Wednesday, April 6, 2016

AND WE ARE ROLLING!



While the guys were out hiking the Appalachian Trail I was able to tackle a few things I wanted to do. I got some reading in but not as much as I wanted. Did some hiking with Jett. I watched the LONG, LONG TRAILER three times. And I got some of my own hammock time in. There were two perfectly placed trees right behind the Airstream on the edge of the creek. The view and sounds from there were spectacular and tranquil. 


One thing I did discover while there was the new Ingels Grocery store in Blairsville. I've been in them before. But never have I been in one this nice. I always brag on our local Publix because they rock. However if this place comes to town look out. 




Tim and Alan are now anxious to get home. They need to finish their notes from their adventure. They will be unpacking backpacks and figuring out again what is essential. What did they use or not? What did they eat or not. What do they still need to purchase? I did a little photo comparison along their way. What I like best is that they are still smiling in the end. 

TWO DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE

MORNING OF DEPARTURE AT SPRINGER MNT. SUMMIT 

DAY OF DEPARTURE FROM BASE OF SPRINGER MNT. 

FOUR DAYS INTO HIKE UNDER SHOE TREE AT NEELS GAP

I'll need to tweak Tim's food. I sent him with too much he says. I spent months gathering all the supplies for his meals. My thought was that I'd rather send him off knowing what ingredients were in his food and cut back on the processed food as much as possible. Freeze dried items played a big role in each of his meals. I'd rather it be too much than not enough. Ounces equals pounds!



With Tim and Alan having come off the trail a few days early and with my terrible upper respiratory infection we've decided head home early today. I'll be off to the doctor first thing in the morning. Tim and I will be idle for the next three weeks then we are off again. 


The next adventure takes us to some new locations and one location we have visited in the past. All of the next adventure will be a bit touristy, water oriented and along the eastern coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

THERES A SUNRISE AND SUNSET EVERYDAY ...

 
You can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty. 

VOGEL CAMP STORE WITH BLOOD MOUNTAIN IN BACKGROUND 

This is my favorite quote from the movie WILD. To me it means to slow the roll. You are in control of your life. Be present and don't allow the outside world or others to have influence on your daily life. 


I totally get this way of thinking. Especially being out in the wilderness. And Tim and Alan get it as well probably even more so. They both, more than ever now, want to plan a Thru-Hike. Alan says it's the best experience he has had in many years. Tim says it was definitely a life changing experience. Both want to be back on the trail now. 

They both feel physically good after their hike. Tim only has one blister. Alan's shoulders are a little sore from his pack. It's not a cakewalk by any means. You must have the mind set to make a Thru-Hike happen. For those continuing on there is much harder ahead ... the rocks in Pennsylvania, The Whites and the 100 Mile Wilderness. Plus another 2,170+ miles not to mention sideways miles. That's another story in itself. 


What Tim and Alan speak most of is the Trail Magic. They received it three times during their four days. The 'bus' stop was the most interesting. You never know when it's going to happen but when it does, it's the best thing ever in that moment. It's not that those on the trail can't afford it, it's that they can only carry essentials. Remembering that ounces equals pounds everything adds up and that includes food and water.


They met many Thru-Hikers during their four day journey. These hikers ranged in physical ability, age, size and experience. We are hoping to meet up with a few more later today. The plan is to get some Trail Magic together and head out to Unicoi Gap. Just passing it forward from those who gave to Tim and Alan. 

UNICOI GAP

Giving out Trail Magic today was awesome. We met Thru-Hikers from Boston, N.C., Nebraska and even Hawaii! Jett got in on the action as well. Everyone misses their pups back home so they all get some puppy love from her. 


I met my favorite Thru-Hiker yet. Her trail name is Special K. She is fourteen and hiking it alone ... by herself. Her mom is never far traveling by RV. Meeting her at crossroads when possible to re-supply. Your mom is so proud of you. I look up to you and respect every ounce of your desire to achieve this huge goal. If your reading this Special K big hugs to you. Smooches from Jett. Be safe. Enjoy your adventure my friend! I'll think of you often. 



Monday, April 4, 2016

LANCE CREEK TO NEELS GAP



NOTES FROM BASE CAMP


Jett looks so peaceful and cuddly when she sleeps. Which is how I left her when I went to get my shower Sunday night . On my return she had read an entire cookbook. 


NOTES FROM THE TRAIL


Upon departing Gooch Mountain Shelter Sunday morning at 2,789' Tim and Alan continued in elevation gain. Passing Liss Gap at 3,052', Ramrock Mountain at 3,222', Suches at 2,824' to finally reach Lance Creek at 2,865'. Blood Mountain is still on the horizon at 4,459'. 


