12 Wonderful Days on the Appalachian Trail

This post is just a quick recap of my journey. I will posting more details and photos in the next week or so.

March 22 – Hiker Hostel
The Hiker Hostel is run by Josh and Leigh Saint. The provide bunk space and shuttles to the trail. And a wonderful breakfast to help you get started.

First day on the trail
First day on the trail

March 23 – Springer to Hawk Mountain Shelter – 8.1 miles
5 of us from the Hiker Hostel started at the Springer Mountain parking lot. SilverGirl, Long Stride, Old Tyme Ed, Mr Breeze, and myself known as shoe. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone when starting this hike. It was a rainy wet day. Normally I would delay my hike until the weather was nice and sunny but not this trip. Go me. Mr Breeze caught up with me at the first shelter where I was talking to some other hikers and we hiked together for the rest of the day. Old Tyme Ed caught up with us and we all camped at the Hawk Mountain shelter.

taking a break at Justus Creek
taking a break at Justus Creek

March 24 – Hawk Mountain – Gooch Gap – 9.2 miles
Day 2 is always a tough day for me especially in this section. It seems all you do is climb up and then climb down and then back up and back down. I started a little before Ed and Breeze because I knew what was coming ahead. I actually did pretty good. My goal was Gooch Gap for the day because I was expecting Kellye there with cold drinks. (she wasn’t able to make it.). A long hot day.

Lance Creek Campsites
Lance Creek Campsites

 

March 25 – Gooch Gap – Lance Creek – 7 miles
Kellye showed up in the morning with a Diet Dr Pepper for me. Yea Kellye. And brought some donuts as well. I was kind of feeling it again today. I was hot and dirty. We made the 3.5ish miles to Woody Gap where my awesome hiking group the Traildames were doing a hiker feed. Hot dogs, chips, drinks, treats. It was great. I tried getting Kellye to run me down to the hostel where I could take a shower and wash clothes but she refused. So what else is there to do but to keep walking. We made it to Lance Creek camping area and my fire minions made me a fire and we had a great night. Me, Ed, Breeze, Darwin, Mark and Herman were at the site.

 

View from Blood Mountain
View from Blood Mountain

March 26 – Lance Creek – Bull Gap – 8.6 miles
Today was Blood Mountain Day. Ed and Breeze were way ahead of me for most of the day so I hiked with Darwin and Mark for most of the day. It was a hot and brutal day. The climb up Blood Mountain wasn’t too bad and the views were awesome. But the climb down was brutal. It was soooo hot and there was no shade. And we all fried like little lobsters. Finally made it to Neel Gap. I was happy to see that Breeze had waited for me. I can’t believe he waited for 2 hours. We did laundry and took showers and resupplied. And I ate a $7  Tony’s pizza. But we still had 1.2 miles to go for the day to Bull Gap. And it was all up. Needless to say my shower didn’t last too long. Darwin and Mark ended up staying the night at Mountain Crossings.

Look what my fire minions made for me
Look what my fire minions made for me

March 27 – Bull Gap to Low Gap Shelter area – 10.3 miles
The first part of today’s hike is the only section that I have done only once and I was not looking forward to it. It turned out to be quite beautiful. Nice ridge walking with some great views. And of course Cowrock Mountain.  We had a little bit of trail magic at Tesnatee Gap with some soda and chips. And chairs. 🙂 It was nice to sit in a chair for a few minutes before we had to climb Wildcat Mountain. Of course Ed and Breeze passed me so I hiked most of the second of the day by myself which was OK. I knew I would see them again. And of course my fire minions didn’t let me down and we had a nice fire. I actually even got some firewood today.

