Jim, Sue, Cody, and Tater at Springer Mtn., start of the Appalachian Trail Adventure Run


More AT Photos


Runtrails Home Page




Appalachian Trail Conference


Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club


Fueled by:









Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
Previous          Journal Topics by Date            Next
Start: Clingman's Dome, Smokies                          
End:  Newfound Gap, Smokes (TN/NC line)
Today's Miles:                        7.9
Cumulative Miles:             202.5
"We travel the world over to find the beautiful."  - Emerson

Into the void: Sue heads up the road to the Trail at  Clingman's Dome . . .

. . . and into the misty forest.    5-14-05

Time for bed again, so this one will be short.

As you can see, I started out in a fog this morning. Some people would say I'm always in a fog!

I had a half-mile walk up a paved road to get to the AT at Clingman's Dome. That was the only way I could shorten yesterday's run to "only" 31 miles. Otherwise, I'd have to go 39 miles to Newfound Gap.

Today's run was truly an easy day. I even finished it faster than we predicted, only the second or third time that has happened so far during this adventure run.

I slept a solid ten hours last night and woke up feeling recharged and ready to go again. I think I'm starting to adapt to this life on the Trail! We had a large breakfast and drove nearly an hour to Clingman's Dome. Since it was so foggy and windy, Jim wasn't interested in going up to the tower. We said goodbye in the parking lot.

Once on the Trail, I really loved the whole run today. Maybe that was because it was mostly downhill to Newfound Gap! For the first thirty minutes I was thinking, "Wow, I really recovered well from yesterday's run." I had to dodge a lot of slick rocks and logs used as water bars on the Trail, but it felt good going down from Clingman's Dome through the misty, dream-like forest full of moss and dripping trees.

Then reality hit me as soon as I hit my first climb UP. My muscles weren't sore, but they were sure fatigued! Thank goodness the climbs today were few and gradual, so unlike the brutally steep ascents from yesterday.

I had my second fall of the trek after it started raining hard. I slipped in some mud and landed in soft mud and moss. The worst part was bending my right knee (the one I've had problems with recently) more than it likes to bend. But it didn't hurt after I got up, and I could continue running OK.

The spruce and fir trees smell so good at 6,000 feet. I was sorry when I dropped lower into the hardwoods again.

I came to an interesting grate used like the wooden stiles in Virginia to get over fences. An area about a mile before Newfound Gap is fenced off to protect the beech trees from non-native wild pigs that were introduced to the area in the 1940s. There was another grate about a quarter mile later.

On a Saturday in May, I expected this short section of the AT to be packed because of the easy access. The road to Clingman's Dome is visible several times, and it would be easy to use for a day hike. Alas, the rain apparently scared off the day hikers, because I saw only five today in the 2:40 hours I was on the Trail in the afternoon. I was happy that three of them were women! Need more women hiking out here.

When I got to my end point at Newfound Gap on the very busy US 441 that winds through the center of the Smokies, Jim and I walked around and read the signs and plaques about the generous donations of the Rockefeller family that helped make possible the acquisition of much of the land for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which was dedicated in 1940.

Tomorrow's another long day - about 31 miles from Newfound Gap to Davenport Gap on the eastern edge of the Smokies.

I'm over 200 miles now!

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

Previous       Next

Send an e-mail message to Sue & Jim  

2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil