Sunday–April 18, 2021
Location–Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Russell Field Shelter, AT Mile 180.8
Great stay at the Resort in Fontana; one of the best burgers, ever, at the restaurant.
We’re right down for the breakfast buffet first thing this morning. Then Barry drives us back to the dam where I finished yesterday, and a little after eight were on our way.
Just across the dam we enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Nathan secured my permit and Barry and Durwin have theirs. We date and deposit them in the permit box–and immediately begin the 2,300-foot climb to the Shuckstack Mountain Tower. The continuous climb takes us just shy of three hours. And what an absolutely amazing reward for the effort; it’s a glorious clear day, the views from the sky-high tower–breathtaking! Yes, this old man climbed all the way to the top of the fire tower.
Both Barry and Durwin are well-conditioned hikers, and I’m holding them up. So I send them on up the trail to Mollies Ridge Shelter, where they’re waiting for this slow, old man. At the shelter water source we water up before continuing on to Russell Field Shelter where we pitch our tents for the night. A hard, heavy (we’re carrying three day’s supply of food) 14+ mile day. It’s a real blessing having hiking companions. Nathan turned that duty over to Barry and Durwin. They both kept a close eye on me today…
It does not matter how slowly you go
as long as you do not stop.