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Backpacking the Appalachian Trail in February

Appalachian Trail Georgia to Maine

Date: 01 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 179.1
A little more snow this morning just like yesterday. The same cold temperatures are still here, too.

This is my third 5 mile day. I don't know what is wrong. I had planned 10 mile days through the Smokies. I don't really think my snowshoes are helping much of the time; the snow is too soft and fresh so I sink down anyway.

It is cold and late. Time to sleep.

Transcribed on:    02-Feb-2000 20:48:22 EST

Date: 02 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 184.1
Beautiful day for hiking! For the first time in a long time there were no clouds or fog restricting my view to 100 ft or less. The day warmed up to the high 20's/ low 30's and the sky was deep blue--the best example of cerulean I have ever seen.

I was glad for the snowshoes today. I tried the first 45 minutes of the day to hike without them and got nowhere. The snow seems to be at least a foot deep and two feet in some places. On some ridges I was standing on 2-3 ft drifts. Even with snowshoes hiking is still hard and in some places the snow is still too soft and I sink in to nearly my hip. That has caused a few falls.

I spent too much time on Rocky Top admiring the sun and views of which I took pictures. I have a nice picture of Clingmans Dome, the highest spot on the AT, and a self portrait of me with Clingmans in the background--but I was a mile shy of making the shelter so I slept out among the bears. I didn't hear or see anything other than ice falling out of the trees and landing on my sleeping bag.

Transcribed on:    02-Feb-2000 20:54:27 EST

Date: 03 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 190.9
I made it to Silars Bald shelter just before dark. Today was another nice hiking day and warm, too--upper 30's with little wind.

I got started early and did not want to take the time to prepare any meals so breakfast and lunch consisted of granola bars, Pop Tart Swirls, and Snickers. Gatorade was the drink of choice. I'd make a nice dinner but I only have Gatorade now and I don't want to leave my sleeping bag to look for the spring in the dark.

I have to conserve food anyway since I originally planned on 10+ mile days to get me through the park in 6-7 days. At the rate I am traveling, it will take 12-14 days. My food was supposed to last for 10 days and take me to Hot Springs. So I just need to ration what I have. It should not be too hard. I have generous quantities of granola bars and Snickers that I can reassign as meals rather than snacks and my tuna helper mega-meals can be split up. No problem! Once out of the park I can make a 1.3 mile side trip to Mountain Momma's hostel where I can resupply and maybe spend the night and get a shower.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:22:19 EST

Date: 04 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 192.6
Today I am 1.7 miles closer to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Because I am supposed to stay at the shelters to keep bears and me separate, my desintation for today was either here or the next shelter an additional 6.8 miles further. I was not sure whether I could go to the second shelter before it got dark so I picked the easy day. I made the correct choice because the day's steady snowfall turned heavy after I reached this shelter at 5,507 ft. I know at least a couple inches of snow fell between my trips to the spring for water. I had to dig out the snow and frozen dirt in front of the doorway to close the chain link door also. I posed for my camera in front of the snow piles outside and the snow storm.

I tried to make a duct tape repair to my camera case but the tape would not stick. I guess it was too cold.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:27:18 EST

Date: 05 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 198.9
The weather is sunny again. Much additional snow is on the ground from yesterday--perhaps another 4 inches.

I made it to the top of Clingman's Dome (6,643 ft) and took some pictures. I vaguely remember the observation tower from a family vacation years ago. What I thought was Clingman's from afar actually turned out to be a separate peak of the same mountain blocking the view.

I met two intrepid weekenders on my way to the Dome. One of the first things they said was their intention to buy snowshoes. The second thing was how the ranger said "4 inches of snow at Newfound Gap and 7 inches on the ridges." We all had a big laugh at that. Maybe he meant new snow. They also shared my experience of hiking and hiking and hiking and then realizing that you are only two miles further along. I told them that my snowshoes have not made the miles go very fast for me. The snow is mostly too soft.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:32:40 EST

Date: 06 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 204.4
I surpassed 200 AT miles today but did not start out early enough to make it to the shelter again; I'm at Newfound Gap. I was expecting the downhill miles into the gap to be easier than they were allowing for a little higher milage day. I should know better. Big snows bend many of the smaller fir trees over blocking the trail and several large trees had fallen across the trail and required passing under by hands-and-knees or getting down prone and sliding under through the snow. The snow was wet and sticky, too. It kept balling up on my snowshoes.

