I began my Appalachian Trail Adventure March 29, 1992.
My journal from the AT consists of letters written to my children and grandchildren in such a way that they would feel like they were there with me when they read them.
Chapter 1. March 28-April 29 1992
of "The Old Gray Goose"
- Fri. March 28, 1992
- Hi kids. Well, Dad and I are here in Ga.. Spending our last night together ( planning for 6 months hike) at an EconoLodge in Dahlonega (Dah-lon-a-ga). Watching TV and looking at my pack that looks AWFULLY large. It must have expanded on the trip down. ha ha.
We dropped my first food drop off in Suches then drove up the road I'll be walking down to where the trail comes out and crosses over. Talked to a girl that is on her 3rd day. I wonder just how long it will take me to get there???
I signed in on the hikers register located in Amicalola Falls State Park. The info/visitor center is closed so we had to go up to the lodge to register. I'm wondering where my ride will pick me up? Going to park by the center and wait.
Tomorrow is my start day. I'm really having mixed emotions tonight. Excited about starting the hike, worried that I MUST have too heavy a pack and sad that I must say so long for a while to Dad and wish him a safe trip home. Hope I get a good sleep tonight! This is my first entry in my journal to you about my adventures. Love, Mom.
- 7:57 p.m. Sat. 29th
- cool cool cool. Here I am in my tent. What a long mile up from where we were dropped off. Made it VERY very slowly-one step at a time. Have no idea how long it took. Came down to the Springer Mt. shelter and it was full and also have 5 or 6 tents including mine.
Have a bunch of old-timers here. Sat around their campfire and am hearing many trips have been taken and taken- over and over, must be something to this trail hiking that keeps them doing it over!
I'm just concerned I will stumble with my pack and not be able to get up- ha ha.
Rain is forecast for tomorrow but I hope I don't have to pack in the rain. Gonna snug up in my bag. Temp. is 50 in here at 8:05p.m..
- Sunday 30th
- Woke up about 6a.m. and hooray No rain! Got my tent packed and ready to fix some breakfast and guess what?! Stove won't work. Friendly fellow lit his stove back up so I had some hot stuff. Not very hungry, didn't finish anything.
Hiked most of the day with a young fellow. He stayed ahead of me but I'd catch him on the breaks. I just took more of them! Got into the Wolf Mt. shelter before 2p.m.-7.5 mi. today. I'm ready to stop tonight. Four fellows and me in the shelter. 3 tents and a tarp up already. Day-hiker came in and says there are 3 more people on the way. Another large group tonight.
I'm Very tired tonight. Haven't been very hungry-oh well no stove anyhow. At least my water filter pump works. Boy, hard to find a tree to hide behind with everything bare.! ha ha. Three more women came in. It's 3:45 and feels like 7:45!!! Started hiking about 7:30 this a.m. and by 10 a.m. had made it to 3-forks area then slowed. My feet are kinda sore tonight, rubbed on some liniment and gonna use some more. Took a picture of a rattlesnake orchid (fooled you huh?) no flower just plant. More tomorrow---
- Tue.31st (I think)
- Well, as you can see I missed Mondays entry altogether. I haven't had much of an appetite (gee, I miss the dictionary!) and have not been feeling so very well, so when I hit the tent-site it was almost 5 o'clock and I had started around 20 to 8 that morning.
After I tried my stove and it wouldn't work AGAIN (that's two out of three folks) I "yogied" someone's leftovers and some hot water for some potato cheese stuff. But I couldn't even finish 'em. Just felt sicker.
One of the girls I met along the way (actually at first shelter) shared my tent with me. Kinda nice too 'cause it rained and blew most all night and it was nice to know there was another soul there!
The temp. was down below 40 this morning when we got up and so there I was-sick, sore, tired yet and cold with no urge to eat. I did get some hot water from fellow hikers and have hot jello water. Got a rather late start but it was too cold and wet to get everything packed up very quickly. My pack felt VERY heavy and I felt like a whipped puppy. So I decided when (not IF mind you ) I ever got to Suches I would call one of the hiker friends in the handbook and see if I could get a ride to Neels Gap. Outfitters there will fix your pack and equipment and also do a thorough overhaul of its' contents!! In other words help lighten your load. Also it's a bed and hot shower!!
YEHAW It's called trail magic, I think. About a minute after I saw this beauteous pair of bluebirds, along comes a young couple that had also been at the tent-site and had left MUCH later than I had. Bill took my pack and I took his lighter one. Well, after another hill climb they were waiting at the top and said "here, you take Maggies' pack, she's real light!". So we did another switch , what a difference a pack makes that fits well to say nothing of being light!!
Well we were trudging right along and here comes this fellow practically trotting up the trail towards us saying,"who's the GRAY GHOST? " I said, I'm "GRAY GOOSE and I sure feel like a gray ghost!"
He said he'd been told I needed some help! This was the first day he'd been out hiking in a month and there he was when Ohio Santa (Jim from by Cleve.) told him about me.
Somebody up there is truly watching over me!
Now here I am at the hostel at Neels Gap, having gotten a ride first to the post office in Suches (got a letter from Jody) to pick up food drop. Feel better after shower. Actually ate and didn't have to choke it down! Have two room deal. Double bed in each. Over on the other side has bunks and all male hikers. Anyway the fellow in the other room is the boy from the Netherlands that we met at Amicalola Park! Well,thinking maybe not actually going to have all 2,144 miles in but better to get off the trail and "regroup" so to speak, than to get really sick and have to stop.
It's 7:37 right now and I'm gonna try calling Pops again. Besides, I need his credit card#. Buying a few items to help eliminate a bunch more. Have a box to send home from my pack-lightened it a bit. Not sure yet quite what I'm going to do yet. Have food stuff to pack and need to consider my appetite is not what it will be later so can pack less food. Ahhh- even have a heater in my room and drying my hair over it. After being rained on while hiking and then getting more overnight and then wet and cold too, it really feels wonderful! The sun did come out as I was walking along with that lovely light pack on my back and it was truly beautiful. Oh yah, saw a pilieated woodpecker today. Well, back on with the jacket and out to the phone booth to call home. Oh yes, the outfitter here says "CONSIDER THIS TRAIL AS A SERIES OF 5day HIKES!" Helps to eliminate stuff you don't need to carry lots of and also sounds less overwhelming! Goodnight kids. I sure miss you all. Boy, I'm hard on glasses, lost a screw in my reading glasses already-ha ha. Whoops, somebody beat me to the phone. As I said, I do feel better. Guess I've been pushing a bit more than this Old Gray Gooses' body wants to or can be pushed. The mind is willing but the body says NO!! I guess that comes under learning patience--I knew that would be one I'd encounter! Well again-good night (yes-GOOD)
- 6:19 a.m. Wed. April 1
- Still don't really feel up to par but do feel better. I think I'll see if I can arrange a ride back to Woody Gap and hike that 10.9 miles without a pack and then stay at a cabin a ways away if I can't hit this place two in a row. It's very busy here with LOTS of thru hikers, so it's a one night limit and thru-hikers only. So that's why I think I will have to use the (more expensive, ugh) cabin place. Have lots to do today actually. Have to wait 'till 7:30 for store to open to get change and do my laundry then back with the outfitter to see what is wrong with my stove and finish with the pack overhaul and repack the food to go ahead and the stuff to go home. Glad to feel better but hope to feel all better tomorrow. So long for now. Love, mom
- Hello again today. ha ha April fools! I got to go back to Woody Gap and hike the 11 mile (10.9) I didn't do yesterday. It was a really beautiful day. I felt good at last and didn't have my pack on-only a borrowed daypack to carry essentials like some food and water and hat and gloves and rain jacket. Yep, I used it all at one time or another too. Even kicked up a grouse! Don't think I told you the 1st day I saw a rump and tailflash of a deer but none since.
