Trail Journal

Date: November 4 2000
Trail Day: 157
Miles Today: 15
Location: Jefferson West
Section Mile: AT 1674
ECT Mile: 2373

Late last night AYCE also showed up at the place after a 40 mile day ! Today morning me and Mr. Zip decided to do an early breakfast and went to the Street Car cafe at 6:00 AM. It was closed. We decided to leave our pack back at "The Place" and go to another breakfast place. Moondance and AYCE were already up and joined us.

The first 5 miles of the trail were a climb. Crossed into Tennessee after about 3 miles. Took a photo at the border. This is now my 14th state. After the climb the hike was quite easy. Got to US 421 at about 1:30. Mr. White, Moondance, Mr. Blond and Mr. Pink then showed up. We waited for a while for Sabrina's friends - Marriette and Lena. We then drove in the wrong direction for a while before finding the right way.

The party was quite fun. It was also one of the other guest's birthday. So they had a stripper ! It was fun. We had dinner and drank the beer. Me, Alice (Mariette's sister) and Sam (Alice's room-mate) were up till 2:30 AM finishing the beer and talking about politics, religion and abortion. They are bright young women.

Date: November 5 2000
Trail Day: 158
Miles Today: 0
Location: Low Gap
Section Mile: AT 1674
ECT Mile: 2373

A typical after party morning. Every one was slow. We had breakfast, took some shots and left. By about 1:00 PM we were on the trail. I decided to take a nap and do a O day today in the wilderness. Should be a fairly cold night.

Date: November 6 2000
Trail Day: 159
Miles Today: 24
Location: Near Watauga Dam
Section Mile: AT 1698
ECT Mile: 2397

It was cold last night - 25 F although I slept quite warm. I have found that its warmer to sleep outside on the leaves than in the shelters. The floor of the shelter is raised above the ground and tends to cool quickly whereas the leaves dont.

Not too many elevation changes today. So it was a good hike. Continued to have water problems. Most of the springs are dry. We certainly need some rain.

It now loooks like Firebreather's group of 4 and the Mister's group of 4 and Mr. Zip are a few miles ahead of me. I should be able to catch them up tomorrow. There is a good possibility that me and the Firebreather group will get to Springer within a few days of each other.

I was trying to get to Watauga Lake Shelter (another 1 mile) but decided against it because most probably all the 9 ahead of me are at the shelter and I will have to sleep out anyway.

Got water from the dam via a rocky, sliding 50 ft walk. Tarping tonight as it looks like it will rain. I have not heard the pitter-patter of rain on my tarp in a long time and miss it.

Date: November 7 2000
Trail Day: 160
Miles Today: 12
Location: Kinkora Hostel
Section Mile: AT 1710
ECT Mile: 2409

It rained last night but I slept quite dry. Hiked about a mile to the Watauga Lake shelter. Mr Pink, Mr White and Mr Blond were there. It looks like there were 10 hikers there last night and 4 had to sleep outside. Good thing I did not go there last night.

Had a good climb up Pond flats. We are now seeing less switch backs. I think we are slowly transitioning to the sharp ups and downs of Georgia. Got to Laurel Fork Shelter where I saw Moondance, George, Sweet Cicily, Fall Girl and Firebreather. We then hiked the remaining 3 miles together to the Kinkora hostel. Made today a short day. Today is also a very important day for me - I cross the half way point of my hike.

We decided to make a Mexican community meal. Went shopping and came back with about 30 bags of groceries. Mr Pink, White and Blond were also at the hostel. I bought the ice cream to celebrate my half way point. We had a good dinner and dessert. Listened to some of the election news and played scrabble. This is a very nice hostel run by an ex-military gentleman. It is very comfortable and cozy.

Cooking 1
Cooking 2

Date: November 8 2000
Trail Day: 161
Miles Today: 20
Location: Apple House Shelter
Section Mile: AT 1730
ECT Mile: 2429

Firebreather, FallGirl and I made pan cakes today morning. This was the first time cooking them although they are very similar to Dosai (South Indian dish) and Injira (Ethiopian dish). Mr. Zip will be doing a 13 mile slack pack north bound back to the hostel while all the others will be doing a 20 mile slack pack. Me, being a self righteous purist :) will continue on as normal.

Met Mr. Zip, Mr. White, Mr. Pink, Mr. Blond and then the group of 4 (Firebreather, FallGirl, Sweet Cicily and George) George was listenting to the radio and said we wont know about the election results till tomorrow.

The first 10 miles went quick but the second 10 miles were very slow. I would have stopped sooner but had no water. Met Grinder at the shelter. He is a 53 year old gentleman who is doing a section from Delaware Water Gap to Hot Springs. Accidentally left some food on the floor and one of the mice got into it.

A View

Date: November 9 2000
Trail Day: 162
Miles Today: 20
Location: Clyde Smith Shelter
Section Mile: AT 1750
ECT Mile: 2449

Today was a very wet day. It started off dry but started raining within half an hour. Started off with a long climb. The top was a bald and the wind was strong enough to push me around. I had to walk at a 70 degree angle leaning forwards and sideways to prevent myself getting blown over. The rain was pelting and was quite painful sometimes.

It was so cold and my fingers so numb I did not make any register entries. The correspondence between the maps and the few signs on the trail is very poor - I could not tell where I was on the trail at several places. I was planning on stopping at High Knob shelter but never found it. I knew I had missed it when I started doing a long descent. Decided to head to the next shelter another 6 miles out. I know that the Firebreather group was planning on staying at the High Knob Shelter. These are not good conditions to "explore" the territory.

Grinder was at the shelter. Cooked dinner, ate and got comfortable in my sleeping bag.

A View
Another View

Date: November 10 2000
Trail Day: 163
Miles Today: 21
Location: Curley Maple Gap Shelter
Section Mile: AT 1771
ECT Mile: 2470

Rained a lot last night. Conditions were ideal for hypothermia in the morning - 40 degree F and wet. Getting out of the sleeping bag into my wet clothes, socks and shoes was a torture. My socks were full of water and because of the cold temperature my feet became numb in a few seconds. Also started hiking with no gloves. So my hands were numb and cold also. It took me about 2 hours to warm up to a comfortable degree. The first hour was a torture.

Met Grinder about 6 miles into the hike. He has worked for the Emergency Medical System and is quite knowledgeable about hypothermia. He was very concerned and worried about it when we had started in the morning.

We decided to hike the remaining 12 miles or so to the shelter. The sun showed up briefly for 5 seconds or so in the entire day. Got to the shelter and immediately got into dry clothes and my sleeping bag, cooked, ate and fell asleep

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