Packing for the Smokies, again…

It is finally time! It seems that is has been a very long time since I have stepped foot on the trail for a backpacking trip, let alone a multi-day trip. And now here it is. This weekend my wife and I will be heading to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for a getaway.

What’s even cooler is that I am actually packing for 3 separate backpacking trips, however they are all in the same general area, and for various amounts of time. The first hike we will do will actually be a day hike. The day that we arrive in the Smokies we are going to head up to Chimney Tops to do a day hike. This hike is simply 2 miles one way (that would make it 4 miles round trip ~ case you were wondering…) From what I understand the first mile up is fairly easy but the second mile is actually somewhat “steep.” I have been told that near the top it is actually hand-over-foot. So, I am definitely looking forward to getting to the top of the Chimneys!

Next is our “main event” so-to-say. This hike is actually taking place of my original plans, which was to thru-hike the park North to south. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, we are taking what we can get, and happily at that! So, we will be doing a four-day loop hike. We will stay in three of the shelters along the Appalachian Trail in the North side of the Park as well as at one of the campsites which is off the AT. We are planning to cross one “river” as well as pass by a waterfall. While on the AT we will actually cross over (or nearly over) the 2nd tallest mountain in the Smokies, Mt. Guyot. The cool thing about this is that after this trip I will have been to the three highest elevations in the Smokies this year. (Clingman’s Dome is the highest at 6,643 feet, obviously Mt. Guyot is the 2nd at 6,621 feet, and Mt. LeConte is a close third at 6,593 feet.) The last thing that I should mention about this part of our hike is that I am hoping that we will get to see some snow! Mt. LeConte actually got their first snow a few nights ago! (Read about it here.) So, here’s to hoping…

After we hike out we will head to Hot Springs, North Carolina. We are hoping to be able to snag a nice little cabin with one of the hot tubs with the natural mineral water pumped in. This would be a sweet way to relax after a beautiful hike in the Smokies. However, it is also a time of preparation… for the last hike…

The next day when we awake (from our good nights sleep) we will head to the parking lot near Max Patch. We will hike the long, strenuous 0.9 miles up to the summit and here we will pick us a good spot out and make camp. Then we will just enjoy being outdoors. We will kick back and relax and wait on the night to arrive. I am anxious to lay back and watch the wide-screen view of the sky from the bald. (So, here’s to hoping that we have a pretty night on top of the Patch.)

The next morning it will be time to think about the real world again. We will hike the long distance back out and then load up for the ride home. And, well, you know the rest of the story from here…

So, as far as what I am packing and all the details, well I am not going into all of that right now. I will just say that I am carrying all of the shared items so that my wife’s pack will be as light as can be. And yes, this means all of the food… I must say though, that I have cut my weight down from what it was a little over a year ago for a trip similar to this. A year ago, I started out with a 55-56 lb pack. This time I am looking to start with a pack right at or under 40 lbs. And of course I am still using the same pack, which is 5 lbs 11 oz. (I am looking forward to cutting my weight by 3 lbs when I get my new pack next spring!) Anyway, I will give a more specific gear report on specific pieces of gear once I get back.

So, I will be sure to post a trip report when I return, however, I may possibly post some more before I leave. Just have to see how it goes. So, until then…

Thanks for reading.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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1 Response to Packing for the Smokies, again…

  1. Alan says:

    Sounds like a really great trip ahead. Pack does seem a bit heavy though. I look forward to reading about the trip and the gear review and seeing the photographs. Have a good time….Alan


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