Day 11 Sapphire Inn Franklin NC

Writing this from the Sapphire Inn in Franklin NC, a trail town about 10 miles from the AT.

Last night we had a crazy rain storm around 9pm as we were just drifting off to sleep in Carter Gap Shelter. The rain was beating down on the tin roof so loud I wondered if I would be able to sleep. We all mobilized and grabbed our packs to secure them on the dry inside wall of the shelter. The rain continued for several hours, but I managed to drift off to sleep.

I was awoken in the middle of the night by two hikers entering the shelter who apparently had been night hiking and were caught in the storm. I was surprised to see in the morning that it was Shakespeare and Uncle Grant, who I hadn’t seen for a few days.

Last night I decided that I was sick of my food (quinoa and Vienna sausages are a bad combo) and wanted to haul ass into Franklin to resupply… So we hiked 12 miles through the rain and fog and ultimately sun over rain filled creeks, scary granite escarpments, and Mt Albert, down through flat hollows and green tunnels to Franklin.

josh and I yogied our way into these guys camp and dried our socks over their fire.

For much of the morning the fog was so think that otherwise expansive vistas were replaced by an abyss of fog. (see picture).

Josh and I hauled ass with Rollin and Strider in the afternoon to Rock Gap where we were picked up by Ron Haven who owns most of Franklin it seems and has about about 17 jobs and is running for county commissioner.

Anyways heading back for the trail tomorrow after a AYCE church breakfast.

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Day 10 – Standing Indian Mt. NC

Sitting in a green tunnel near the summit of Standing Indian Mt. Elevation is 5498, highest point so far I think on the AT.

Crossed into North Carolina yesterday. Eleven or twelve mile day into Muskrat Creek Shelter. Lots of big uphill climbs…. Dubya said “don’t tell me we have to climb that one. Did he even have to ask? The AT seems to march over every mountain in its path.

Still having fun and feeling strong. Check out the pic from the ridge last night.

Oh yeah and I have a trail name…. Its Weatherman. I predict the weather better than the geniuses sitting at their desks with their hearts in a box. Starting to go a little native… Day 10 holy smokies here we come.

Will be in Franklin NC on Friday or Saturday.

 

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Day 8

In Hiawassee Georgia. Hiked from Tray Mountain to Dicks Creek Gap about 11 miles. Got an early start about 8 although everyone else had already left camp it seemed – everyone else racing to Hiawassee with the promise of good food and showers.

Chilling out at the Blueberry Patch Hostel about 3 miles from the trail. Got a lift from a trail shuttled named Mike to the hostel who was a colorful character. Let’s just say he asked me for weed and he had turkey feathers hanging from his dashboard.

The hostel is awesome. There are about 10 other hikers some of which I know and some I’m meeting for the first time. Took a shower, got my laundry done, avoided a torrential downpour. The simple things are incredible! Much gratitude.

 

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Day 6/7

It’s the morning of Day 7. I’m at Indian grave gap somewhere around mile 56.

I’m at the Feast in the Forest. It’s unbelievable. These guys from Wisco are having a weeklong trail magic session for thru hikers. Such a welcome change to not have to hang a bear bag or cook a generic flavorless dinner!

Hiked 13 miles or so yesterday – met alyson about four and went into Helen, which is like a Georgian Gatlinburg. Had a 3/4 burger and no issues downing it.

Still having a great time. The AT is like this parallel universe, a mix of a pilgrimage and a party of wheels, a marathon and Bonnaroo.

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Day 4

Camping in Neels Gap, mile 30 on the proper trail, have hiked 38 miles so far.

Woke up around 530 and watched the sunrise. Around 730 ran into some 40-something brothers who had thru hiked before and encouraged us to be nice to the locals. Starting hiking about 8, saw a family of white tailed deer.

Hiked with Ryan and Tom for most of the day.

No trail name yet

Thunderstorms briefly prior to our Summit of Blood Mtn, beautiful and expansive views. Lots of rocks on the way down. Tired bruised feet (not that bad).

Got a cabin in neels gap with a group of guys. Took a shower!!!! Laundry!!!

No bears unfortunately.

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Day 3

I’m in woody gap on mile 20 of the trail. Alyson and I hiked the approach trail on Day 1 which was a grueling 8 mile climb. Got to Springer Mtn, the official start of the trail around six in the evening. Slept in the shelter, ate some food, sat around the campfire and then passed out.

Day 2 we hiked from Springer to Hawk mountain, about eight miles. Mostly downhill so that was nice. Got to the shelter around 3pm and chilled out, relaxed by the spring, ate, etc. Tent camped and listened to my iPod before crashing about 11pm.

Left hawk mtn this morning 9 or so. 12 miles to woody gap, where I am now. Climbed a bunch of different mountains, sassafras mtn being the biggest. There was a beautiful meadow ish ridge on top where we played around for a bit. Beautiful overlooks today, which was a nice change since otherwise the ridges have been obscured by trees.

Saw a huge black snake (nearly stepped on it). !!!!

Got to woody gap around 430pm. Alyson took me to Suches for half a pizza and to resupply (I was out of food).

Itinerary:
Blood mtn tomorrow
Neels gap tomorrow night (shower?!)
Unicoi gap Sunday.

Great hiking with you Alyson!!

Check out the shot of Woody gap with our bear bags off to the side.

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