Day 13: Cable Gap Shelter

We woke to fog. I woke from some of the best sleep I’ve had on the trail yet. Our plans for a bright an early start were sacrificed to warm sleeping bags and hot cocoa.

Cocoa and a foggy forest.

We headed out around 9:40, pack covers cinched and rain shells at the ready.

Hiking in fog makes me pensive–and damp. Somehow, despite how simultaneously sweaty and chilly it makes me, it’s a very tranquil feeling. Every view of the outside world is swallowed up, it’s down to you and the mountain.

The fog didn’t last very long, but the damp humidity stayed for most of the day. All the interesting little forest critters were out.

A beautifully speckled slug.


We also found a very strange specimen that none of us recognized.

Starfish mushroom leaf??

By late afternoon the ominous breezes that followed us all day were finally bringing some rain with them.

We weren’t expecting there would be room at the 6 man shelter we were heading for, but fortunately there were tent sites nearby that we set up in before the rain was very bad.

I don’t mind tenting in the rain. Waking up in the rain with a wet tent is much worse, but right now, with a warm sleeping bag and a cozy tent the rain is a nice pitter patter and the valley we’re in is keeping out all the wind. As long as no flash floods hit the stream near-by…

Tomorrow is a damp trek into Great Smoke Mountain National Park.


Today’s Miles: 15.2
Total Miles: 159.2


  1. Lizzie Ann

    I loved the plethora of plants and animals in NC; but yesterday on my concluding section of the trail in PA (wind gap to deleware wter gap) i finally got to see a porcupine; I had heard them a couple times in the past gnawing in the night (in PA it behooves one to hang ones shoes in addition to the food, the porkies love the taste of stinky feet leather/fabric), but I had nver seen one in the broad light of day; they climb trees almost a well as a squirrel, just not as fast and fidgety. Once in the smokies robin and i were cooling our heels trailside; finally decided we must be the slowest hikers ever when we saw little shelled snails had started festooning our packs. Strange thing about fog; the totally wet-est I ever got was inside a shelter, a fog blew in over night and totally misted everything inside and out; I had never imagined such a thing, usually what I hung up overnight was drier come morning. I found the ambiance of the showers at the fontana dam visitor center much nicer than the shower house at the fontana hilton, and much less muddy, but if i had not been catching a ride at the dam i probably would have gone into fontana village where there was actual food instead of a soda vending machine (when you get to clingman’s dome, don’t hesitate to hoof the 1/2 mile down the steep macadam path to the visitor center/store; I went there in a vain attempt to charge my phone (no electric) and a not in-vain attempt to get a knit “tuk” and a sweatshirt so I could stop freezing in the snow. (ice water shelter was very aptly named) BUT we discovered they sold quart jars of canned (not tinned) peaches, just like my grandma used to “put up” (well, almost, she didn’t include the cinnamon & cloves like the “suthners” do)

  2. Dan

    I think your strange specimen might be a newt. They are usually pretty friendly or at least fairly docile.

    It’s fun to read your great reports and enjoy the adventure with you.


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