I met a well-geared dayhiker trying out his snowshoes. He was a nice guy, and happily he packed down the trail ahead of me for .2 miles. That was the best .2 miles of hiking in the park.

While at the Gap here I talked to a few more people. The last was a youthful and friendly trio (2 guys and a girl) out of Knoxville. They passed me two lighters when they found out mine stopped working. Lucky for me because the last couple of days had me counting matches. They have my web and email address now so they can follow along. Hello there if you are reading this! Thanks again for the lighters!

By the way, I weighed my limited options and decided to spend the night here at the gap in a public restroom next to US 441. I hope no rangers are reading this! I would not have made the next shelter so my options were camp out illicitly or sleep here illicitly. This place has running water, so it was not a hard decision. Kudos to the cleaning crew. This place is pretty nice. I wish the heat would turn on though.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:38:55 EST

Date: 07 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 207.4
Awesome day. The trail from the gap to Icewater Spring Shelter is well packed by day hikers. I flew up the mountain. I was going to continue after a short rest, but I was enjoying the conversation with a fellow hiker and a cross country skier.

I was enjoying myself so I decided to relax and give myself some mental R&R. The past few days have been very frustrating and starting to hurt morale.

I'm staying here with Lee the hiker from Florida and two brothers, Danny and Mike, from the Richmond, Virginia area. We have had a good time here. Tomorrow we go our separate ways.

Someone left two cans of tuna and two large cans of soup here as well so I have had some good food tonight and a can of soup for tomorrow.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:14:48 EST

Date: 08 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 214.8
I'm in my sleeping bag and dinner, rotini in mushroom sauce, is cooking right now. This is a good finish to the day. I made it to Pecks Corner Shelter after a long day. The shelter is a half mile off the trail so I really did 7.9 miles today--a personal best for the Smokey Mountains for me. I did arrive well after dark, though.

This morning I said goodbye to Lee, Danny, and Mike. Lee's plans were to hike up Mt. LeConte and stay at a shelter there. It is a little over five miles but he was not sure he could make it because his MSR snowshoes which are smaller than mine were sinking down worse than mine. Danny and Mike were planning on a seven mile loop but did not have gaitors or snowshoes so were unsure whether it could be done. We exchanged email and web addresses so we will find out how we each did.

Danny and Mike also gave me some Slim Jims and 11 ounces of food. Thanks guys! We may hike together one weekend when I get up into Virginia.

Today's hiking seemed easier. The mile to Charlie's Bunion, a large rock outcrop, was packed down. Further on, my snowshoes were holding me up on the snow much better than I have come to expect. The weather is turning warmer, too. Today was 40. This did mean that the snow was wet, though. My boots, socks, and liner socks are soaked.

Tomorrow nights shelter is almost 6 miles away. I hope everything goes okay. Breakfast is freeze-dried three cheese lasagna.

Dinner is done. More tomorrow.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:23:58 EST

Date: 09 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 220.0
Made the shelter tonight. Walking through the snow today is like walking through water. I really have to pull my legs forward. But enough talk and whining about the snow!

Today was clear and 40 again. There weren't too many good views, though. It almost seemed like spring may be on the way with the singing birds and melting snow.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:26:11 EST

Date: 10 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 220.0
I've decided to take a day off here. It is a warm day and there is a nice big pile of firewood outside the shelter. The water source is only 20 feet away, too. Its's in the afternoon now and the fire has been burning for many hours. My shoes, socks, and liners are once more dry and I am in minimal clothes enjoying some cinnamon and spice oatmeal.

I'm not supposed to stay over two nights in the same shelter because they are in high demand but since nobody else is around, I figure that my day off is okay. I doubt I would have made it all the way to the next shelter as late as I woke up anyway.

