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Catch up on all of the latest happenings here at Diamond Hawk Unlimited!


You can find update to date information on our adventures, events and insights on our blog.

By Karen L Amundson, May 21 2017 09:18PM

April 6

Day 20 (12 miles, 3,700 vertical feet)

I'm sorry that I haven't been able to get posts out, but the cell coverage has been spotty in the Smokey Mountains.

Today we knew there was a big 3-day storm coming to the Smokey's, which is why I did such a big mileage day yesterday. My warrior expedition buddies told me they were impressed, which means a lot coming from those guys.

I started the day out a bit earlier than normal since I slept in the shelter, & didn't have to tear my tent down. If you look carefully to the left of the notch in the foreground you can see Fontana Lake, where I started yesterday. If you follow the ridge line to the right, & then move to the forefront as you get to the right, that was basically the entire hike yesterday.

Almost right on schedule, the rain started at 11:00. I was only about 15 min from the Derrick Knob shelter. By the time I arrived, the temp had dropped about 20 degrees, & you could see your breath. I climbed into the shelter & cooked myself a hot lunch of rice. The rain started to come down very heavy, so more & more hikers came into the shelter.

Still being cold I got out of my wet clothes & climbed into my sleeping quilt to warm up. I thought we were going to be there all night, but the rains quit by 2:00. Connor Dawson convinced me that it didn't look too bad out there, & coaxed me from my warm down home. I put my wet cloths back on & started the push for the next shelter 6 miles down the trail. Seeing that we were moving on, so did everyone else in the shelter. Given my big mileage the day before, I couldn't stay ahead of the fast 20 somethings, & when I arrived at the next shelter it was full. Connor & the warrior boys decided to push on to the next shelter 2 miles ahead, but I was spent.

The temp was in the upper 30's with 20-30 mph winds & rain as I struggled to rectify my tent on the least un-flat piece of ground I could find. I got in, wet & cold around 6:30. I was out of water, & couldn't convince myself to go out in the cold downpour for 15 min, so there would hot dinner. Instead I buried my head under my quilt & ate my trail mix.

Several hours later I was laying on my side, when a particular lightning strike went off, I saw the outline of a mouse running up & down the screen of my tent less than a foot from my face, & worse yet I couldn't tell if it was outside or inside my tent! I immediately bolted to my knees & grabbed my headlamp, & realized in my hast to get my tent up & get warm I forgot to hang my food. After doing a thorough inspection of my tent I determined the rotten rodent had been outside my tent.

Thank God, because to quote my friend Paul "I hate mices to pieces". Unfortunately, the only way I was going to get any sleep would be to go hang all my food in the middle of the night in a cold thunderstorm. Since the alternative was having the mouse come back & chew a hole in my tent, I reluctantly climbed out of my warm down cocoon & walked into the cold wet darkness to do the deed.

By Karen L Amundson, May 21 2017 09:12PM

April 5

Day 19 (19.0 miles, 6,000 vertical feet)

The weather was much better than yesterday, & you can see the mountains I started climbing today unlike yesterday.

Not too far onto the hike today I crossed the actual Fontana Dam (pic 2). This was the entry into Smokey Mountain National Park. From the Dam, it was all uphill. Fortunately, most of the grade was not too steep, & the temp topped out in the low 60's, which was perfect.

A lot of the day has a beautiful carpet of white wild flowers in the forest (pic 3).

The weather was so nice, that I just kept hiking, & ended up putting in a monster day! The weather forecast for the next 3 days is for dropping temps with rain turning into snow. Sounds like fun, huh?

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