5


Possible Bailout: One day away



Saturday, October 16, 2021

Descend 2.3 miles past the Chasteen Creek Cascade to the Bradley Fork Trail


Turn left and stroll 1.8 gentle miles on the Bradley Fork Trail to the Smokemont Campground, elevation 2200'


End of hiking


Miles today = 4.1. Total miles = 34.6


Shuttle back to Asheville Hotel Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Arden - Asheville Airport, 9 Brian Boulevard, Arden, NC, 28704, 828-684-6000


After measurements taken


Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price)


This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Free hotel breakfast

Take the free airport shuttle


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