April 5, 1998

4/5/98 Hobgack Ridge Shelter

14.7 miles (311.5 total)

Roam ice on the trees lining the trail

EWOS is 29! We woke up to ice-covered wonderland. All of the trees are covered with ice and frost. The thermometer at the shelter reads 30-degrees when we leave. The scenery was just amazing. I kept stopping to admire. But just as Ghandi predicted (he now has a radio and the weather), the sun came out and the temperature started rising.

Before long it was raining melting ice and the wind would send ice chunks down on us as the branches moved. The trail was very confusing, twisting on itself and following several old roads. Several thru-hikers admitted getting lost. The trail passed by several AT Thru-hiker graves plus a nice clearing with the graves of three Confederate soldiers ambushed as they tried to get home.

By the time we reached Flint Mountain Shelter it was hot. EWOS and I stopped to strip down to shorts and dry out some of our gear. Along the way we crossed paths with a bunch of day hikers. First, I met Louisiana Lou, a trail maintainer I’d met my first day in the Smokies. Then a group of Boy Scouts out for the weekend. I’m sure as the weather gets nicer, we’re going to see a lot more weekenders. Glad I have my tent.

EWOS and I lay out all our wet clothing

Hiked a very long day, so my feet tell me, as I arrived at Hogback Ridge Shelter. Veto, Ol’Crawdad and Mountain Man were there to greet me. A bunch had gone on, like Smiley and Samson. EWOS finally showed up complaining about his new boots. The walk to water had to be half-a-mile and the privy wasn’t much closer. But it was a nice shelter with plenty of tent sites.

An airy privy with a view