Thursday, February 19, 2015

Camel Hump Knob

With and inch of ice covering everything in sight it is hard for me to recollect that just two weekends ago it was sixty and sunny with brilliant sunshine both days. The exact kind of February weather you hope for but never expect. That Saturday Yuri and I headed to the Smokies for a fun little 13 mile run. Starting from Cosby campground in Tennessee we did:

Snake Den Ridge > Appalachian Trail > Low Gap

On a map it looks like this:

camel hump knob

It had snowed at work all day the monday before so I had a hunch there might be some snow once we got up high on the north slopes. I was right and after gaining just a few hundred feet or so on the way up Snake Den Ridge we started encountering pockets of snow in coves and on north slopes. With thousands of feet more to climb it wasn't at all surprising that by the time we hit the Appalachian Trail the snow was a foot deep. The plane crash just below the top was hidden by the snow and as we cruised past I assured Yuri it was there and we vowed to return another day.

Once up on the AT the conditions varied between deep snow, howling wind and bitter cold if we were on the north side of the ridge or a dry, dusty and hot trail if we were on the south side. Over our left shoulder loomed Mt. Guyot and Tri Corner Knob while in front of us lay the aptly named Camel Hump. We went over the Camel Humps and then Ross and Cosby knobs before beginning the pounding Low Gap Descent. I hit the downhill as hard as I could and by the time we got back to the car my knees were reminding me just how brutal 13 miles in the Smokies can be.





On the drive home we dropped a stranded hiker in Cosby which gave us an excuse to take the scenic highway back and soak in views of the ridge we  had just run.


The next Sunday it was even hotter. So hot that I was worried about how Duma would do so we went to Turkey Pen where there are many rivers to cross and we did a fun Bradley Creek > Riverside > Vineyard Gap route which kept us nice and refreshed!


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