GATLINBURG, Tenn. -- Rangers have reached three Appalachian Trail hikers who were stranded in the snow without shelter.
According to Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials, three men ages 21 to 32 from Gaffney, S.C., had set out on Thursday from Fontana Dam for a ten-day backpacking trip. On Thursday night, they used their cell phones to report being cold and wet.
Temperatures were in the single digits with wind chills nearing 20 degrees below zero and snow drifts up to 2-feet high. The men said they were unable to walk and had no shelter.
Rescue efforts were hampered by weather, road and trail conditions, and the remote location.
Responding rangers eventually reached the men with warm clothing and tents. The rangers are evaluating how best to get the men out.