I am heading to bed early tonight in hopes of rising early in the morning. If all goes well, I shall arrive at Mountain Mommas Kuntry Store and hostel Sunday morning.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:30:35 EST

Date: 11 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 234.8
The snow is melting and down at the lower elevations it is gone. I had an amazing 14.8 mile day today. I did not plan it. I skipped the Cosby Knob Shelter and am staying the night at the Davenport Gap Shelter with only .9 miles of trail left in the GSMNP. It has been a challenge to do the park in the roughest winter weather in years. 13 days since Fontana--I thought I was making a career out of the Smokys.

On to Mountain Mammas tomorrow morning for breakfast, lunch, dinner, resupply, laundry, shower, and to dry gear. I'll spend the night.

Two college guys are here for a weekend hike. We got a small fire going as I write this. I do like the AT shelters in the Smokys with their fire places. This is the good life.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:34:45 EST

Date: 12 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 235.7
Another .9 AT miles into Davenport Gap where I left the Smoky Mountains, made a right on the gravel road and walked the 1.3 miles to Mountain Momma's Kuntry Store.

Just like everywhere else since Neels Gap/Walasi-Y Center, I am the first northbounder to come through this year. I'm going to have to assume that the other three have either left the AT or skipped over this section because of the extreme weather.

My laundry will have to wait another 3-4 days until Hot Springs, NC because the laundry facilities here are out of order. I was told hikers kept trying to wash and dry sleeping bags in the standard size washer and dryer even though the signs stated not to do so. So, the machines kept breaking down. Idiots.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:39:24 EST

Date: 13 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 245.3
It is such a good feeling to be able to hike 1.3 miles back to the AT, then do another 9.6 AT miles most being uphill and still make it to the shelter well before dark. And I must have spent 45 minutes down at the Pigeon River near I-40 talking to a future thruhiker.

The future thruhiker, one Carl Turner, is an avid backpacker biding his time until his son graduates high school in three years. Then they plan on thruhiking together. He just happened to notice a place to pull his 18 wheeler off of I-40 and enjoy the spring-like day by the river. He didn't know the AT crossed the river here and was surprised. Carl, good luck with your future hike!

The temperature was in the 60's today! I shed several articles of clothing after crossing under the interstate and beginning thr trek up Snowbird Mountain. Later, a drizzle followed me for the last two miles. It was a light rain unlike the huge thunderstorm during my stay at Davenport Gap Shelter.

I forgot to mention that one. Unfortunately, the shelter roof had a leak and the foot of my sleeping bag got wet.

Curtis and Kurt stayed here on the 31st of January. I was very surprised to see their names in the shelter register. I don't know how they managed it, especially without anyone seeing them or hearing about them. I guess I'm not the leader of the pack after all. Maybe I'll find out more in Hot Springs 26.2 miles away.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 20:47:05 EST

Date: 14 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 256.6
Rain again last night/this morning. None during the day although there was a bit of hail as I descended Max Patch Mountain. Carl, the backpacking trucker, told me to expect a few more days of this.

Max Patch was cool although I had no views from the summit due to a big, wet cloud blowing across the summit at 50-60 mph. This mountain is grassy on top and the tallest thing around so there was nothing to stop the wind. I was getting knocked around something fierce! Two others made a hasty retreat from the summit as I approached. The temperature was around 40 degrees before windchill. I did get a few cool pictures from below the summit with the Smokys in the background and the dark, nasty cloud overhead.

Coming down from the mountain was a nice change. There was trace amounts of snow and the trail stayed mostly in valleys and crisscrossed various streams and creeks.

I'm debating whether or not I should hike into Hot Springs tomorrow or not. The AT goes right through the town and crosses the French Broad River. It is about 15 miles down the trail. It would be nice to be there tomorrow, but I don't really want to get there in the late afternoon and have the businesses closing up. I'll probably just go 11.7 miles to the next shelter and hike into town the following morning.
Transcribed on:    03-Aug-2000 14:30:35 EDT

Date: 15 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 268.3
Not much to write today. Nice weather - sunny and warm. Did 11.7 miles. Going into Hot Springs after a short day tomorrow. I think I'll stay an extra day too. Dinner tonight is potatoes stroganoff.
Transcribed on:    03-Aug-2000 14:39:58 EDT

Date: 16 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 271.5
I am enjoying the hospitality of Hot Springs. I am showered and every article of clothing I have has been laundered. My sleeping bag (a.k.a. stink cocoon) has been washed, dried, and is hanging outside to get that outdoor fresh scent. I'm staying at the Sunnybank Inn for $12/night. The Inn is a large 160 year old house across the street from the Smoky Mountain Diner.

