Tough way to get a two-fer

Third time’s a charm, I guess.

After a couple of missed chances, I finally was able to get up to Newfound Gap and hike the AT from there to Clingman’s Dome. That allowed me to bag two of the South Beyond 6000 peaks in one trip. The trail passes right over Mt. Collins on the way to Clingman’s Dome.

But I paid for it.

It’s been so warm this month, I figured most of the snow would be melted up there. And in many places it was.

But surprisingly, there were some parts of the trail still covered in 15 inches of snow.

It appears no one had hiked from Mt. Collins to Clingman’s Dome in at least 24 hours, maybe more. Because of that, the last three miles to Clingman’s Dome included several sections of post-holing through knee-deep, very wet snow.

That’s tough hiking, especially where the trail ascends to the summit.

It’s about eight miles one way to Clingman’s Dome. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was able to hike back by way of a paved road, I might still be on that trail.
To make matters worse, I was wearing a new pair of Montrail Hardrock shoes. Nice shoes, but I must of had them laced too tightly because my the end of the trip, my feet were very sore.

I’ll post a complete trail report later. Let me recover first.

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