We started out the day with the intention of hiking 20 miles to Davenport Gap. We knew that it was going to rain, but we didn’t realize the effect that the combination of a cold downpour plus continuing icy and snowy conditions on the trail would end our day short. We hiked 5.2 miles to the next shelter with the intention of taking a break before moving on. We were soaked through our rain gear and our hands were freezing. We made the decision to make it a short day and stay at the first shelter. Three guys who stayed here last night outside decided to stay in the shelter tonight and said that there were 21 people here last night. It’s only a 12 person shelter mind you. The last thing we wanted to do was push on in the cold, pouring rain (which turned into freezing rain) to the next shelter, find it full, and have to tent outside. We could have pushed on, but I think we made the smart decision in the end. We aren’t on any schedule and the trail has been downright dangerous with the ice.
So we’re camped out in a packed shelter tonight with a little fire going. We’ll get plenty of rest today and tonight and hoping for a nicer day tomorrow to finish out our hiking in the Smokies. As beautiful as the Smokies have been, we are so ready to get out of this ice and snow!