Today I ate enough food for dinner that I felt full for the first time since starting the AT. I ordered cheesefries and the Mountain Man plate (okra, turnip greens, and high-fat beef sirloin). Back at the inn I quaffed a few brews while swapping stories with two other hikers here. Hurricane Floyd has only 60 AT miles left before he can say that he hiked every AT mile. Old Swampy is truely a hardcore winter hiker. He has hiked the AT in sections. The amazing part is that every section has been a winter hike. This 60+ year old guy has put my own humble efforts in perspective. He has only here to Springer remaining and hopes to finish this year before spring arrives. The three of us spent much time telling of our winter experiences on the trail. It felt good to be able to be on par in such company. I also heard of a small, 20-something, female hiker by the name of Pilot that left her husband behind during her November-March northbound, winter thruhike when he quit the trail. We don't know if she finished or not but she had gotten pretty far when Old Swampy met her.

I also have more information on Kurt and Curtis. The pair stayed here a while back. They skipped over the Smoky Mountains due to the weather. Last anyone heard of them, they were in the Erwin, Tennessee area suffering from Giardia - cramps and diarrhea caused by a water-borne parasite.

I also met Stewball, Panama Red, and his dog Elvis. These are the southbounders that I was told to lookout for while at the Hike Inn. Stewball and I talked for quite a while at Bluff Mountain Outfitters. They have been on the trail 8 months. They have had to skip sections because of weather and snow. Today they are heading a bit north again to hike some make-up miles so I should see them again. I'm glad that I had that chance to learn of the AT conditions to the north. I guess the snowshoes will stay with me for a bit longer.

At the post office, I picked up a nice load of mail. One of the five items was from two former thruhikers, Allison in Wonderland and Pablo. Thank you very much! This package was excellent on so many different levels. It really made my day. These two were not overly enthusiastic about my winter thruhike plans and stressed the cold and the lonliness of the endevour. But I remained resolute and they sent me a 5 pound fire starter log, Bic lighter, and a short story by Jack London titled "To Build a Fire" where the main character freezes to death. The ironic thing is that while battling the cold and snow in the Smokys I thought back to this same story I read so long ago. I even thought about a journal entry I would write describing the day as being out of a Jack London story. I forgot to use that description though.

Well this has not fully described today's experience but it is late and one of the cats is making it difficult to write.

-Hardcore GA->ME 2000
Transcribed on:    03-Aug-2000 15:05:27 EDT

Date: 17 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 271.5 still
Staying over in Hot Springs. Today I'll be doing some email, snail mail, and maybe soaking in the hot springs. Shortly, I will be back at the diner to stuff myself.
Transcribed on:    03-Aug-2000 15:08:52 EDT

Date: 18 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 281.5

I'm writing this by a cozy fire made possible by that 5lb fire log. It would have been tough getting a fire started in this wind but that log and a little bit of stove fuel worked great.

We may get some rain tonight. I'm glad I made it to the shelter at dusk. This was a nice hiking day for me. I started late -- 11 o'clock yet I made it out of the river valley 11 miles. I'm unsure what sort of milege [sic] I want to plan for Saturday.

