Day 20 – Cosby knob shelter to Groundhog creek shelter

Today was a fun, but long day. I left last night’s camp a little after 8 and rolled in to tonight’s camp around 8:30. 12+ hours on trail and nearly 18 miles (more if you count the side trips I’ll get into below).

My initial plan was only 16 miles, but the creek near that camp wasn’t flowing and I needed water to cook and to drink so I rolled on (downhill fortunately) for another 2 miles.

Part of the reason for the later arrival was an early morning side trip to Cammerer tower. I ran into a day hiker after the first couple miles named Dewey (aka Appalachian spider man) and he convinced me pretty quickly to take the side trip. So glad that I did. By far the best views of the hike so far. I got my first on trail trail magic on the way back to the AT from a couple that did 500 miles last year and are attempting a SOBO through starting in June. Dewey and I said our goodbyes at the intersection – he was hiking the trails to all publicly accessible fire towers today…32 miles in all!

I rolled down the hill (not literally of course 😝) and made it to Davenport gap shelter for lunch around 1. Right before the shelter there was a section of the forest that smelled simply amazing. It was a little like magnolia but sweeter / less “lemony”. One thing that’s hard to describe about a long hike is the different smells along the way, especially on a day like yesterday when it’s wet.

Another through hiker (Hershey) I’d stayed in camp with came in a bit later and we had a nice chat over lunch. She wasn’t intending to complete the whole trail, but was going to hike until June when she planned to go back to school at UMass. I bid her farewell after lunch (her transit was taking a shuttle in to town for a zero) and finished the rest of the descent.

I crossed under I-40 and started the climb up to snowbird peak. It was a long, slow, hot climb of about 5 miles and more than 2500 ft of elevation gain. There were lots of stops for water and snacks and sitting. I made it to the peak about 6:30 and took a quick spin around the FAA station up there for some more great views, thinking my camp was only 3/4 of a mile away. Still with it, even in hindsight.

I quickly realized there was no water to be found near my intended camp, so set myself to taking on the trail miles to the shelter. I rolled in with just enough daylight to get water and start dinner prep. While my ramen bomb rehydrated I set my hammock up by headlamp then went back to eat. I met another TH (Sugar Bear) and we chatted a bit while I ate.

Side note: everything seemed to be blooming today (combo of the rain yesterday and the sun today maybe), and I took pictures of nearly all the new flowers I saw, some of which I know and some I don’t. If you know what any of them are leave a comment.






2 responses to “Day 20 – Cosby knob shelter to Groundhog creek shelter”

  1. Mary Ann Weiss Avatar
    Mary Ann Weiss

    It sounds like a wonderful day. Is the bush with pale pink flowers Mountain Laurel?

  2. Bill Watkins Avatar
    Bill Watkins

    So happy to see you’re back on the trail. You have a good following here and we like to keep up with your progress. Thanks for sharing your daily journey.

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