Old Tyme Ed and Mr Breeze at Unicoi Gap
Old Tyme Ed and Mr Breeze at Unicoi Gap

March 28 – Low Gap – Cheese Factory camping area – 13.4 miles
Today was the longest day of the trip. The day started out really easy. The first half went by pretty fast as the terrain was pretty mild and then I don’t know if I got tired or what but it just started going slow. The climb up Blue Mountain usually isn’t bad but it seemed to take me forever. Caught up with Ed and Breeze here and took a boots off break and had some lunch. Then we headed down the never ending downhill into Unicoi Gap. The plan was to sleep on top of Rocky Mountain which honestly is just a bitch of a climb. The kicker…we would have to carry all the water we need for the night and the first few miles of tomorrow. Well we got to the top and it was full so we had to hike about another 3 miles to the Cheese Factory site. Yes, there used to be an award winning cheese factory here. S0 13.4 miles is my longest day ever in the state of Georgia.

Deep Gap Shelter
Deep Gap Shelter

March 29 –  Cheese Factory – Deep Gap Shelter – 9.4 miles
Day 7 – otherwise known as the day of exhaustion. I am sure the the previous days mileage didn’t help today. We had a nice camp at the cheese factory site and camped with Blue Dragonfly and poco a poco (little by little). We started out hiking together trudging up to the top of Tray Mountan where we loaded up with water. It didn’t take long before Ed and Breeze were way far ahead of me. I hiked most of the day again by myself. I finally made it to Addis Gap where Kelly Knob was awaiting me. No one was waiting for me at Addis Gap 🙁 So I took a break before starting the climb. Kelly Knob is no joke. 975 feet in 1 mile with no switchbacks and no level sections and lots of false tops. And it was so hot with no shade and I ran out of water. I was so grateful to finally make it to the top. The rest of the day was all downhill to the shelter. And guess who was waiting for me at the shelter 🙂 I figured they had kept on hiking. I was so exhausted that I didn’t even set up my tent and slept in the shelter.

Me, Mr Breeze, Old Tyme Ed
Me, Mr Breeze, Old Tyme Ed

March 30 – Deep Gap Shelter – Hiawassee (Fooooood) – 3.6 miles
It was a quick few miles today. I think we all had showers and food on the mind. I know I had cheese dip on my mind. Ed opted to stay at the Blueberry Patch Hostel while me and Breeze opted for more luxurious accommodations at the Holiday Inn Express. After showering and doing laundry we went to the hostel and picked up Ed, Matt (split personality), and Joel (I think his name was) and we went to Daniel’s Steakhouse and all you can eat buffet. I opted to get a steak and baked potato instead of the buffet. Since it was getting close to hiker midnight (9pm) we all headed to sleep with full bellies

Love my Traildames
Love my Traildames

March 31 – Dicks Creek Gap – Plumorchard Gap Shelter – 4.5 miles
Today was the day to meet up with my peeps the Traildames. Kristen, Monica, Shemeah,Leslie, Nancy, and April. I started out the day before the others. I felt like I needed a little time to myself to process everything. My trip was coming to an end and I was so close to attaining my goal. It was kind of emotional. I did really good on this section. It only took me a little over 2 hours to get to the shelter area. Normally it takes me close to 3.5 hours. I had hoped I had talked Ed and Breeze into finishing the GA section with me but was afraid they would keep hiking on. They would never get to the end if they only hiked 4.5 miles a day. But when I got to the shelter they were there. They are awesome. Of course catching up with the dames meant taking goofy pictures with Monica (now known as shuddah bug)

WooHoo I made it
WooHoo I made it

April 1 – Plumorchard – Muskrat Creek Shelter – 7.3 miles
Today was the day. The day that I would cross the state line. The day my goal would be complete. I gave explicit instruction to Breeze and Ed to wait for me at the state line. They were not to cross the line until I got there. Well at least one of my minions knows how to follow directions. And he had to only wait for 45 minutes. Me and Leslie finally made it around noon. Nancy and April were at Bly Gap taking a break. I did it !!!

