Day 10: First day of spring in the Snowkies

Thursday March 21, 22.4miles/36.0km

Russell Field Shelter NC (180.8) to Mt Collins Shelter TN (202.8) + 0.4mi side trail

With a forecasted storm this afternoon, most people were up early to get in as many miles as possible in dry weather. I left the shelter at 7:30, and after the first climb I could see the increasing clouds. But still good visibility and views!

I’ve been seeing these little spots of ice crystals the last few cold mornings. They kinda look like ice flowers.

I stopped and had lunch at a shelter, then pushed on uphill, trying to get over the next high point before the storm. The trail starts off dry…

And then a little snow…

And then some more…

I’m actually glad it’s snow and not rain, because at least I’m dry. I get to Clingmans Dome (6643ft/2025m), the highest point on the AT, at 3pm.

The mountain has a tower on the top, so it’s possible to get above the trees and get views. Even this high up, it’s still not above treeline!

I’ve been here several times before, so I’ve seen what a nice view it can be. It’s windy as, so I hurried back into the woods, and down the mountain. Another hour, and I’m in camp at Mt Collins Shelter.

There is a group of 3 guys here on a spring break hiking trip, and one other thru hiker named Close Call. He and I have the same plan for the next few days, so I’ll be seeing him again for sure.

These shelters all have fireplaces, but the wood is so wet that we give up after an hour of trying to make a fire. Oh well, tomorrow will be a warmer sunny day!

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