Not much else noteworthy about today so let me write about two of my phone calls yesterday. After returning to the Sunnybank Inn after taking care of email, I found out that I had a call from one Dan "Wingfoot" Bruce. This Hot Springs denizen is a 7 time thruhiker and AT advocate. He heard from Old Swampy that I was in town and he wanted to get a trail conditions report to pass along to interested hikers. I called him back and we talked for about a half hour or so regarding the AT north and south of Hot Springs. Neither of us learned anything surprising. His website if you are interested is The second phone call is one I made back to the Hike Inn at Fontana to talk to Jeff and Nancy. I wanted to let them know I am still in the game and tell them how I found the Smokeys. They were glad to hear from me and told me about a big rescue around Clingman's Dome. The park service had to rescue a group caught at night unable to make it to the next shelter and no shelter of their own. The problem was made worse because the park service couldn't get back to them even with the road to Clingmans. The National Guard had to bring in a tracked vehicle to extract the bunch and that was 24 hours later. See, I wasn't exaggerating about the conditions!

I'm through with my tea and my journal for the night. Time to watch the fire burn down and pull out my sleeping bag.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 14:06:52 EST

Date: 19 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 290.1
Wet today and back down in the 30's. By the end of the day things including my gear were turning icy. Most of the day I spent hiking in some low clouds covering the mountains.

The wet and rain this morning meant I took my time getting started. The rain did stop by the time I began hiking at least.

I crossed paths with Stewball again. We took a short break to talk some more. He was headed to the shelter I just departed, and I to his where Panama Red was taking a day off. I am there now with Panama Red, Elvis his dog, two weekenders and their two dogs.

I'm hoping for good weather and an early start in the morning. I want to try for a 15+ mile day.

Panama Red passed on an interesting bit of info to me today that I did not know. Backpacking is about 360 calories an hour and doing it in snowshoes adds another 100 calories. This would explain the 15-20 pound weight loss thus far.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 14:07:58 EST

Date: 20 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 302.7
I finished up with over 300 AT miles today. And today was another good hiking day. This morning I left Panama Red but may be seeing him and Stewball again before long. They will be staying back at Hot Springs today before doing another section they missed north of Erwin.

the clouds cleared in the second half of the day and I managed a few views into Tennessee. I also viewed three gravesites on the trail one of which is a trio of ambushed Union soldiers. Lots of history in this area.

I hiked into the shelter after dark again to find a fire already going and two locals, Steve and Al, cooking dinner. This pair was out just for overnight so had lots of food, dring, etc that they generously shared with this thruhiker. This sort of behaviour is known to AT hikers as "Trail Mag[illegible]". It was flowing this night.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 14:08:42 EST

Date: 21 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 311.4
Took my time this morning and left with Al, Steve, and Sash the dog. Al passed me some soup, deer jerkey, and a pair of airplane-sized liquors left over from last night. Whoo Hoo! We had a smokin' good time and have plans to meet up in a couple of weeks for another outing when I am around Damascus, Virginia. I hope we do. Two more people to follow my journey online also.

Hiking up from the road where they parked turned out to be tough. It was not quite three miles but the elevation gain was over 1,500 feet with most of it in the first mile. The day was nice though and I got to see the remains of an old homestead in the valley I was ascending and two more graves.

Tomorrow is a ten mile day with a hike up Big Bald near the end. I should have some great 360o views from the top.

The shelter mice are coming out. All my interesting stuff will be hanging soon.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 14:09:31 EST

Date: 22 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 321.5
A little bit of rain this morning but it stopped by the time I started hiking. Using these shelters has spoiled me. I don't have to pack/ unpack my tent and my tent never gets wet. It won't be too much longer until I have to give them up as my mileage increases.

I hauled down off of Hogback ridge and crossed US23, a road I;m familiar with up north. I have paddled under it; now I have hiked over it. I stayed motivated and the hill miles to the summit of Big Bald went quickly. The view made me wish for film in my camera. I got a good look at the multiple ridges and mountains that I have already crossed. Put in that context, the scene was amazing. The route ahead of me looks much easier but only time will tell. I'm fairly sure I say Erwin TN from Big Bald at 5,516 ft. I'll be there in a day and a half. I hope to meet Stewball and Panama Red there as they finish the Roan to Erwin section that they had to skip earlier.

I was doing well on time so I took my pack off and got to enjoy the summit properly. It is gratifying to look at the map and then look up and identify the mountains I will be crossing soon. The summit was a good spot to devour that deer jerky too.

