Trail Journal

Date: November 23 2000
Trail Day: 176
Miles Today: 0
Location: Dave's house, Georgia
Section Mile: AT 1957
ECT Mile: 2658

Thanks Giving day. It was quite busy. Everyone was quite busy preparing while I sat and watched TV. The guests started arriving at about 3:00 pm. There were 12 or so in all. It was a good feast. I think this Thanks Giving is one when I was trully thankful. It felt good to be out of the cold, to sleep in a warm bed, have good food etc. Went to bed at about 10:00 pm.

Shot I
Shot II
Shot III
Shot IV
Shot V
Shot VI

Date: November 24 2000
Trail Day: 177
Miles Today: 0
Location: Dave's house, Georgia
Section Mile: AT 1957
ECT Mile: 2658

Another 0 day. Dave drove me to Highlands and Cashier's. I bought a sleeping pad. I was loosing a lot of heat through my back. This should help. A relaxing day.

Date: November 25 2000
Trail Day: 178
Miles Today: 0
Location: Dave's house, Georgia
Section Mile: AT 1957
ECT Mile: 2658

Decided to take another 0 day. The weather was supposed to be very cold and wet. The system however passed fairly quickly and things looked better by noon. I will be back on the trail tomorrow.

I am now back in shape. I have rested well and eaten a lot. I hope I did not shock the others by eating so much. Ann is also a very good cook. Thanks Dave and Ann for having me over for Thanks Giving - This was a break I needed badly.

Also a note on their cat - Precious. She is an unusual cat that really grows on you. She is slightly long, is almost black with some grey/yellow. She becomes extremely active at about 7:00 am and runs around full blast. It's almost like a cartoon where you cannot see the cat but only hear the sounds of the damage she leaves, because she is so fast. I did not like cats before the trail. But on the trail I have played with some and have become quite fond of them. Precious is now my favorite cat.

Date: November 26 2000
Trail Day: 179
Miles Today: 11
Location: Brown Fork Gap Shelter
Section Mile: AT 1968
ECT Mile: 2669

Got up, had a good breakfast and was back on the trail by about noon. Thanks again Dave and Ann.

Started off with a long climb. Met Firebreather and Fall Girl at the first shelter. It was nice to see them again. We exchanged Smoky horror stories. It looks like the cold and Thanks Giving has delayed most hikers. I was expecting at least 10 to be ahead of me now but only 2 are.

Stopped at Brown Fork Gap Shelter and had some Indian food. It was very good.

Date: November 27 2000
Trail Day: 180
Miles Today: 17
Location: Nantahala Outdoor Center
Section Mile: AT 1985
ECT Mile: 2686

Slept well last night. The temperature remained just above freezing. I am really liking the sleeping pad. Its only 4 feet and I will get a 6 ft one at the Nantahala Outdoor Center later today.

Stopped for a while at Sassafrer Gap Shelter. Its an old shelter and looks bad. I had been out of water most of the day. There was a good spring near the shelter and I drank to my heart's content.

Then came a climb to Cheooh Bald. The trail did not run through any significant bald areas. Saw 4 or 5 camp sites there, which would be usable only during spring or summer.

A small up and then a long and slow descent to the Nantahala river. There are 3 restaurants here all of which are closed for the winter. I was lucky to make it in before the resort closed. Got a bunk space, bought a 6 ft sleeping pad and got a ride to a nearby convenience store from the lady who made the registration. The store had only 1 plastic bag in which they tried to stuff too many things. It had a huge hole by the time I got back but nothing fell out.

This is a very nice place. I have now eaten and am ready for bed.

Only 130 miles more to Springer moutain. I am now done with elevations beyond 6000 ft. Once I cross Standing Indian mountain (5500 ft) in a few days I will also be done with 5000 footers - I think I will have 4000 footers till I clear Georgia - another 350 miles or so. Alabama only has 2000 footers. I am now quite eager to get out of the mountains before the real winter sets in. As it is I cleared the Smokies by the skin of my teeth. Looks like I will complete the AT on the 7th of December.

Date: November 28 2000
Trail Day: 181
Miles Today: 16
Location: Near Licklog Gap
Section Mile: AT 2001
ECT Mile: 2702

The NOC center was fabulous. Got a slightly late start. Most of the day seemed to be an unending climb. The shelters now are poorly built/maintained. Two were also missing registers.

I was planning on doing a 20 or so mile day but became tired near a nice flat camping spot. Decided to tarp. Had a night visitor at about mid night. It was either a racoon or a skunk - black with white stripes and a very bushy tail. I tried to shoo it away but it came back. It was so close I could have touched it. My photon light seemed to have absolutely no effect on it. I gave it a good whack with my hiking pole and it ran away.

The temperature over night rose to about 45 from 32 F. Rained for maybe 30 seconds.

Date: November 29 2000
Trail Day: 182
Miles Today: 21
Location: Big Spring Shelter
Section Mile: AT
ECT Mile:

Got an early start today. It was fairly warm when I started. I had to collect all the scattered trash - thanks to last night's visitor. It started raining within half an hour of starting. Some places at higher elevations still have bits and pieces of snow and ice. My pack cover would not fit over the sleeping pad. I had to tear it and somehow make it fit - I will have to buy a new one. I dont even know if they sell anything this large. One of my shoe lace is also in bad shape. I had tried to thaw my shoe using my alcohol stove in the Smokies. The lace was a casualty.

Today's section was somewhat easier and I managed the 20 miles. There is now a chance that I will not see any thru hikers. The closest ahead are a day in front - Firebreather and Fall Girl are slowing down for Sweet Cicily and George and hence wont be able to catch up to me.

I am now less than 100 miles from Springer and am quite excited

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