March 23, 1998

3/23/98 Derrick Knob Shelter

11.4 miles (185.6 total)

The trees were heavy with snow & ice

Yesterday, Mountain Man and I finally got a late start. We didn’t hit the trail until after 11. It was still cool and a little damp as we walked into the park. Almost immediately, we noticed a fine dusting of snow. As we got higher, the snow got deeper. I imagine two to three inches. We passed a few guys on their spring break coming down. The sun was out which was good and bad. It was beautiful scenery but as it got warmer, a lot of snow and ice would fall. And the trail was muddy a lot. We made it to Mollies Ridge Shelter by 4:30. We stayed with a father and his two sons (who were poster children for "cotton kills"). Much later Pufferbelly & Granny showed up. It was a chilly night in the shelter.

The SMNP shelters were made of stone with the fourth wall
made of chain link fence to keep out the bears

Pretty much overcast all day with a few snow flurries. It was hard to keep a good pace in the snow. Plus, several places with good views just didn’t show us anything. We arrived at the shelter to find Soulmates and Bevo already in residence. As we cooked dinner, the snow really started coming down. I hope to get to Gatlinburg by Wednesday but hiking could be real hard if it gets any deeper.

Those are 'mousers' attached to the rafters to hang food bags
Hikers futile attempt to keep the mice out of our precious food