It's 9:20 and I'm here in the hostel again-bunk side. The people who run this are fantastic! Friendly, helpful, informative, caring hiker helpers!!! I can't say enough nice things about them. I have a lot of things out of my pack to send home to Dad. Had to invest in a new (lightweight!) tent and a couple of goodies for my pack to make it better. Speaking of Better--this Goose may be Old and Gray but she's More Better Today! yah! I was really happy to feel hungry again. It's sounding like the weather is going to get a tad nasty but I should be all set. I still have to see if they got my stove fixed. I sure don't want to have to get another one, this one is so very light. Still trying to think of things I really can do without. Even sent back half my writing tablet. Got tiny little plastic containers for lots of stuff and had some stuff he said I just didn't need -deodorant!. Well, it's 9:31 and I'm pretty tired from the 11 mi. hike. Lots of up and down and on and around rocks. It was pretty awesome. Too bad it was so hazy, I'd have taken a couple more pictures. Anyhow, gonna rub my feet with liniment and go to sleep. Only one other person sitting by flashlight writing in his journal. The other 6 are asleep. (myself and 1 other girl the rest are guys). I told Dad I was in a room with a bunch of brothers! I've met some really fine people on the trail. The first bunch looks like we'll be kinda splitting up. Have some behind now and a few ahead and part will be going further on ahead tomorrow and some are spending another night off the trail and then there is Ann from Columbus , Ohio and myself who probably will only go a short distance tomorrow. So, I guess it's goodnight for today and hopefully I'll write more of my adventures tomorrow. Love and miss you all. Mom.
- April 2 Thur. 6:40 a.m.
- Well, this will be my last "cushy" morning for about 5 or 6 days. Going to finish up Dads' letter, try and find the postcard stamps I bought yesterday and get 'em sent out. I'm sitting here in my top bunk looking down on my new tent. Kinda set it up last night so I could use the seam sealer on it. It's not a free-standing tent like the other so I need a crash course on setting this one up. Well kids, gotta get myself up and get packing. Love you bunches, Mom xo
- 4-2 Thur. 7:32 p.m.
- Hi Kids. Well, it's dark out so I'm writing this by flashlight. I finally got everything rearranged and fixed and bought (thank goodness for Dads charge card!!). They did about a 30% reduction of my pack weight. Hooray. Couldn't fix my stove so that got sent back to Dad ( along with lots of other stuff plus extra food). Have an 800# in there too so maybe Dad can get his money back on that stove.
Boy, it's nippy tonight and windy, 40* in the tent. After we got all the stuff done that we needed to get me ready to hit the trail again this afternoon, Dave (young man that started at Springer with me) popped in and asked when I would be heading out. He wanted to leave with me. That is a real treat, thought for sure I'd be setting up camp all alone. It was after 3:30 when we left so we only came up the trail a mile, to the first tent site (Bull Gap). Glad it was close as we had to set up our tents and cook supper and hang our food up out of reach of the critters.
As soon as the sun went it really started to get cold. We hovered over the map and books and discussed the next few days worth of trail so I guess we are going to stick together as trail partners for awhile. I'm real glad of that 'cause since I've started, I've not been alone and I find that it's real nice. Kinda like a family away from home. It's hard to explain the way we all try to help one another and inquire if anyone knows where they spent the night. It's really been an experience having all this caring help from strangers!
I've had a full measure of trail magic right off the bat. It has been really neat! I couldn't have made it without them and I just can't say enough about the folks at the Walesyi Center. They're fantastic.
Well it's now 7:54. Wind is stronger, leaves are rustling (on the ground) and branches are creaking and I need to put some warm sox on my feet. Ah, better, I've been sitting here in my sleeping bag with my warm clothes on but no sox on my feet! By the way, my new stove worked great. It's quite different from my other one (I mean besides working!). Had a good hot meal of potato cheese thick soup and a Big cup of that good hot chocolate. By the time I get to my next food drop I'll probably be eating like a horse (goose?). My new tent is a lot lighter weight. Still really simple to set up and big enough for me AND my pack. I think it's "airier" but in warmer weather that will be a plus and I think It will do just fine even in nasty stuff. Have a tiny little front vestibule so I can leave my shoes out of the tent but under cover so don't have to dirty my floor!
Well we want to try for an early start tomorrow and see if we can hit the shelter before it's all full and then we'd have to tent it again. Kinda nice not to have to do that Every night. Expect some of the "old crew " to be there tomorrow night. Bill and Maggie got in to the hostel today (that was the couple who switched packs with me) so they may be heading to Low Gap shelter too.
It's 8:15 so gonna close this up and snuggle under (in) my sleeping bag and hope I keep warm all night. I should, I have on 2 long john tops, a wool sweater and my polytec jacket AND a hat, long john bottoms , shorts and warm sox!!! Temp. is down. Not gonna look again. Sleep tight. Love,Mom.
- 4-3 Fri. 6:30 a.m.
- Slept pretty good, only feet feel cold. No condensation on tent-allright! The temp. is somewhere around 32* IN the tent. Kinda hate to run out to find a tree. ha ha . Must proceed. ( 0 C.= 32 F., yes? Must be, 'cause my water is frozen here in the tent!! Burr... xo Mom.
- *****6:55 p.m. same day. Hello again kids. Well Dave and I stayed together until about the last 4 miles or so and then he came on ahead to the shelter. We did 10.7 miles today to get to Low Gap shelter. Had a fantastic day today on the trail. Stopped for a long lunch break and had an early supper on the trail, nice rest at each and then when I got to the shelter I decided to EAT again. It's really nice to feel good after hiking that far and be hungry! The only thing really sore, tired and bad feeling are my feet and ankles tonight. Splurged tonight and heated water and washed my feet with my sox liners and then rubbed on liniment. Got kind of a goofy crowd in the shelter-entertaining at least. Even a fire going outside here. Ah, life in the outdoors ho ho . Supposed to get cold again but there are about 8 of us, like sardines, so I hope we stay warm! Well, I guess I'll have to stop writing 'cause it's starting to get dark and I gotta go find a tree. Love you lots and really miss you all! Love, Mom.
- 2:10 p.m. Sat. 4-4 7.2 mi.
