I hiked the OHT from Dockery’s Gap to the east side of Lake Fort Smith today. The starting temperature was 25F and there was still a couple inches of snow on the ground so it definitely felt like winter.
Mine were the first human footprints on the trail, though for the first mile or so I was following what might have been coyote prints. They didn’t deviate from the trail – not even on a series of switchbacks – until we got to the first creek .75 miles in. Turkey tracks, on the other hand, were going everywhere. The only wildlife I actually saw were a couple squirrels and some birds.
There wasn’t anything really note-worthy along this part of the trail but some nearby features could make a return trip worthwhile. There are apparently a couple 50′ waterfalls up one side drainage that might be interesting after a big rain. There is also a very narrow ridge that I want to explore further – it rises steeply about 400′ above the nearby creeks . Many times a feature like this gets named Devil’s Backbone.
Back in the summer I hiked the 5+ miles of trail further west (going around the lake) so I’ve now hiked all of section 1.