Now I'm about a mile off the summit at the shelter. This is a good one with an overhang and two levels of bunks. Scalloped potatoes are simmering now and in a bit I will mix up some heated Tang and peach moonshine as a nightcap. Let's see, I could be doing this or be at work . . .

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 14:12:06 EST

Date: 23 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 338.3
The miles came easy today - well until the last 2 which felt like I wandered onto a mobius strip. 16.8 miles makes this my highest milage [sic] day on the AT yet.

Today's hiking included a departure from the TN/ NC line. First, descending from the forested Little Bald the AT turned eastward into North Carolina and the Pisgah National Forest. Then after just a few miles the trail turned westward and entered Tenesse and the Cherokee National Forest. Both areas contained numerous small stream crossings and views of the valleys. The trail most often wound along the mountainside with short, 50-200 ft, ups and downs. I got to walk among a lot of evergreens too.

Tonight and tomorrow night I am staying at Uncle Johnny's Nolichucky Hostel on the banks of the Nolichuck River at approximately 1,700 feet above sea level. Tomorrow I have planned a small shopping expedition to resuppy, an email stop at the library, a shower, and a visit to either (or maybe both) La Hacienda restaurant or Pizza Plus All You Can Eat Buffet. I had two Calzones deliverd from Pizza Plus tonight. Yummy. Some other activities may develop yet for tomorrow.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 14:12:44 EST

Date: 24 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 338.3
"Uncle Johnny", my agent, scheduled a busy morning for me. At 8:30 he brought in my laundered clothes and let me know that my morning interview with the newspaper, the Erwin Record, was in a half hour. At 10:15 the news reporter from the local radio station was coming over for my radio interview. The first north bounder is a bit of a celebrity in these parts, for a day at least. So I gave the public what it craves: Glenn, Glenn, and more Glenn. I'm just surprised that it took 27 years to be recognized as an American icon.

I'll be leaving shortly for Erwin's Pizza Plus lucnh buffet and to take care of my other errands. Sometime tomorrow I'll be heading back into the wild for another 4-5 days when I'll make a visit to Roan Mountain, TN to pick up my next supply drop at the P.O.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 14:13:31 EST

Date: 25 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 349.1

I left the hostel probably around noon for the ten mile trip to his water source and campsite. for fuel my body burned an excellent breakfast of papas rellanos and nachos from La Hacienda. definitely go there if you are ever around Erwin.

It was hot today and I hiked up from the Nolichucky river in shorts and shirt only. I haven't been able to do that in over a month. The trail tended to be uphill but it was fairly easy walking.

Stewball greeted me on Beauty Spot, another semi-bald mountain. He was planning on another 6 miles when we talked at sunset so he'll be using his headlamp for a few hours. Today is a 21 mile day for him. Panama Red is a shelter behind so I'll get to see him again tomorrow.

I'm laying out under the stars just south of the summit of Beauty spot. It's dark and clear with a little wind. The stars are fantastic tonight. I have a beautiful ceiling tonight. Good night.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 14:39:41 EST

Date: 26 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 363.4

I awoke with dawn to a fairly warm but windy day. Breakfast consisted of tea and some Uncle Ben's rice.

Unaka mountain was not as bad a climb as I anticipated. The red spruce on the summit made for a cool and dark mountain top too. Here I met three hikers scouting out a ten mile section of trail for a Carolina Mountain Club day hike later. Their dog was a big mooch.

Panama Red and Elvis made their final appearance (from my perspective) today. He couldn't talk long and wished each other good luck. He also told me of a hiker ahead low on resources.

I'm here now at the shelter where Trailblazer had a fire going. Trailblazer is the hiker Panama Red mentioned. This is my chance to give some trail magic of my own and lighten my food bag at the same time. He is a nice guy and has met some of the same hikers as I have. We even talked about one Gypsy Wind, Stewball, and Panama Red among others. He is headed 6.4 miles north tomorrow while I hope for a bit over 12.

I also saw Bob Peoples from the Kincora Hiking Hostel with a group doing trail maintenance. He informed me of trail conditions and weather (rain) and really wants me to stop by his hostel. I am just about convinced even though it wasn't something I had planned.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 14:47:49 EST

Date: 27 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 375.8

This is my last night in North Carolina. Today I leave the border to cross over Hump Mountain in NC but then leave the state at last for Tennessee where I will be hiking for a few more days.

