No Pain, No Rain, No Maine

I took two zero days in Gatlinburg, TN to avoid a storm. The days turned out to be beautiful. The next day I caught a shuttle with Chef and Super Wolf from the N.O.C in Gatlinburg back up to Clingmans Dome in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It stormed! The shuttle driver Kevins parting words were “No pain, no rain, no Maine”, we pushed through to Mt. Collins Shelter, three miles in. It rained hard all night. Hikers were rolling into the shelter all night, it was packed.

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Gatlinburg, TN

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Gatlinburg, TN

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Gatlinburg, TN

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Kevin from N.O.C

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Super Wolf walking up to Clingmans Dome.

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Rain rolling in while hiking Clingmans Dome.

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Patriot and True Blue

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Mt. Collins Shelter.

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Mt. Collins Shelter

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Mt. Collins Shelter

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Maps and Divining Rod

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Super Wolf

Woke up and hiked 7.5 miles to Icewater Springs Shelter. Crossed a popular tourist stop in The Smokies called Newfound Gap and there was trail magic. Trail angels Beth and Bernie from Florida were set up, hooking hikers up with food and sodas. The trail was filled with day hikers, when I got to the shelter I set up my tent outside and had a beautiful scenic view of the peaks on the N.C side of the National Park. The night turned cold reaching the lower 30’s.

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Muddy, wet trail.

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Muddy, wet trail

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Chef and Super Wolf

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Trail angels Beth and Bernie.

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Freedom in tent on Icewater Springs.

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Tom for now

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View of the North Carolina side of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park from my tent.

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Moon rise from Icewater Springs Shelter.

Today was the last day in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Hiked 18 miles to a cool campsite by a creek.

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Chef taking a snack break.

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Cosby Knob Shelter

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Trail angel Brandon hooking us up with a Easter Sunday treat, six Reese’s peanut butter eggs.

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Davenport Gap Shelter

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Croc Hunter

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Sherpa and Spools

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Woke up and hiked 1 mile into Standing Bear Farm Hostel and took a “Nero” near zero day. Standing Bear Farm Hostel was fun!

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The Pigeon River

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Sign for Standing Bear Farm Hostel

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Dogger and Chef in the kitchen at Standing Bear Farm Hostel.

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A book of photos at The Standing Bear Farm Hostel of thru hiker on the summit of Mount Katahdin the end point of the A.T. This photo is of a friend Stefan “chops” Colosimo, who I use to work with at the Mountain Xpress news paper in Asheville.

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Croc Hunter holding a bag of Larry’s Beans Coffee, who sponsored his thru hike sending him free organic ground coffee along the way.

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Kurtis the owner of Standing Bear Farm Hostel.

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Standing Bear Farm Hostel crew Pilgrim, Rocket and owner Kurtis.

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Ranger Bill.

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Emilyn and Hips.

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Double Back

Woke up tired and hiked 7 miles to Groundhog Creek Shelter. Snowbird Mountain was a tough hike but was an awesome bald with a great view. The temperature dropped low into the 20’s that night and we had an epic fire.

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Snowbird Bald

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The back of Rat Man’s hiking shirt.

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The Honeymoon Hikers- Rat Man and Tumbler, they were married on Springer Mountain Six Months ago, this is their second thru hike together.

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Spools with his hitch hiking sign.

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Epic fire at Groundhog Creek Shelter.

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I left camp 10 am which is generally a pretty late start. Hiked up to a camp site some friends were staying and Chef, Light House, Croc and I decided to push on and night hike to Hot Springs. We arrived in Hot Springs, NC around 1am, everything in the town was closed including the police station. We had to stealth camp by railroad tracks. Hiked a total of 26 miles, this was the longest day so far.

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Max Patch Bald

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Chef and Radio on Max Patch.

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Mr. Wrong

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Croc Hunter, Lighthouse, and Chef. We pushed 26 miles and night hiked until 12.30 am to make it into Hot Springs, NC.

Hot Springs is a small trail town, literally the trail runs right through the main street. I got my mail drop early and called my friend Jon Elliston up who lives in Asheville, NC. Jon generously drove an hour out of his way to Hot Springs to pick up Chef, Ranger Bill and I, to bring us to Asheville. Thank you Jon!

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Stealth camp spot in Hot Springs, NC. The railroad tracks were right up the hill maybe 20 feet away and three trains rolled through during the night waking me up each time.

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The trail runs right through Hot Springs with way markers on the sidewalk.

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Lighthouse from Scotland.

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Mail drop time

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Had a great stay in Asheville! Thank you Jon, Joe, Adam, Kutty and Jeff for the help, hospitality and trail magic!

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3 Comments

  1. Posted April 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm by Tammy | Permalink

    I’m really digging several of the pics in this set. My favorite is of the evergreens and the mist. I love mist, moss, and the shades of nature surrounding them.

  2. Posted April 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm by Bernie & Beth | Permalink

    Sure am enjoying taggin’ along.

  3. Posted April 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm by Jeff T | Permalink

    Dang, I missed ya! I’m enjoying the photos & stories though. Keep these great posts coming! Go Jonathan!

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