Monday around 1pm they summited Blood Mountain. From there it's just downhill to Mountain Crossings. Tim was able to get a call out to me from there at which point I loaded Jett up in the truck and off we went. Around 2:45 they landed in Neels Gap at Mountain Crossings. 


Jett and I were able to meet more Thru-Hikers while we waited for their arrival. Handing out water and Cokes to take up time. And then we saw them cross the road coming toward us. Jett was very excited to see the boys. I got a few stills and one hiker filmed their long awaited meeting. The hiker is going to try to email me the video. Jett really missed the boys!


This will conclude their hike for this trip on the A.T. We will be here a few more days at base camp. I see more Trail Magic in our future for tomorrow and I hope to compile a few stories from them and get a few more pictures from their adventure as well. 


Sunday, April 3, 2016

GOOCH MOUNTAIN SHELTER


NOTES FROM BASE CAMP

Saturday night was rough. The wind whipped down the holler we are camped in with avengence. I think the sustained winds were 17 mph but the gusts were insane. You could hear them coming before they hit. At just after 11:30 pm I decided it best to get up go outside and put all the awnings up. Good thing. Just after midnight we had a few gusts probably in excess of 50 mph. So strong they rocked the Airstream. 


I decided to stay close to base camp Sunday just incase the guys needed something as they are nearing the area. Now that I'm fighting a cold I made a quick run to the camp store and got a few essentials to get me by until I can get back into town. Then after lunch Jett and I hiked from the park on Bear Hair Trail up to the Vogel Overlook. It's close to a 3,000' elevation up there. Spectacular!!! As soon as we got back to base camp she passed out. That was her longest steepest hike here. 

VOGEL OVERLOOK

The lake in the picture above is Lake Trahlyta that we all hiked around last week. 

NOTES FROM THE TRAIL

I just got two pictures from the trail! 
 
TIM ON THE A.T.

Saturday the guys passed over Hawk and Justus Mountains and through Horse Gap, Cooper Gap, Phyllis Spur and Devils Kitchen to land at the Gooch Mountain Shelter. Looks like it's near one of the road crossings I passed getting them there on the forestry road. 

A.T. CAMP

Elevations ranged from 3,081' at the start of their day to 2,681' at Horse Gap to 3,219' at Justus Mountain and 2,789' at Gooch Mountain Shelter. Blood Mountain still lies ahead at 4,459'.


Tim and Alan did 9.6 miles total! They landed at Gooch Mountain Shelter for Saturday night. They had a rough night as well. Exposed to the elements they had little sleep as well. The wind was extreme where they were as well. A branch fell on Alan's tent during the night. He is fine. At least there was no rain. 


Interesting story ... Remember the Georgia outdoor group that did Trail Magic for Tim and Alan their first night out on the trail? Well the groups name is actually Georgia Adventure Group. This morning as I was putting the awnings out one of the guys visiting the camp site next door came up to me. I thought he was going to offer help maybe. Anyway he asked if my husbands name was Tim and if he was hiking with a guy named Alan out on the A.T.?!


Whaaaat?! Here this guys name was Jim and he was the guy who use to work for the Atlanta Fire Department. And was a part of the Trail Angels who did Trail Magic for them Friday night. What are the chances that his buddies would be camping next to us? Such a small world! 


Saturday, April 2, 2016

TRAIL MAGIC



NOTES FROM BASE CAMP:

Saturday became my first full day alone at base camp with Jett. It's amazing how the time flies and here I was concerned with being bored. First up Jett and I walked out to the Primitive Camp in the park. It's only accessible by foot. There's a quite large pavilion, a sleep shelter and a privy up there. And of course I forgot to take pictures. :-(


When we returned to base camp I decided to take Jett into town to the local dog park. Poor girl hasn't been off leash to run in a few days. The dog park was not worth the effort. First no dogs, it's not much larger than a campsite, it's on a steep hill, no water, no grass ... Only rocks, dry mud and exposed roots from the trees. Jett made the most of it with a ball she found and she ran figure eights. 


As I was leaving a guy walking by with his dog told me that there's a dry lake bed on the river further in the park. Since Jett and I only had time to kill we headed out there. It was very pretty and if we have time once Tim and Alan are back I may take her back there to swim. 