The day has been cold and wet. When it not raining water was steadily dripping from the trees. The trail was icy and snowy on the north side of Roan Mountain and I took a bad fall but my backpack absorbed the blow. Later the trail became muddy.

Roan Mountain was a great climb. It was about a three mile hike in the clouds and drizzle that gained 2,200-2,300 feet of altitude. That was my last time above 6,000 feet until Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. I also got to see some history as it was the site of the Cloudland Hotel and there is a little bit of the stonework remaining. The Cloudland was a popular resort during the late 1800's and early 1900's.

After Roan I made great time. The trail was tough in sections being badly eroded and filled in with snow and wet leaves. The rain continued. Round Bald and Jane Bald were some nice rolling hills. These were truly bald as well unlike some of the others. The wind was fierce though and a low cloud was racing over the summitts [sic]. The wind disappeared when I descended and got close to my destination.

I'm spending the night at Yellow Mountain Gap in a renovated barn. This is an awesome shelter. I'll be sure to get some pictures before I leave. There is a great view into the valley too. It is named the Overmountain shelter in honor of the Overmountain men of the Revolutionary War who used Bright's Trace which intersects the AT here on their way to victory over the loyalists at Kings Mountain.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 13:11:55 EST

Date: 28 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: 384.0

I certainly took my time today. This morning was cold, overcast, and muddy. I decided to wait and hope for more comfortable weather. The clouds blew away by midday when I started hiking.

Little Hump and Hump Mountain are rather high balds and truly bald. The view was great but the wind gusts kept knocking me around and the wind passed through my two layers of fleece. the sun felt good between the gusts and I sheltered behind some rocks on Hump Mountain for a lunch of Cherry Pop Tarts and orange drink. After the two Humps the trail was all downhill and in Tennessee. Goodbye North Carolina.

Descending Hump Mountain I met Witt Langstaff on his way up to take some pictures of the Putnam Gravel which plans to strip mine some land near the AT. The AT is a National Scenic Trail though and has several laws designed to keep it scenic. The group he is part of is working with the Appalachian Trail Conference, Wingfoot, and the government to halt the mining which has already begun. He also got a few pictures of me standing next to a trail marker with the mine in the background and sitting on a rock outcrop with the mountains in the background. The latter will be sent to me if it turns out nice. Thanks Witt!

I'm close to US 19 E. I'll be hitching a ride west to Roan Mountain, TN to pick up my maildrop. Let's hope "Dread Pirate" Steve has proven reliable in sending my package.

Transcribed on:    ??-Mar-2000 13:22:10 EST

Date: 29 Feb 2000
AT milepoint: ?
This morning I turned left onto US 19E and started walking to town with my thumb out. Finally someone pulls over and guess who steps out? Witt, the photographer I met on Hump Mountain! He was happy to take me to the P.O. and then he took me over to Elk Park, NC and dropped me off at the Country House Restaurant. Too bad he couldn't stay for breakfast with me. The waitress must have seen hikers before because she did not seem at all surprised when I ordered two breakfasts. While I ate and went through my mail, the cold temperature turned into some hot weather.

After leaving the restaurant, I soon shed most of my clothes. I must have been some sight hiking down the trail in my wicking pants and shirtless with my palid torso in stark contrast to my sunburned face. Two section hikers that arrived at Uncle Johnny's looked the same but without the sunburned faces though when we met up.

Tonight I'm laying out next to a creek. Dinner was Pap Tart Pastry Swirls, and I'll likely have the rest of them for breakfast. I want to get moving early and quickly after waking I'm not certain how far I walked today, but I probably have 11-12 miles to do tomorrow in order to stay at one of the hostels. The miles shouldn't be a big deal, but I want to arrive with plenty of time to shower and do laundry before hanging out and relaxing with Bob and his wife.
Transcribed on:    03-Aug-2000 17:01:54 EDT

generated 03-Aug-2000 17:58:20 EDT

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