- Hi there. Left the Low Gap shelter at 8a.m. Great Day. Here I am sitting in the sun (and wind) at the Blue Mountain shelter. It's the earliest I've gotten to a shelter yet. I must be improving! Let me see, since I actually have some time to write before dark, maybe I can reflect back on this past week (yes, 1 week today!) and share some thoughts with you. To begin with I'm not sure how on earth I managed to get from Springer to Woody Gap with the pack loaded and set up the way it was!! As I look at that, I feel that I should be able to overcome any other problems that come my way. I sure can say that however you may call it - a higher power- a supreme being- the Lord- God or Jehovah-Somebody up there is truly watching over me and putting the people I need in the right spots at the right time. My little bluebird pin is on my jacket and when I saw that beautiful pair of bluebirds just before Maggie and Bill came and swapped packs it really gave me a boost. Helped me remember all the family I've got supporting me. Then, yesterday, after I fell in the mud going down hill (whoops forgot to write that yesterday) there was a dainty little song bird cheering me on and as I thought later on that surely this must be the last UP climb before the shelter , a little MOUSE jumped on the trail and ran across my boot! (ah come on ma, you can do one more hill!). Now, sitting here on this old log trying to stay out of the wind and in the sun, I have a beautiful eastern view of hills and mountains covered with trees and the shadows of the clouds drifting over them and changing the view even tho' it stays the same! I hope it's not cloudy in the morning. The shelter faces the east so the sunrise would be nice to see.
I haven't gotten into any set routine yet actually. I'm kinda playing it by ear. I'm really sure I made the right decision to get off the trail at Woody Gap and then go back and hike the 11miles with a day pack. I would have been really sick if I'd have stayed on and tried to hike it with my pack the way it was and not eating and feeling so awful. I KNOW I made the right one about going back and doing the day hike. Really was an ego boost to do the 11 mile in just a hair over 5 1/2 hours. Even having to stop and catch my breath going up the hills. Also, I Know I have to stop and catch my breath With or Without a full backpack. So it doesn't make me feel quite so discouraged when I have to take many breather breaks and go uphill with half steps (goose steps maybe ? ho ho). Slow but sure---one half step at a time!!
- Looks like an awfully lot of clouds blowing in here. Wind is feeling mighty chilly. Guess I'll call it a day on your news update and go throw my sleeping bag out in the shelter. Maybe I'll even eat early. I'm hoping all is well at home. I really think a lot about you when I'm alone on the trail. Pop is sure special to put up with me and my wild adventure. I close my eyes and can almost feel his warm hug sending me love and encouragement!
When I sit sown for my break I wonder how the "mikkel-men" are doing (the workers at Mikkelsens's Greenhouse where I am on leave from). I think of Mart when I find some of these people hiking with a pack faster than I walk with no pack, she thought I walked fast, ha ha. By the way J.D. your gray ghost thoughts must have drifted down here. Could hardly keep from laughing when the fellow asked Who's the gray ghost!..Is A.J. getting his groceries ok? A walk thru the grocery store with him would be a treat right now--flat and warm! ha ha. Getting cold. Bye for now . Love, Mom.
- Sun. 4-5
- Good Evening. Forgot to turn my watch back. Must remember now. Had a great day today. Left Blue Mt. shelter about 7a.m. and went the 7.7 mi. to Tray mtn. shelter by 2 p.m.. Felt good. Have met an Ohio girl that travels at about the same pace I do. Nice. Tomorrow I'll get my first taste of hitchhiking into Hiawassee for a "send ahead" food drop. Not on my list but cut weight by half doing that. Ate a big supper tonight. Had my turkey noodle dinner and mashed potatoes with cheese. Have sorta joined that crazy acting group. Guess the 18 yr. old that left today was the really goofy acting one. The rest are really looking out for one another. Even carried my tent the last 30 minutes of today! One of the fellows came back down the trail looking for Jessica (from Ohio) and I to see if he could give us a hand with anything on the last long uphill of the day. Nice of him huh?? Don't know if I'll catch up with them tomorrow night or not. Probably not??? Dave (my young friend) hitched into town today to see if he could phone his dad for $. Well, everything has worked out well so far, so I'm not going to worry about tomorrow. Love you all. Mom.==
- April 6th no sign of David Sun.p.m. or all Mon.??
- Dear Kids; Well here it is Monday evening-5:40 p.m.- I made my very first hitchhike into town to pick up my "send ahead" food drop. Didn't get very far down the highway and first pick-up truck along stopped and he even put my pack in the back for me. Took me right to the post office! Got my package and walked a couple blocks back and stopped at a Restaurant. It was worth every bit of that $4.25. Got 2 pieces of white corn bread, large serving of white beans (w/ham or bacon), large coleslaw, deviled egg (2 halves) crisp coated meat patty w/gravy, piece of coconut pie-NOT c. cream- and a cup of hot tea!! YUMMY! No cooking tonight- tee hee. Then I headed back out of town and again very 1st truck picked me up. This time a very nice lady. She even brought me right back to the spot I got off and on the trail! Neat huh?? Well let's see, I'd better start at the beginning of the day---There are now 7 of US in that odd group I told you about. They are going along as "Bobs' Family- Who the heck is Bob?" They officially adopted me last night. Sassafrass (guy), Plodder (guy) and Reno (guy) have now moved on ahead to the next shelter. The other two girls-Just Jess and Jewels or Julie and New York Raisin Man are camped just up out of Dicks Creek Gap where I got off and on the trail. I talked to them for a minute and then came on -thinking I'd go on to the shelter - but by 5:30 I'd been walking an hour (uphill most of the way) and decided I'd stop at the very first campsite I came to! Getting tired and think that 11.7 miles today is ENOUGH! My longest day so far and I feel Good! Anyway, here I am right beside the trail just a bit less than a mile covered in that last hour. Not good time and would be pooped if I'd try and go all the way to the shelter. My very first "all by myself " campsite! Got my food bag hung-hope no bear are around 'cause it's a bit Low- only about 6' up but that is ok for skunks and such. Really kinda nice knowing the other girls are fairly close and they'll be along in the morning. If I'm not on my way they'll holler! I think the 4 on us will be hanging together for a few days and going into Franklin N.C. together. Hey, 7.5 more miles and I'll be into North Carolina!! One state down (Fooled Mr. D, who said I wouldn't get out of the first state!) I said yesterday I hoped for a good view of the sunrise- Got one and took a couple pictures too. Had a real nice one this morning too but not quite as pretty. I just took a picture of my little outfit and pulled my pack into my tent. I am thinking how nice it would be if I could at least talk to you all! Enough of that. I miss you all.
Well, as of tonight I have covered 67.9 mi. of the AT. I'm on my way. Yes. Feeling good. Eating well, but still puffing my way up the hills. Ah yes, I did say I was going to learn patience on this trip! ha ha. I'm wondering if Dad got any pictures back yet?? Hope I can remember to ask him when I call him from Franklin--Probably be there Fri. the 10th. Don't know when I had planned, I brought the wrong sheet! DUH! Am wondering if I put addresses on the post cards I sent out at Neels Gap. Fine time to think of it now.
Well, it's getting cool sitting here with my feet out of my tent. Guess I'll get my stuff all back in my pack (books and paper stuff that is) and get organized for night even if it is still light! Love ya, Mom
p.s.. 8p.m. All snugged in for night. Sounds like it might be a sprinkle or two of rain on my tent. Hmmm wonder if it will?? Hope I am not on a "critter path". Don't really want to listen to the leaves rustling with unknown feet sounds. Will have a hard time keeping imagination under control. ha ha. Well, getting a bit dark to write, especially since I don't have my glasses on. They're in my jacket pocket -in the foot of my sleeping bag!! YIKES, talk about a rush..... I think I have an owl hooting near by. I 'bout raised right up. Thought it was a DOG when it first started! VERY CLOSE. Yes, it's going to be an interesting night!! Wish Pop was here beside me to hear THIS owl-tee hee. Well, guess I'll put this away again and snuggle down for some zz's.. Love, Mom.
