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2003 Father-Son Backpacking Trip--Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP), October 20-22, 2003

The trio start their hike on Clingmans Dome

The initial planning for this year's trip began at the Elk Lake gathering in early August. Dad plotted an aggressive three-day trek which would have seen us hiking from Clingmans Dome, down Forney Ridge Trail to Springhouse Branch Trail, heading south to Fontana Lake then up Bear Creek Trail, looping over Jonas Creek back to Forney Creek Trail, then heading back to Clingmans Dome. Later, while mulling this rugged 30+ mile trip over a glass of Scotch, we decided that the 16 mile second day with some steep uphill sections was decidedly insane. The trip was modified to the current plan which also leaves from Clingmans Dome, but is a bit more realistic.

Trip plan for the 2003 Father-Son trip: Backpacking the GSMNP

Date: Monday October 20 through Wednesday October 22, 2003.

Route: Noland Divide Trail to Noland Creek Trail, camping at site #64 the first night. Springhouse Branch Trail to Forney Creek Trail, camping at site #69 the second night, then returning to Clingmans Dome along Forney Creek Trail the third day.


Trip Overview:

The weather everyday was beautiful with temperatures ranging from the mid-60's to 70 during the day and night temperatures staying in the mid-40's. The use of hammocks this year really improved everyone's sleeping comfort--they were a big hit.

Dad catches a quick rest by an old CCC chimney

Stories of the trip (pictures and notes about the entire vacation included):

Craig's Story

Steve's Story

Dad's Story

Indian Flat Falls hike

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