APPALACHIAN TRAIL:  22 April – 31 May 2013

Aug 14:  My buddy Dave D. (AKA Pancho Villa) gave me a ride to GA to the AT trailhead.  On the last day we hit the largest flea market in GA.  Pancho Villa is below in one very small part of this flea market.  The place was huge with a number of buildings and a bunch of stuff outside also.

22-Apr-2013, 8.1 miles: Hiked to Hawk Mountain shelter. Cool and partly sunny day.  Dave dropped me off at the parking lot and I hiked over to Springer Mountain and back. Then, met Bilbo and hiked with him to the shelter. The shelter was full so we camped out for my first night on the trail.

23-Apr-2013, 7.7 miles: Hiked to Gooch Mountain Shelter.  Picture below.

24-Apr-2013, 8.5 miles: Hiked to Lance Creek. Camped out next to this creek. Got there around 3pm and set up tents. There were probably 6-7 tents out. Around 4pm it started raining so everyone jumped in their tents until 7am! Thankfully the rain stopped in the morning when we packed up to leave. Tried bear bagging for the first time and messed up and had to cut my line since it was stuck up in a tree.

25-Apr-2013, 7.4 miles: Hiked to Neal Gap. Got a cabin with Bilbo and one other guy. Had a shower and did laundry. The other guy had a pickup truck and we went into town to resupply. We also stopped at a GREAT barbacue joint in the middle of nowhere and had an excellent meal.  The picture below is a tree outside the Neal Gap building covered with hiking boots and shoes that people were done with.

26-Apr-2013, 11.5 miles: Hiked to Low Gap Shelter.   First day to hike over 10 miles.

27-Apr-2013, 9.7 miles: Hiked to Helen, GA. Stayed at a Best Western. If I remember right it was cool and a bit rainy.

28-Apr-2013, 5.7 miles: Hiked to Tray Mountain Shelter.

29-Apr-2013, 12.1 miles: Hiked to campsite. Made it to a campsite near some water just outside Hiawasse, GA.

30-Apr-2013, 10.7 miles: Hiked to Muskrat Creek Shelter.   Crossed GA-NC border at mile 78.5

01-May-2013, 16.2 miles: Hiked to Betty Creek Gap. Camped near a creek. First day to hike over 15 miles.

02-May-2013, 12.2 miles: Hiked to Franklin, NC. Stayed at a Budget Inn.   passed 100 miles

03-May-2013, 11 miles: Hiked to Wayah Bald Shelter.

04-May-2013, 16.5 miles: Hiked to Nantahala Outdoor Cetner (NOC). It was a very rainy day hiking in to the NOC. Wet, wet, wet. Parts of the ridge and trail down were very steep and slippery. It was a LONG day. Got a room and shared it with Kemosabe and Simple. Had a good dinner.

05-May-2013, 0 miles: Stayed at Nantahala Outdoor Center. The forecast was for heavy rain so we spent the day at the NOC. Had a big breakfast, lunch and dinner. Had to change roooms though which was a pain. I think 9 out of the last 11 days have had some rain.

Modeling the latest in rain gear.

06-May-2013, 13.4 miles: Hiked to Stecoah Gap, NC. Camped for the night. The rain had stopped over night and it was a good day to hike but my pack was heavy because I resupplied.

07-May-2013, 8.5 miles: Hiked to Cable Gap Shelter.

08-May-2013, 5.4 miles: Hiked to Fontana Dam, NC. Short hike into Fontana Dam and got a room at the resort. Pretty dead time of year as there were not many guests. Got my permit for the Smokies online. Resupplied some more as we were going into the Smoky Mountains and there were no other towns for resupply until we got out of the Smokies in 7-10 days.

09-May-2013, 15 miles: Hiked to Russell Field Shelter.

10-May-2013, 14.7 miles: Hiked to Silers Bald Shelter. Nice day of hiking – no rain.

11-May-2013, 8 miles: Hiked to Mt Collins Shelter. Rain, rain, rain… Passed 200 miles.

12-May-2013, 14.9 miles: Hiked to Pecks Corner Shelter. Sunny day but it is supposed to be a cold night.