- 7:20 a.m. Tue.
- Mornin Kids. Slept Great and yes. that was sprinkles I heard off and on all night and I think still sprinkling now. Hope to get all ready and hope it stops long enough to take the tent down but, not counting on it. Going to go the rest of the miles to the next shelter and then sit INSIDE and eat my breakfast. Love, Mom.
- 4-7 Tue. afternoon.
- Whew, what a torture hike today--Straight up-FOREVER! 12.1 mile long day today but at 4:45 I pulled in at Muskrat shelter. Met up with Plodder again. He was carrying the girls tent for them so they shared Raisin Kids tent and tarp last night and Plodder decided to stay with us at least to Franklin. Nice in here at the shelter- it's an A frame . Going to be toasty warm I think. I was sure hungry tonight. Had turkey noodle dinner then potato and cheese and then hot jello, oh yah, they had hot water ready when I came in so I had some hot chocolate too. I hiked all day either in sprinkles or FOG. Yep, been in the fog or is that -A fog- ha ha. Tomorrow will be a 12.9 mile day but no horrid hills like today! Well, I guess I'll close for tonight. Love you all. Mom.
oh yah, 1:30 p.m. crossed into N.C. today!
- 6:36 p.m. Wed. 4-8
- Here at Carter Gap shelter. Got here about 3:30 today. Not a bad day hiking today. Had some uphill climb but only one that was kinda on the hard side so to speak Was nice to come in only 5 or 10 min. behind. I'm always last in. I really lose ground on the uphills! Guess I'm going to stick with this group for a while. Seems nice to have the comradery of the group at night. Really isn't quite what I was expecting. I don't know exactly WHAT I was expecting but didn't expect the people that group together and make a "hiker family". Tried a roll of that black and white bulk loaded film and the tape at the end wouldn't let the camera rewind it so ended up taking the film out and not going to put that kind in again. Guess I'll get a regular roll of Kodak in town Fri. Have to get there then 'cause P.O. not open on Sat.. I think of things to tell you when I'm walking and when I get into camp at night and get my supper cooked and sleeping bag and pad layed out , I don't always remember what I had in mind to say!? When I was walking in the fog yesterday I heard a grouse drumming! Neat! What I miss most of the civilized world is an outhouse! Even a privy will do- a latrine is acceptable over a tree squat, so far at least! ha ha. Have about 91 miles of the AT covered so far. The group decided we can get two motel rooms--all snorers in one! ha ha I sure will be glad to talk to Dad. Seems like I've been on the trail longer than 12 days-- well 11 days and 1 layover day. Guess I'll go find a tree ha ha. Love you all and look at our group picture every night. Love, Mom.
- Hey Kids. I'm over the 100 mile mark on my AT hike. Yahoo!! Did 12 miles today but had a neat mountain to climb-kinda like the rock quarry, Larry. The view was fantastic! Too bad I didn't have any film, woulda made a neat 5 picture vista. Maybe even 6. To make it even better, the sun shone brightly all day and there were lots and lots of birds singing along the way. It was a great day to be hiking this beautiful world!! Took a lunch break at one of the in between shelters and found "Great Grandpa Bill". He was one of the old-timers I told you about earlier. He's a neat ole bugger. He shared his noodles and I shared my brown bread and "goody bar". Then he hiked with me the 5.2 miles to this shelter at Rock Gap. Really helped me set a better pace. Especially since my feet were already yelling at me!! Part of the bunch got all ciqued-siqued-psyked-up or however it's spelled- about PIZZA. So they left about 10 minutes before I got here. For a change I wasn't the last one in! There are 4 of us here tonight. Julie and I shared our suppers so we had a variety to eat tonight. Reno is telling us about the Sr. Olympics and he had entered in two or three bicycling events. And hiking out west in the Tetons and Bryce and those places. Interesting.
Well, tomorrow is our "hitch" into Franklin. Don't know if the two already in town are going to anchor a room for us or not. Possibly. The young man, Dave, that left for town a few days ago got back on the trail and left a note in the shelter register that he'd have a room and try to make it in tonight. But not me tonight.. It's been so nice to take it easy and enjoy the late afternoon and evening just resting and eating and visiting! Have a nice fire going here in front of the shelter and since it's now 7:40 I must lay out my sleeping bag and pad. Love ya. Mom.
- Well, we got a ride into Franklin without too much problem (4 of us). First thing we did was hit the P.O.. Then we came down and checked out Henry's Motel (3 of us). That's Reno and David(Shamrock is his trail name) who met us at the P.O. and myself. The lady who runs the motel is a real sociable gal. She invited me to ride along to her sons' place and the K-mart with her- nice break. After we got signed in and paid our $7.00 each, the fellows came in and got their showers while I stood out or sat actually and visited with Lois. Then the guys left and I got a NICE HOT SHOWER and washed my hair, ahhhh. As I was finishing up on that, the other girl and guy who had hitched down with us came over to see if I'd go to lunch with them. I'd found out where the All You Can Eat Western Sizzler was by then so off we went to enjoy a Big meal. YUM. Came back and went to the laundromat. Spent my dryer money on a can of pop so I'm using the clothes line and pins here. It's a Beautiful sunshiny day here. Must be close to 70 and the only clean thing I had to wear for a top was a wool sweater ha ha . Oh well, the clothes will soon be dry and I'll put a light weight long john top on. Need to write a bunch of post cards tonight and make some phone calls. We need to be over at the other motel by 8:30 a.m. so we can get the shuttle ride back to the trail. It will only be 1 or 2$ apiece with all of us going together. I have to get my clothes down and finish packing up my food in my pack. I had way too much so I've shared with David. Still need to see if someplace has Coleman fuel by the pint. Shoulda checked at K-mart but don't usually see pints. Wonder if regular white gas would work? Hafta check with the Raisin Kid if they are around tonight. Guess I'd better get busy, it's 5:45 already. Day has gone quickly and it's been a nice break but I'll be ready to get back on the trail in the a.m. Love, Mom
- Hi Kids. Well, we were blessed with a bit of showers and thunder and lightning today as we left Franklin by pick-up truck on the way back to the trail. Only had 4.3 mi (mostly up) from the highway to the first shelter. It was still raining when I got to the shelter so I decided to stop. The rest of the group was already there and nobody really wanted to push on and set up tents in the rain. Thank goodness this shelter has lots of nails along the front to hang wet things. We all felt pretty soggy either from the rain or on the inside of the raincoat even more wet from sweating. (It's work going uphill!) . Rolled out our sleeping bags, got our goody bags of snack foods and sat with our lower body nicely snuggled in our bags feeding our faces! Ahh luxury. The sun actually came out after noon so Julie and Raisin and I climbed up to the top of Siler Bald. 5,216 feet high. What a beautiful sight. The wind pushed patches of fog through the gaps, the clouds parted and you could see layer after layer of hills in all directions. It was worth the hike in the rain that made us decide to stay put here-otherwise we'd never would have seen such a great view today! Tomorrow will be a 12 miler to the next shelter. Probably lots of ups and downs to struggle thru if I remember the profile map correctly. I'll probably have a long day ole slow goose that I am. It will be interesting. I am getting better but I hope to get LOTS better---SOON. ha ha There is that patience again. Well, Raisin Kid is going to help me check out my list of stops so maybe I can figure out the amount of days between each one. I don't have them too accurate I think. Maybe more later. Whoops- a fellow just walked in with a little snake in a zip-lock bag anchored to the back of his pack. ha ha you never know what you'll see on the AT. Love Mom.
