It was a
cold and rainy patrol but I really enjoyed hiking with writer Don Williams. Don
went out on patrol with me this week to gather material for an article he is
writing for “Smokies Life”magazine.
Day One: I met Don Williams at the Sugarland Visitors
Center and we went through my regular routine, meeting with Pam Rodgers in the
Backcountry Reservations office and her volunteers, Melissa Cobern and the
Dispatch office. We then went up to Clingmans Dome and hiked into Mt. Collins
Shelter for the evening. It was a cold and rainy day but we had an enjoyable
Day Two: Don and I hiked from Mt. Collins Shelter to
Newfound Gap. Again it was cool and damp. We took time to really look at the
trail work and the plant and wildlife along the trail. We cleared some blowdown
and met some great hikers. I left Don at Newfound Gap and went on to Icewater
Springs. I had planned to hike further but I spent a lot of time helping two
groups of backpackers that didn't have reservations to stay in the backcountry.
I was able to educate the backpackers on the importance of having reservations
and we called the backcountry office and got their reservations sorted out.
Day Three: I hiked out to Pecks Corner on another cold
and gray day. The trail was in good shape and showed recent work from
volunteers. I spent a lot of time with day hikers enjoying Charlies Bunion.
The stretch from Newfound Gap out to Charlies Bunion is a great place to
interact with hikers and pass on lots of good information.
Day Four: I hiked out to Eagle Rocks and then back to
Icewater Springs. The trail is in good shape. I enjoyed meeting some section
hikers along the way. There was about 3 pounds of trash to hike out from
Icewater Springs. Again I had three backpackers without reservations. I was
able to explain the importance of reserving spots in the backcountry.
Day Five: I hiked out for a couple days off. It was a
cool, wet and gray week. I really enjoyed hiking with Don Williams and I look
forward to his article in “Smokies Life”. It was a great week interacting with
backpackers and day hikers. Fall is upon us!