The last day
The last day

April 2 – Muskrat Creek – Deep Gap, NC and then home – 4 miles
I started the day out walking by myself. It was kind of a bittersweet day. I would be leaving my friends that I met on the trail. But at the same time I had just accomplished an awesome goal of mine. The trail was beautiful today. There was kind of a misty fog all over which kind of matched my mood. Mr Breeze caught up with me fairly quickly and we walked the rest of the way to Deep Gap. I had to wait around for the other ladies but that was ok with me.

And I finally got my cheese dip. Woo hoo.

Retro Hike…..2008

This blog is about to go undergo restructuring. I will be back and will be adding my past hiking adventures and hopefully they will be intertwined with all my future adventures. I am looking forward to everything that 2012 brings to me. I have several exciting trips planed. But in the meantime here is a photo gallery of me and Mrs Baggins hiking in 2008. We did 2 separate trips. The first was Wayah Bald to Stecoah Gap and the second trip was the 2nd part of the Smokies from Newfound Gap to Davenport Gap.
If you like you can click on the slideshow and enjoy some nice relaxing music as you enjoy the images.

 

Springer Mountain ~ My Favorite Place

I think most people have a favorite place. A place that really means something to them. A place that becomes a refuge from the “real” world.

For me that place is Springer Mountain. As soon as I start the .9 mile walk to the summit I can feel all the distractions from life fade away. Springer Mountain is my goto place when I feel like I need to re-focus and re-center. For me Springer is all about new beginnings. Kind of fitting since so many people start their thru-hike journeys from here.

I feel blessed that I can pick up anytime I want and get to Spinger fairly easy. I have also been blessed that all the times that I have gone there to spend time with myself I have arrived to now crowds of people.

Here are some various of images of my trips to Springer. I love taking people there as well.

Late Trip Report from April – Part 1

The first week of April brought a week long trip with my friend from North Carolina Sweet Pea. It was kind of a strange trip in that we did Dick’s Creek Gap to Winding Stair Gap then flipped and did Springer to Woody Gap. For a total of about 60 miles.

This won’t be an extensive trip report for no reason other than I don’t feel like writing alot about it right now. 🙂 When I find my journals I will write more.

Day 1: April 5th – Dick’s Creek Gap to Bly Gap – 9 miles

Tough day overall. Alot of longish uphill walking.Ran into a super snobby thru hiker. When she found out we weren’t thrus she turned her nose and kept walking. Later when I got the Bly Gap she informed me that we could camp up top (away from where she was I am sure). I bet she’s off the trail now. Camped on the upper portion near the “famous” tree. Great view of the stars.

Day 2: April 6th – Bly Gap to Standing Indian Mountain – 9.2 miles
This was an awesome day for me. This was the strongest I have ever felt while hiking. Even the last climb of the day didn’t put me in a mood. I guess working out can make a difference. Camping atop Standing Indian has so far been my favorite place. The sky was clear, a beautiful sunset and then the stars came out. What else could one ask for? Except for maybe a closer water source.

Day 3: April 7th – Standing Indian to campsite before Albert Mountain – 11.8ish miles

Another great day. At first I didn’t thinnk North Carolina wanted us to visit. The trail was actually quite steep for the first part of they day. The NC decides that “hey, you’re ok” and gives us the most amazing trail ever. Nice, without alot of up and downs. Our friend Kellye met us at Mooney Gap and brought us trail magic. Oranges and Reese’s and ice cold Diet Coke.

Day 4: April 8th – Albert to Winding Stair – 10.2 miles
Otherwise known as the day of the torential downpour. We made it up to the top of Albert without any rain but no views from the top. This was my second time with no view. We made it to Big Spring Shelter and took a break and the rain just let loose. We hung around trying to wait for the rain to stop but no such luck. So we had to hike about 9 miles in the pouring rain. There goes my record of never having to have hiked in any major rain. I think we made it the 9 miles in about 3 hours. I ain’t ever hiked that fast in my life.

We stayed at Kellye’s place this night and washed our gear and ate at Longhorn’s and played Wii Fit (which is the most hilarious thing ever). And decided to hike Springer to Woody since SweetPea had never hiked that section

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