- 4-12-92 Sunday 7:22 p.m.
- Supper is over. Yum. Julie and I combined our resources and had a dandy meal. I made bannock breads (pancake size) and also cheese potatoes and Jewels made Falafa balls. That's made from ground chick peas and seasoning. I actually dug some ramps on the way here. They were really plentiful in a couple places but I only took time to dig up 8 of 'em. Well, of all things , my stove doesn't seem to be working properly. I don't know what in the world seems to be the problem. Maybe I'll have it looked at at the hostel in Wesser 'cause the fellow at Neels Gap said I should NOT have any trouble with it! Ah well, such is life on the trail. By the way, after supper last night it Rained again. It was raining when everybody finally went to sleep. Woke up at 6 a.m. today and actually walked back up to Siler Bald to watch the sunrise. Well, got about 1/3 of the way up and listened to the birds wake up and watched the clouds blanket the valleys. There was a large cloud bank over the last tier of hills and I figured it would take too long to wait for the sun so IMPATIENT ME I started back down and of course halfway down, behind the trees, up popped that red ball!!! oh well, it was worth the walk up there anyway just to hear the birds wake up and see how neat it looked so early in the a.m.! Today was sure a LONG day for me. It's not the miles, it's the hills that slow me down so much. I can only do what my "bod" can do and that's Very Slowly uphill. Tomorrow is an 11 mile day to the Nantalahala Outdoor Center/hostel. I guess Julie is going to get a spot for me 'cause if I do my usual I'll be the last one in and it'll probably be filled up by then. It's amazing the amount of people there are out here on the trail! This is a little bit smaller shelter than we've been in-we've had 8 lined up side by side but only 6 fit in this one with one across the front! There are at least 4 tents or /and tarps out and about also. It's a tree squat place with darn few to hide behind. Well, I'm sitting here on my sleeping bag in the shelter and it's getting kinda dark in here. Still light outside but gonna go find a tree then rub my feet and ankles and knees with liniment! Love ya, Mom.
- Monday Wesser N.C at the hostel
- Shower and "flush one" again yah! I'm sitting in the laundry room drying my clothes. My money, I find was sent to a campground that thru-hikers use. Got the message from a couple of fellows as they hiked past me so I called there when I got here and yes I have a package there. Meanwhile I have no extra $. Only had enough to pay for bed and shower and a bottle of orange juice for breakfast which I'll share with Julie since she bought me supper at the restaurant tonight. Got $.75 from Mr. Blister to put clothes in dryer. Washed them in washbowl. Glad all I had was what I had on! Today was a pretty long day. The 11 miles was up and down and up and down AND up and down!! ha ha. But, I sure saw some pretty flowers along the way. Don't know what a bunch of them were but they were pretty. It's definitely looking spring like in the lower elevations. The place I am at tonight does white water rafting. Here and all around, regular whitewater outfitters. Went down and put my feet in that cold river water and it felt soooo good! I hope to keep somewhat up with the girls but it looks like there is a long 15 mile day coming up and I don't have a clue as to what I'm going to do that day. Need to check the book AGAIN to see if there is a tent-site before that shelter. If there isn't any then I guess I'll be forced to do it. Well, tomorrow will be a 7 mile day but it looks to be all uphill! Gee with all this uphill practice you'd think I'd be getting better by now!! (I know, patience mother, I can hear you!) A couple of the fellows from the group are going to ahead as they want to get up to their schedule date. One of the fellows that was at Neels Gap nursing big blisters when I was there caught up to us last night so he will probably hang in with us for a few days. It's nice to know when I get to the shelter at night there will be at least one other female there and usually two since Julie and Jessica are out here together from college. They will be leaving for a week in June to go back for graduation. Then back on to the trail wherever they left from. At night in the shelters all I can think of is a co-ed slumber party! I'm teased about my snoring but at least a couple of the others snore too. David says I do snore louder in a motel room than in the shelter tho. Guess it's 'cause the room has 4 sides and the shelter only 3. ha ha. Gee, it's 9:10 and I'm still up! Not even sitting on my sleeping bag -maybe I'll sleep past 6 a.m.?! Well, these clothes are going to be dry even if they're damp on the edges! Going back to our room and get stuff packed up to be ready to head out tomorrow. Love ya lots and miss you all. Mom.
- picture looking back down at the river..Monday 4-13
- Hi there. Well, I went a mile farther than I figured today since tenting up on a"Bald" promises a good sunset and/or sunrise. I seem to be rather depressed today. Seems like I'm getting weaker instead of stronger. But on the other hand, I did do better than the 1 mile per. hour I figured I'd do with all the hills or rather long hill haha. The girls have gone on ahead 3 or 4 miles. I suppose I should have tried for more but I was ready to stop. 7 hours walking felt like ENOUGH! There are several of us up here tonight. One fellow (Mr.Blister) I knew from Neels Gap. The others are all new faces to me. I still have no idea what I'm going to do tomorrow. Don't see any campsites between here and the next shelter and that's 13.1 miles. I'll really have to start early. Looks like lots of ups and downs. Really kind of worried about making it there and not being really beat. Although last week Wed. I did 12.9 so maybe I'll be allright. Took my stove to the outfitters last night and he took it apart and cleaned it and at least it is working a little. Still not like it was, seemed to take forever to cook supper tonight and boil water for coffee ! I think this is the first time I've really been discouraged. Shouldn't be, I'm up here on top with an extensive view and the promise of a "sun event" or two. Lots of nice folks(10 of us) around and a "Dream Catcher" who has volunteered to check out my stove when he gets done with his supper. My tent is all up and I've got a pretty level spot and Mr. Blister says I can hang my food bag up with his. Guess I'll get my water filter out and fill my jugs for tomorrow. Sure do miss Pops!! Had a really beautiful day today actually. Mostly sun shiny, lots of birds singing, bunches of flowers along the path way (little ones). Well, I hate to say goodnight but I must get my chores done. Love, Mom
- Hello Again
- Well, I made it to the shelter. I had figured 13.1 and the other fellows figured 14 miles. Whatever, it was a LONG hike for me. Finally got in here at 6:15 p.m.. Left this a.m. at 7:30! Yesterday the sunset was swallowed by a cloud bank before it went behind the mountains. The sprinkles came and woke us up about 6 a.m.. Then it quit until we got on the trail and then we got dumped on. Finally cleared up so had lunch about 11a.m. when we came to the highway and found picnic tables! Had a humongus hill right after that . Took me almost 2 hours to climb up-whew! Got another rain storm with THUNDER and Lightning. Had one loud crack very close . Made me yell! Scary. There I was going up hill (was half way up) with a metal frame on my back and a storm around me! Thank goodness I didn't have any more of those. Just sprinkles. My feet are sure hurtin tonight. Wet feet helps too. Bless Julies' heart , she heated up water for me while I was taking off my boots so I got something to eat real fast. I guess the girls are going to be at least a day ahead of me since my 2nd package probably will not be in 'till Fri. at Fontana Dam. Took my last picture today of a pretty bird just sittin' there singing away. Don't really want to spend an extra day there. I may just fill out a change of address and have it sent on to Hot Springs. It's only 6 mi. to the shelter and not far to town and I really like getting into the shelter and having the girls there. Kinda getting used to it I guess. I'm sure they'll pull ahead but it's nice to have their company. Well gonna go liniment my feet. Love ya and miss you. Mom.