13-May-2013, 12.9 miles: Hiked to Cosby Knob Shelter. Very chilly night in the shelter. It could have been better but there was no tarp across the front.

14-May-2013, 17.6 miles: Hiked to Groundhog Creek Shelter. Stopped at Standing Bear Farm hostel for a shower and some food. Had a long and painful uphill climb out of this gap.

15-May-2013, 13.1 miles: Hiked to Walnut Mountain Shelter.

16-May-2013, 13.1 miles: Hiked to Hot Springs, NC. Hiked into Hot Springs, NC.

17-May-2013, 0 miles: Stayed for the day in Hot Springs . Took a zero day to relax and resupply. Tried the hot springs and had a 1.5 hour massage which was well worth it.

Yes, I know I look too stylish to be on the AT but it’s the least I can do.

This section of trail drops off steeply on both sides.  Very thick brush and trees but very steep too. It is deceptive because there is nowhere to go on either side.  I assumed any bears would probably be on the trail with me since there was nowhere for them to go either.

18-May-2013, 11 miles: Hiked to Spring Mountain Shelter. Had a lift up the road and then proceeded to hike the wrong way which added about 5 miles to the day. I was very aggravated I made that mistake. Lots of mice at this shelter but Nomad had 3 mouse traps and we had fun with those. 2 confirmed kills, 1 wounded and released and one escapee.

19-May-2013, 8.6 miles: Hiked to Little Laurel Shelter. Thunderstorms coming in and I hiked fast for the last 1-2 hours to beat them to the shelter by 30 minutes. Lots of rain and hail. Had the shelter to myself for the night. Being alone in the shelter was pretty strange as there are lots of “sounds” at night…

20-May-2013, 12.7 miles: Hiked to Flint Mountain Shelter. Sun came out in the afternoon. passed 300 miles

21-May-2013, 14.9 miles: Hiked to campsite. Great weather to hike in.

22-May-2013, 14.6 miles: Hiked to No Business Knob Shelter.

23-May-2013, 5.8 miles: Hiked to Erwin, TN. Resupply and a night in the Super 8 for shower and bed and laundry. Rainy hike.

24-May-2013, 7.3 miles: Hiked to campsite. Started hiking around 2pm. 7.3 miles to a campsite. It was a windy and chilly night. Probably in the low 30’s. I found out later that many towns in the area set the all time low temp for this day at 35 degrees.

25-May-2013, 17.9 miles: Hiked to Clyde Smith Shelter. A nice cool, sunny day to hike.

26-May-2013, 14.5 miles: Hiked to Overmountain Shelter. This was an awesome shelter and my favorite of the trip so far. It had a great view! I will send a couple pics of this one.

27-May-2013, 18 miles: Hiked to Mountaineer Shelter. Stopped in Roan Mountain, TN for 3 hours to resupply and eat some BBQ. Pretty small town!

Crossed NC-TN border at mile 389.1 

       passed 400 miles

28-May-2013, 15.6 miles: Hiked to . 15.6 miles to a hostel for the night. Resupply, shower and laundry.

29-May-2013, 10.5 miles: Hiked to Watauga Lake shelter.. It was a long climb on a hot day over a PUD (pointless up and down). Basically, this was a peak in the middle of nowhere that would have been easier to walk around instead of up and immediately down.

30-May-2013, 21.6 miles: Hiked to Double Springs shelter..   I was running out of water and dehydrating. Had to stop at a shelter for 1-2 hours to rehydrate and rest before moving on. Warm day of hiking. But, got my first 20 mile day in. I set 2 mouse traps I inherited from Nomad and both went off within 15-20 minutes. The next morning I had 3 confirmed kills. One trap took out 2 mice at once! Peanut butter is the best bait to use. I will send a picture of this since it was awesome. First day to hike over 20 miles.

31-May-2013, 18.7 miles: Hiked to Damscus, VA. Will take a zero day tomorrow to get supplies, get a haircut, mail some cold weather gear home and rest.

Crossed TN-VA border at mile 463.2

Home sweet home!

The Overmountain shelter was one of my favorites on the trail.

I inherited a couple mouse traps from another hiker. I used them one night and within 20-30 minutes I heard them both go off.  The next morning I had 3 confirmed kills – two of them were killed by the same trap!!

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