August 25, 2017 will mark my return to the Appalachian Trail. I’m starting in Gorham, NH and hiking for about 300 miles north through Maine. I’ll finish the hike on Mt. Katahdin, the northern terminus of the trail around September 15. Updates to follow!
A great time was had by all on our Thanksgiving week at Davis Mountains State Park. I needed a little time in my hammock, so I built a modified turtle dog stand (thanks HammockForums.net). We had a great hike from the campgrounds to Fort Davis National Historic Site, then a stop at the Drug Store in town for lunch.
I posted the hike video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfStICtKvTA.
The family is meeting up at Davis Mountain State Park for Thanksgiving. Looking forward to loading up the backpack and heading for a night or 2 to the park’s primitive camping spots, then popping off the trail for a full turkey meal. I also built a hammock stand so I can hang in the regular car camping sites without perfectly placed trees. Come back to see a video of the hammock set-up.
Mt. Collins shelter to Derrick Knob Shelter. 13.8 miles
As I walked up to the observation tower, I overheard a lady in her 30’s complain to her male partner, “I just walked up a mountain, I’m not walking up a ramp to see more trees”. Add a few popular swears for exact quote. I had to chuckle since they probably woke up at a hotel with a continental breakfast, drove up the mountain in their rented Sentra, were they walked uphill from 5 minutes from the parking lot and I literally walked up the mountain.
Just before I reached the shelter, I saw a line of about 40 wild turkey in a hurry to get someplace. I was surprised they didn’t answer my world famous turkey call.
Cosby Knob Shelter to Tri-Corner Knob Shelter. 7.7 miles.
Did a few less miles today and will make up the miles tomorrow since today was another 1500 foot climb. Had rain all morning , but embraced the coolness. The rain stopped about 1:00, and gave way to the clouds blowing through making the ridge I was on look like a background for a Scooby Doo caper.
Made it to the shelter by 3:00 and the sun came out. We are expecting a storm tonight, so I’m sleeping in the shelter. My goal is to hit the trail by 8:00 and knock out the miles. The trail looks like a bunch of ups and downs, nothing too steep.
Standing Bear Hostel to Cosby Knob Shelter. 10.7 miles. 3,589 feet elevation gain.
Woke up in the tree house, ate breakfast in the kitchen of the hostel, then started the long climb into GSMNP. Inside the park, thru hikers are required to sleep in the shelters, unless they are full, then we can set up a tent or hammock within eyesight of the shelter. Since we have 13 tonight in a shelter for 12, I volunteered for hammock duty.
There are new privies at the shelters. Just in case you could get here in a wheelchair, the privy is accessible.
Great day of climbing, looking forward to the rest of the park.
Groundhog Creek Shelter to Standing Bear Farm Hostel. 6.9 miles.
Gave myself a shorter day today so I could spend the night in a tree house at Standing Bear Farm Hostel, pick up a box, wash some clothes, and gear up for a 5000 foot climb into the Great Smoky Mtn Nat Park (GSMNP) tomorrow.
Went through a second bald this morning, Snowbird Mtn, great view, flowers, critters, and an alien looking pod that hummed. It is some kind of FAA radar. I put on my foil hat as I passed just in case.
I will enjoy the rustic pleasures of this place, along with the drinkable water, hot outdoor shower, and plugs for recharging the phone.
Walnut Mtn Shelter to Groundhog Creek Shelter. 13 miles.
Another long mileage day. Not too much climbing. Really enjoyed Max Patch, a mountain that is bald in top, it is just grass covered. The views up there are stunning. I wished I could have stopped for a nap. Lots of folks up there on this beautiful day enjoying a picnic and some very happy dogs running around. Pictures to follow soon when i get to wifi.
Can’t forget the mashed potatoes and salami and butterscotch pudding for dinner. Yum Yum
Hot Springs, NC to Walnut Mountain Shelter. 13.1 miles, 3,126 feet elevation gain. Total trip miles 57.1
Got up early after a great night in a bed after a shower at the hostel. Had a great breakfast in town with eggs, potatoes, and this brown goo they put on a biscuit. Stopped by the outfitter for a new tip for my hiking pole. I hit the trail at 9:30. It was a long mileage day with a 3000 foot gain in elevation with a pack full of food. The elevation worried me, but I’m getting my hiking legs and moved right through. It was a great sunny day with a bright blue sky. Enjoyed hiking on the trail covered in a carpet at Autumn leaves. Made it to the shelter at 6:00 with time to set up the hammock and cook dinner. Enjoyed some peppered turkey jerky my wonderful wife bought for me with some dressing. On to Max Patch tomorrow.
Spring mountain shelter to Hot Springs, North Carolina 11 miles
Up and out of the shelter by 9 o’clock had a restaurant meal on my mind the trip was mostly downhill into Hot Springs, North Carolina. The sun was out it was a beautiful day for hiking. Although I was pelted with acorns and Chestnut blown from the trees.
The first sunshine on the trail. I am currently at the laughing heart hostile, Enjoying a shower and a bed tomorrow. Up early for a town breakfast stop at the outfitters grabbing a sub to go for dinner and I’m off on the big climb tomorrow.