- 4-16 Thur. A.M.
- Made it into Fontana Dam. Only a short road walk before a pick-up truck picked me and another fellow hiker up. Came to the P.O. and picked up my packages and a couple letters from you girls. It was NICE to get them. Hit the grocery store to get some cold juice to "inhale" while I unpacked and sorted food and stuffed it into my pack. Oh, GROAN, is it ever going to be HEAVY! Told myself when that was all done THEN I would read my mail! A treat, then I went back to the grocery store and got MORE juice and stove fuel and more liniment. Now I guess I'll answer my letters.
Tomorrow we start into the Great Smokey Mt. National Park.
- Thur. night.
- Hello again. Boy, got a ride out of town for a buck and then had a mile to hike to the shelter. It's called the "Fontana Hilton". Probably could hold 28 people at least, maybe even a couple more if they used the floor space and share it with the skunks and mice. ho ho. My feet are still tired and sore from yesterday even with the short 6.3 mile to hike this a.m. and 1.1 to the shelter tonight. Had a rather relaxing day in town. After I wrote a couple cards and sent a box to Pop, we walked up to a pizza place and had a late lunch and then I called and talked to Becky. We had to wait 'till 6 o'clock for our ride back to the trail. As usual, I was the last one in. Guess I ought to be glad I can keep going and get in and stop feeling bad about being so slow. It just makes for such a long day on my feet. Gets tired! You know I'm tired when I pass up a hot shower 'cause I have to walk 1/2 mile! Boy, It's pretty looking out the one end of the shelter. Looking out on the lake from Fontana Dam and looking at the mountains we will be going into. Maybe I won't look, ha ha. Well, I guess I'd better lay my sleeping bag out. I am not the least bit hungry so maybe I won't bother to cook supper. The day does seem to have gone by rather quickly. Well, love you lots. Mom.
- 04-17-Fri. morning
- Think I'm going to change my plans some. Woke up very tired. Feel too tired to eat so I think I'm going to take it easy this a.m. and relax , make myself eat and leave around noon and only go to the first shelter. Think it's like 5 miles.
Told Julie goodbye this a.m. It was sad to see her leave and know I wouldn't be seeing her tonight. I expect after she leaves for her week in June she'll catch up to me again. She and Jessica are very strong hikers. Guess I'll have to check my book again and rearrange my probable stops I have checked to make sure I get thru this section in 10 days (or less?) Just have to see what happens and take it one day at a time. More tonight, Love, Mom.
- O.K. It's tonight.
- Actually 5 p.m. but it's evening to me. Left the shelter a bit earlier than I tho't I would. Actually felt better after I got started. Glad I only had the 5.2 miles to look foreword to tho! I got to the uphill part of the trail about 11 a.m. and had 4.8 miles to do and got to the shelter about 2:30. My feet were ready to stop. Actually, I took about a 20 minute break and walked up a side trail to a fire tower and then climbed up 3 flights of stairs to take pictures of the Fontana Dam area. It was a great view all around from up there. Didn't think I needed to go up the two flights left, ho ho. I must be nuts to take a break and do that huh? Sat up there eating a slim jim and looking around , a nice breeze and sunshine too! Worth the climb.
There was a lady and boy (well, he is 21 today) here that left from Fontana Shelter this a.m. They said they were heading here. Also Mr. Blister and Lone Fox (17 year old boy from Canada) were also here. Sleeping when I arrived. They were not feeling too well when they left this a.m.. but was surprised to see them here. I was really getting hungry around 3:30 so I fixed my supper early. I had those ramen noodles thickened with just a little instant potatoes and then I threw in some oleo and heated up a hunk of that "plum pudding" and THEN I boiled up some more water and made coffee-so- no pan to wash now. I have filtered my two quarts of water to carry tomorrow so am just boiling the water to cook with. I may even take time in the morning to cook breakfast again. Have to check my book to see how far I'll try for tomorrow. I really do want to try to be in Hot Springs in 10 days. That way I get to talk to Pops before he takes his fun trip.
Oh, I have been reading in the shelter registers a Bill, Kay and Billy! Today they came in here. Neat huh? They are pretty low mileage per. day folks they say. It did seem nice to stop hiking early in the day. Makes it much more enjoyable! I'm at my first "bear proof" shelter. It's pretty neat looking. Built out of stone and kind of into a bank. Has a stone chimney, small fireplace inside.
whoops, here comes a rain shower. It has a tin roof! A link fence wire front with heavy chain and snap to keep the door shut. And the mice don't even wait for dark to play around inside. Ha ha , bold little critters , wonder what they'll do AFTER dark?? We now have sun with our shower. Oh yah, shelter has 2 "shelves" that probably hold 12 or 14 sleepers. Guess I'll take a picture of it so you can check it out. That's all for today. Love you lots and really miss you. Mom.
- Sat. Evening.
- Hi Kids====9.2 miles today. Beautiful day today! Nobody even got up before daybreak in the shelter this morning. Took a nice relaxing breakfast and got started on the trail about 10 to 9. Walked about 5 mile and took a lunch break then finished the walking here to Spence Field Shelter. Arrived about 20 to 5. Took a picture of the Bill and Kay and Billy and got their address too. Gee they actually hike about my speed. The other female, Damascus, is from Ohio also and is 52 years old. But, she is an experienced hiker. She did 50 or so miles last year but broke her foot and had to quit. Hiked thru some areas of forest today where the ground on either side of the trail was a blanket of spring beauties. It was sure pretty, I took a picture of it-of course. ha ha. Well, tomorrow will be a little longer day. Have a couple of options so not sure exactly yet where I'll end up. Depends on time and how tired I am which one I stop at. It's going on 8p.m. and I'm sitting outside and getting chilly. Oh yes, we had a couple of deer mosey thru the door yard. No, no picture 'cause the camera was in the shelter! Going in, burr. Love, Mom.