NOTES FROM THE TRAIL:

I received a text from Tim last night and a call from him this morning. Their first night out was good. Tim is sleeping in a hammock and just needs two good trees. Alan is sleeping in a tent needing a small flat parcel. Their plan was to stop over night at 8.1 miles at the Hawk Mountain Shelter. When they arrived at the 6.2 mile where the A.T. Crosses a dirt road they found Trail Angels offering Trail Magic. 

There was a group of people from a local Georgia outdoors club set up handing out food. One of the guys was a firefighter from Atlanta. They all got to talking and they talked Tim and Alan into staying the night there with them. Tim has tried to send pictures from the trail but signal is just not strong enough. Fingers crossed he will get one to me. 

Trail Magic comes in many forms. It could be people cooking food trail side and handing out hot drinks. Someone stopping and giving donuts or pizza out. It could be that someone leaves a cooler of beer for the hikers. It could be a size fourteen hiking boots magically left behind at a cross point. 

While I was in town I stopped at the local Chic-fil-a. I had a plan! I bought eight sandwiches and bottles of waters. I knew of a place north of Helen, Georgia where the Appalachian Trail crosses Hwy. 17. Nine years ago Tim and I parked at this crossing called Unicoi Gap. It was here where we took our first hike on the A.T. And where we fell in love with hiking. 


I thought I would have to wait for Thru-Hikers to arrive. When Tim and I had been there before it was just us and one other guy waiting on his son who was Thru-Hiking from Maine to Georgia. When I pulled around the bend the lot was FULL of cars belonging to Day Hikers. Then with a look to the main sign there sat six Thru-Hikers! 


There by the sign I met them all. They had all just met each other with the exception of the young married couple and had been on the trail about five to six days now. They were from all over ... North Carolina, Virginia, Maine.  I only got one trail name ... The Pharmacist. Named because he has all kinds of vitamins and meds in his backpack. When I asked if they wanted hot chicken sandwiches from Chic-fil-a they of course all said YES. As I handed out my Trail Magic I truly felt like a Trail Angel. These guys and gals had not had a hot meal in two days. It was my best day and the best $40 I've ever spent.  


I took all their excess trash they were carrying, empty water bottles, sandwich wrappers and wished them safe travels ...

Friday, April 1, 2016

WOLF PEN GAP AND SUCHES

BLAIRSVILLE 

On Thursday the rain came and stayed. We spent the day inside and under the awning of the Airstream. Our breakfast was very tasty - Big Al's Famous Waffles! Tim and Alan unpacked and repacked their backpacks a few more times checking each necessary item. Jett and I in the mean time took short walks in the park when the rain was light. 


The guys decided they needed one more trip to Mountain Crossings. While there we watched another backpack shakedown. The guys that do these are so knowledgeable. I learned a few interesting things and the value of going as light as you can on a hike. Ounces equals pounds. 


The Mountain Crossings historic stone building had taken on an entirely different look than the day prior. Now shrouded in fog and mist it gave off quiet a tranquil feeling. However the shoe tree was very eerie looking. 



Once done with the outfitter's store we went back into Blairsville for an early dinner. Then decided to run out to find the start of the forestry road we needed to take to get them to the start of hiking the A.T. We went through Wolf Pen Gap and found the little forestry road near the small town of Suches, GA. It takes thirty minutes to get to that point from base camp then another hour down that road to get to their destination. Once we found it we turned around and headed back to base camp at Vogel State Park. 


Thursday night left us all with not much sleep. It rained all night. Then was still raining at daybreak Friday morning. Their departure was delayed by a few hours to let the weather clear. 


Sure enough it took us 1 1/2 hours to get to the parking lot at the base of Springer Mountain Friday morning. Once we began driving down that forestry road it turned into a muddy gravel road for the next 20 (twenty) miles. The twenty miles takes one hour to drive going 20 to 25 mph. It's a very winding, steep NARROW road with hairpin turns. The weather had cleared and was 58* when we arrived.  


Jett and I hiked up to the summit of Springer Mountain with Tim and Alan. The view was gorgeous. There were a few folks up there beginning their journey as well. Most of them 'Thru Hiking' to Maine. Thirty-three had begun so far just today! To be official you must hike the mile to the summit of Springer Mountain to get to the official start of the A.T. Once there you turn around to hike the mile back down the mountain to the parking lot and keep going. This is where the guys picked their backpacks up on their way back thru and this is where Jett and I departed from them to return back to base camp.  


I will update the blog as I hear from them.  Hopefully they will get signal at some point. Also I'm hoping I can follow their progress on Alan's GPS. When I was out there today I had mostly NO SERVICE on my iPhone. Off grid they are! Wish I could have gone along too!!!