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[at-l] GA section trip report



Maybe this will fill up some space on the notoriously slow AT-L weekends!
My son, Jeffrey and I just returned from a 4 day section hike on the AT in
Georgia.  I'll give a brief trip report and some observations.

After leaving Tuscaloosa at 5:00 AM, we started at Neel's Gap on Monday,
5/19 around noon. We camped at Poplar Stamp Grove the first night with 10
boys ranging in ages from 8 to 13 that were on an 11 day hike from
Nimblewill Gap to Unicoi Gap.  Most folks probably wouldn't want to camp
with that many pre-teen boys, but we had a good time talking with them, and
they were well behaved.  Their counselor, Dave, had the most patience of
anyone I've ever met!  The boys looked like they were having a good time
and I wish them well.

The next morning we met Adam, a northbound thru-hiker from South Bend, IN.
He had just graduated from college and planned to hike the AT for 4 months.
 He thought that he would probably go north for two months, then fly up to
Maine and start south.  My son and I both thought the climb up Rocky
Mountain out of Unicoi Gap was much worse than the climb up Tray Mountain.
We stopped for the night and camped near the Tray Mountain shelter.  What a
beautiful site!

The next day was our big mileage day - 15 miles to Plumorchard Gap.  We did
not see any other hikers until we were coming down the mountain into Dick's
Creek Gap.  I heard a crashing sound just ahead of us and soon saw a couple
walking up the trail.  They had just seen a bear cross the trail in front
of us!  Unfortunately, we did not see it.  I recall someone mentioning on
the list that there were no more bears in the Georgia section - perhaps
there are some now.  

Our last morning started out pretty uneventful.  We stopped and took
pictures at the NC/GA border tree just before Bly Gap.  Someone had left a
campfire smoldering at Bly Gap, so we stopped and watered it down.  Then
came the steepest, longest mile of my life - the climb up Sharp Top and
Courthouse Bald.  After this climb, my son just moped on over to the
Muskrat Creek shelter.  Once he ate a Snickers and got a look at the map,
he was ready to go!  We did the next 4 miles into Deep Gap in 1.5 hours -
he practically ran up Yellow Mountain.  The white pickup truck we saw
parked there sure looked good.  

Some general observations:
- Changing socks every 2-3 hours really works for me.  My new all-leather
Asolo boots have about 100 miles on them now and I have not had a single
blister.

- We both really liked the Sierra Designs Clip-3 tent we used on this trip.
 It weighs only 5 pounds, but provides plenty of elbow space inside.
However, the vestibule is almost non-existent.

- There are many more good campsites than those mentioned in the AT Guide.
All of the water sources seem to be well marked - except for the one at
Hogpen Gap on GA 348 that the guide does not mention.

- The right type of extended leg boxer brief can minimize chafing.  I had
two pair - one was polypro (Wicker's) and the other was cotton.  I had the
cotton ones on for about 2 hours and started to chafe.  I put the
synthetics back on - problem disappeared.

I guess this is enough rambling for now.  Off to the beach for a week -
then back to work (and lurker mode)!

Joey Parker
Tuscaloosa, AL

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