- Sunday evening- Easter -4/19/92
Sure do miss you all! I ended up at the 2nd out of 3 shelters. 11.4 miles. Got here about 6p.m. Was definitely ready to stop. Good thing too, 'cause it started to rain not too long after I got here. A Sierra Club bunch from Cincinnati, Ohio is here and also Damascus is here. The boy that was hiking with her went on ahead so we are going to more or less hike together for a while. Sounds good to me. Had some really hard wind today. Actually had it push me off the path a couple of times. Hey, I was on Rocky Top, Tenn.. Actually have been back and forth the Tenn. and N.C. lines today and never quite sure which state I was in. I stopped at the first shelter at 1:15 and had lunch. Took me 5 hours for that first 6.5 miles or so. I am just glad I was able to do the 11.4 to day even tho' my goal was for the next one . That is probably a tad less than 2 miles further BUT my body said Sorry, you need to stop NOW! The mice are very bold in these stone shelters. I'm up on the top shelf again and my pack and boots are beside me (not a full house) and the little critter was IN my boot. It's damp and windy out there tonight and feels good sitting here in my sleeping bag with my wool sweater on. There is a large space (like 5 inches) between the roof and the top log so we are well vented with that in back and the open (well, with bear wire) in the front but the roof doesn't leak and the sides are solid and I'm sure glad I'm in here! Boy, Very active mice!! I sure do miss all of you. I think about you as I'm struggling up the hills and feel your hugs and kisses! Really do miss Pops a lot! If it's still raining in the morning, Damascus and I are Not going to leave. Different if it starts After you're out there but just don't like the sound of starting out in NASTY,WINDY,RAINY, weather. The rain on this tin roof should make good sleeping tonight. That is if it doesn't get too loud ha ha. Got the camera out for a mouse picture but they are not co-operating. Guess I'll put this away and try to sleep. Love you all Very much. Mom.
- Mon. 4/20/92
- Hello again. Well, we awoke to find no rain, just fog and haze (low clouds maybe?). Made breakfast and got all geared up for rain, pack cover, rain pants, rain jacket and proceeded to the next shelter just a mile and half away. Arrived there feeling fine and no rain yet so we decided to come on to Mt. Collins Shelter. That is only a 7.6 mile day but we went up Clingmans Dome. That is the highest point on the AT at 6,643 feet. It was all fog and clouds so didn't have a great view that could have been. Had a deer trot across the trail in front of me and kicked up a grouse earlier. Met some people sight seeing and one boy said the mountains are ugly and I should be home taking vacation. The man with him said "she is on vacation" and the boy says "too dangerous!" Mileage wise it was a short day but walking up-hill wise I was ready to stop. Did get rained on just a little, more like sprinkled on. After I got to the shelter and walked to the spring (long walk) and got supper and all cozy it rained pretty hard. Right now it's almost 8p.m. and it is not raining or windy. The weather forecast does not sound promising. Guess I'll just have to wait and see what the a.m. brings. The boy that had been with Damascus is back with her but we still will be stopping at the same shelters for a while anyway. (He's Peanutbutter Maverick) Nice meeting up with a gal my age. OK so she's a year younger ha ha. Anyway, it was a heck of a climb today. I really had to take a lot of breaks. You'd think my cardio-vascular system would be more co-operative by now. But, I just have to so slowly and be thankful that I CAN do it. It has been a pretty good day even with the "puff and pound" hill climbing. Tonight seems to be an early to bed night. An older couple and older fellow are down on the bottom all tucked in for "nite-nite" ,he asked for chit-chat to cease. tee heee. A couple of young fellows came a short time ago and they are trying very hard to make up their beds here on top Quietly and that is almost impossible. Oh well, such is life in the shelter. Life is Good. Love, Mom.
- Tue. 4/21
- What a day today. Didn't know if we'd even leave the shelter today or not. Stormed off and on (mostly on) all night. Really hard rain with just a little thunder and lightning. Raining this morning too. Forecast said clearing this afternoon so the three of us (peanutbutter Maverick and Damascus and I) decided to start out at noon. The other 6 were going to hitch down to Gatlinburg so, they started out rain and all. We actually got a break and started out with no rain but that didn't last too long. We hiked probably 2 hours in the rain and got to Newfound Gap in a light sprinkle. I got there shortly after 2:30 and proceeded to the women's restroom and there was Damascus AND Maverick. Both in the women's restroom, packs sitting on the floor puddling (very drippy) , eating lunch! So I joined them with some brown bread and peanutbutter and candy bar and Water-out of a spigot!. Every time a female came in Maverick went out- a rather interrupted lunch for him and then the Sun came out and we had women in the rest room asking us questions and then people outside wanting to take our pictures. We went over to the other side and checked the view. Really neat 'cause the clouds were cleared up and the air was really clear and you could see a long way. We only (I say only?) have another 3 miles (uphill yet) to get to the shelter but it was so beautiful I didn't mind. I took a good "view shot" part way up the hill. Had some wrens or warblers or some kind of beauteous birds escorting us uphill and up overhead were three large dark birds. I don't know what they were for sure but they sounded just like the Eagles in the movies so, I'm just thinking Maybe they were? We got here to this shelter and proceeded to hang up our sox and shirts to try and dry out some. Pretty hard to keep dry feet when the trail looks more like a creek bed than a path!! I hope my boots dry by Hot springs. I may have to invest in some water proofer. I was thinking that Hot Springs was right after we got thru the Smokies but it's yet another 3 days. We passed our 200 mile mark today!!! How 'bout that. All in all, today was a very good day. I'm now snuggled in my sleeping (well, my bottom half is). Had Reno come in and also a young couple so there are 6 of us here. Looks like the roof leaks lots so a good thing nobody needs to occupy the upper shelf. We have plastic spread out up there so if it rains we won't get wet on the bottom shelf. Hoping for a nice day tomorrow as there are a couple places that should have good views. Hope to check 'em out on our way to our next shelter. By the way, this shelter is supposed to have resident skunks-Elvis and Pricilla. The shelter last night had squirrels that entertained us during the daylight hours. Sure hope it's not raining in the a.m.. We want to try for about 12 miles tomorrow. Well, it's kind of cool around the edges here so I'm gonna close this for tonight and put some liniment on the old feet. Love ya all, Mom.
- Wed. 4-22-92
- Writing this by the light of the fire in a fire place. I gathered a few pieces of wood, was slim pickins, and Reno got a nice little fire going. I'm actually drying my sox (or at least trying to) on a little clothes line some kind soul had left up. All we need now are marshmallows. Fire down to coals. Gonna have to go get in my bag and use my flash fight. I haven't much light left in that either. I discovered I had hiked all yesterday with the dumb thing ON! Don't know how, must have moved the switch stuffing something else in. Still enough to see by tho. Well, let me see, what can I tell you about today? It was a spectacular day! The rains yesterday and night before cleared the air so much that the views today were truly awesome. As the saying goes-you could see forever. Stopped at "Charleys Bunnion" to check out the view. Wonderful! When Pop gets the pictures from today there should be one of me up on it. We had several places along the trail that had just outstanding views. Even tho' we came 12.6 miles today and my feet and legs felt like "pinocchio" when I finally got to the shelter it was an outstanding day! I can't say more than that. Love ya all very much, Mom.
