Russell Field Shelter and the Ranger


About 3 miles into our day 2 hike we come across Russell Field Shelter which seems like a good resting point.  We had the pleasure of meeting up with our first Smoky Mountain Park Ranger who was busy doing his job...a little too well I might add.  The main job of a ranger is to hike the trails making sure that other hikers have their permits and are following all the rules.  I know he is just doing his job but he seemed a little too eager to bust someone as he asked everyone for their "papers". Not that big of a deal, but it kind of put a dull mood on the carefree hiker attitude that most of us have on the AT. Since the day was young and our legs were fresh, we decided to inquire with him about skipping our planned next stop at Derricks Knob and allowing us to stay at the Silers Bald Shelter... if we could make it that far in a day.  After a quick call on his radio he informed us that the Silers Bald Shelter reservation list was full for that night and we would need to stick with our original plan to stay at Derricks Knob.