I call this trip my 2017 ‘backup-to-the-backup’ hike. For my annual ‘big’ fall hike I had originally planned on thru-hiking the epic Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in Washington, but I lost that permit lottery. My backup plan landed me a great permit for Glacier National Park, but the terrible late summer 2017 fires in Glacier caused me to cancel that trip at the last minute. To fill the void I decided to do a second 2017 Great Smoky Mountains NP, following up on my June 2017 hike with Travis.
Having chosen GSMNP partly because there were no fires there, and having had no trail closure issues during our June 2017 hike, it didn’t cross my mind that the 2016 Gatlinburg fires might still be affecting the trails. This led me to be a bit too careless in my pre-hike research, with the end result being that on the third day I was ‘trapped’ by a trail closure and had to shorten my hike by one day, bailing out to Elkmont.
The trip ended up being 3 days and about 30 miles. I started at Clingman’s Dome and the trip was supposed to be a counter-clockwise loop following the Appalachian Trail, Goshen Prong Trail, Little River Trail, Rough Creek Trail, Sugarland Mountain Trail, and finally the AT back to Clingman’s Dome. But the Sugarland Mountain Trail was still closed from the 2016 fires which gave me no realistic options other than to head to Elkmont and find a ride up the hill to Clingman’s Dome.
Though the trip ended up being different, and shorter, than I planned I was still treated to some fantastic views and was able to immerse myself in plenty of GSMNP’s primordial backcountry. Backpacking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is truly a unique experience, and the ‘wrinkles’ I experienced on this trip simply give me a reason to go back again.
Similar to my other backpacking videos, this one has about 40 minutes of video followed by a 10 minute still picture slide show with music at the end. It is meant to be an ‘immersive’ experience that allows you to come along with me on the trip. If you aren’t interested in ‘riding along on my shoulder’ for an hour long video, just skip to the last 10 minutes of still pictures and you’ll get a good overview of our trip.
Still Camera: Nikon D810 with Nikkor 20mm f1.8 lens
Video Camera: Canon Vixia G40 with Rode Stereo Videomic Pro
Video Editing Software: Sony Vegas Pro 13