- Hi again. Well, here it is, not 4p.m. and I'm at a shelter and I've actually washed up (don't smell quite like an old dog now) and washed out my shirt and I'm sitting here in the sun enjoying a beautiful day! Had a great day today. Didn't go far mileage, only 7.7. Had quite a bit of level trail and the uphills were graded so none of them were really steep. I think I must be getting SOME better 'cause I didn't have to let my heart and lungs catch up to me so much the last couple of days. I am going to think I am anyhow. I keep thinking of things I want to tell you about when I'm walking along and then at night I'm trying to hurry and get everything written in and forget soooo much! Like:- it really smells good liking thru balsam woods. There are so many "spring beauties" in places it makes it smell pretty too. The mice used somebodies pack for a spring board to get onto my hanging food bag and they chewed into one side of my tan bag, into the next bag, into a plastic bag of gorp and candy bars, passed thru , munching half of the bars as they went , then chewed out the other side of all the afore mentioned bags!!! Had a very bold squirrel this morning running all over everything on top and bottom shelves and it tried to make off with my "todays" snack bag. The soil changes with states and elevation. The stones are really different in different areas. I love the way the smells change in the different areas. I have NOT seen a bear yet and I don't care if I do. I have missed seeing any of the skunks that have visited the shelters. I had a donation of shredded T.P. in my pack this a.m. and it was not mine! ha ha. I think about you all so much when I'm walking. I really have a special family! It really is springtime here. The "service berry" trees are blooming and it looks like cotton balls across the side of the mountain today. I wish I could tell you exactly where and when I'd be so that we could meet-miss ya. I think I've remembered a lot of what I've been going to tell you but I expect I'll think of more and again forget to mention it. Well, it's after 4p.m. so I am going to go see if my shirt is dry, hope so. More tomorrow. Should be another short mile day and then a long one. Love, Mom.
- Friday 4-24
- A Beautiful Day. We are down at a lower altitude and it is spring! Almost the whole way to the next shelter here has smelled wonderful. Guess it's tulip-poplars that are blooming. Something is filling the air with perfume. The Dutchman's Britches are blooming and little short purple iris along with all the other flowers that have been blooming. It was really a lovely hike with such a wonderful smell. My feet took heart and lungs up the nicely graded hills with not a lot of problem. Got here early even after taking a side trip up to Mt Cammerer. Had some overcast but the sun shone on us when we got up there. Nice view. After we got here to the shelter, Maverick and Damascus and I left our packs with Reno and walked (oh no, not that ha ha ) about 3 miles down to a store and back. I got one dinner and splurged and drank a pop and a v-8 and ate a banana. yum. Guess I'll have that din-din tonight, well, maybe tomorrow. It was real warm down at the store. We are still up a bit here at the shelter but it is really "greened up" here. Looks good and smells good and it's sunny! The only thing that could make it any better would be to have Pop here beside me. Guess I'll go see about getting some water filtered and then fix some supper. Love, Mom.
- Hi There. Well, today we're out of the G.S.N.P.. Had a rather long hill climb today but the dogwoods were just beautiful..Even saw an orange azalea, sure was pretty. After I got up higher I lost the dogwoods but got an increase in the ground flowers. Even saw a few Cardinal flowers. Down by the interstate where we came off the trail I saw the hugest Jack-in-the-pulpits I have ever seen. A large dinner plate may not have covered the three leaves. It was huge! "Jack" was a foot or foot and half tall. Have a few sprinkles coming down now but I'm sitting in front of a nice hot fire that Reno has going. We did 9.6 miles to get here to the Deep Gap Ground Hog Shelter. Not sure how far we're going to go tomorrow. We are planning on getting into Hot Springs on Monday. Guess that's when this will get mailed. Gotta go unroll my bag. Love Mom.
- Sunday 26th.==SNOW today.
- Free food today. 11 miles today. Damascus and Maverick only went ahead of me the last 1/2 mile or so and when they got here to the shelter there was room for two if people squeezed over so, they left Reno and I at this shelter and they went on. If I expect to get to Hot Springs tomorrow that means a 15 mile day. Finally got warmed up and a bunch of us pooled our food and made a big pot of "stuff" for supper. They had a nice big fire here so really enjoyed standing out there after the snow stopped. Well, I made it thru the National Park without getting snowed on but did get a good enough dose of it today. Hope it is cleared up tomorrow. Really don't want to hike in nasty weather for a long days hike. Almost 8:30p.m. Using Reno's light, mine finally gave up. Hope to get this mailed Tue. Even if I can make it in to town Mon. Love Mom.
- Hey Hey-Got to town on Monday afternoon!!
- Picked up food box. Checked in at a Hostel. Went to laundromat. Called Sheryl. Ate and now back at hostel. Gonna watch TV., wow!=
- 4-28-92==Hot Springs, NC.
- Hello again. Guess I'm not going to check out the hot springs after all. It's been raining off and on here and I went to the post office and hardware store in a sprinkle. Oh yah, did splurge and spend a couple $ on a breakfast too. May be able to do a couple hours work here at the hostel to pay for tonights' stay instead of $. If I can do that then I'll go up and have a fancy vegetarian dinner tonight. Got Laura's and Angel's letters at this stop and A.J. and Sheryl and Grandpa Aldrich and Marian's too. Quite a windfall. I enjoyed that for sure. Sorry I missed Pop. Thought he was going during this week for some reason. I'm sure glad you were home Sheryl!! I think I'll be starting off on my own again tomorrow as the gal I've been hiking with is thinking about jumping ahead 20 miles. Her old hiking partner is back on the trail and she can meet him there. She already has hiked the trail up into Va. So she can skip some this year and still have done the whole thing. Unlike me, I'll just have to stick to the trail. I wonder what the trail has in store for me next? Will I hike with someone else?? Will I catch up with Damascus again?? Love, Mom
- Wed. 4-29-92 11 miles from the hostel to shelter. Have walked about 279 miles on the AT!!
- Hi Again. Well, I'm back on the trail again. Talked to Sheryl this morning and started off when I hung up. It was a beautiful day to hike. Not too warm but the sun was out so it really was very pleasant. The French Broad River goes thru Hot Springs so, as we were climbing up out of town, we has some very scenic views of the river and a few rapids and back at the town. Stopped for a break by a quiet little pond that had a couple of fellows fishing. Yes, they actually were catching fish. Not sure what kind. Must be a popular place. Had benches here and there around it. Got here to the shelter around 3:30. Nice to arrive kinda early and not have to hurry around doing stuff to get ready to eat. It's a little after 6p.m. now and there are 5 of us here. 3 females and 2 males. Wow, what a switch! It feels as tho it's going to be a cool night. The sun is fading and there is a breeze, a cool one, so it will be nice to crawl into my cozy sleeping bag. This shelter even has a picnic table, hooray, and a spring that is piped and I don't have to filter it. And a privy with no roof that looked like a throne! ha ha. The trail register says this shelter also has MICE. Lots of mice. Someone wrote they were from BandB circus. They jump very high to reach your food bag and also bungee jump! ha ha .. Another one wrote -the mice hold a 5,000 mile road rally between the double roof- starting at sundown and going till dawn! Gee, sounds like I should have earplugs and a metal food box for this one. Well, I can't find my spatula. The only thing I can think is that it fell out when I was repacking at the hostel. Boy, only used it twice and it was light weight and metal too. Bummer. Maybe I can find a Cheap one in the next town. My bannock pancakes go good with supper. Bread and butter, only better. Borrowed a flipper tonight. Not sure how far I'm going tomorrow. It depends on how I feel and what time it is when I get to the next shelter whether I go on to the next one or not. Well, guess I'll get my stuff put away here and start thinking about getting warm and out of the breeze. Love you, Mom.
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