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[at-l] A Journal of our 3 day AT Adventure



I thought you might enjoy this journal I kept when my husband Philip and I
hiked for a few days on the AT in GA and NC.  It was Philip's first AT
adventure and we had a blast!  If I got too wordy and long, just delete!
Maggie (Lady Hawk)

AT Hike from Dick's Creek Gap to Wallace Gap
August 7-9, 1997
Journal kept by Maggie Wade(Lady Hawk)

Thursday, August 7, 1997
We're off to see the Wizard!
We are at the Rainbow Springs Campground on Old Hwy. 64 outside Franklin,
NC.  The folks here are very nice and are going to shuttle us to Dick's
Creek Gap.  At $25 per person that's a good idea to prevent break-in of the
van and Philip having to bike a long way back to the van. We arrived early,
but the shuttle is to be at 9:00am.  I'm ready to hit the Trail!

Thursday evening-

We are camping at Muskrat shelter tonight.  Philip has never stayed in a
shelter, so tonight he can experience it.  We had a little rain tonight, so
we will stay inside.  Nice one with a wide porch.  A picnic table under the
porch - nice.  We are cooking Cajun rice tonight with smoked oysters and
jerky added.  Actually it was not all that good...next time I'll leave it
out of the menu.

Today we had few views but I enjoyed being with Philip.  He is fun to hike
with.  He's in such good shape from biking, that he climbs these mountains
with ease.  He seems so at ease here and I love it!  We've seen tons of
wild flowers today - phlox, jewelweed, mint, black-eyed Susan's, and
several beauties that I don't know.

I completed my first state today!  I hugged the tree which bore the "NC/GA"
sign.  The GA section is much better kept generally that this part of NC.
When you get to Bly Gap and the maintenance changes hands, it is a drastic
change.  IN NC, many places the grass/wildflowers/weeds/stickers cover the
trail.  We met a GA trail maintainer just before Bull Gap and he warned us
of "underground hornets" ahead.  We saw their hole, respected their space
and walked on.

We are now sitting on a cliff that has a beautiful view of where we've
been.  It faces south/southwest and would probably have a good sunset, but
I don't think the clouds to our west will allow it tonight. This side trail
branches off near the shelter and is about 1/2 mile long.  I wish my
daughter Ali could see and draw this!  I may try.  (And I did)

Having hiked from Springer to Dick's Creek Gap earlier in the summer with a
group of wonderful friends that we called the Sole Sisters (see website
<http://www.mindspring.com/~mfw/sisters/hike97.htm> for more details) , I
found it interesting that a man we met on the trail wrote about us in the
register here.  As I was reading the Muskrat shelter register, I found this
entry from Franz "Late Start" Shoal...
"This has been my only journal entry so far - wasn't planning on keeping
one or entering, but alas I am bored around 9:00pm so here it is.  I am
starting to miss some form of companionship since my 7 friends (Sole
Sisters) left the trail at Dick's Creek Gap.  I really miss them....."
I was touched that he felt that way and wrote it down never knowing that
one of us would read it someday!   I too, miss the other Sole Sisters!


Friday, August 8, 1997

Today was glorious!  We woke up about 7:30 or 8 to the sound of little
creature feet scurrying around the shelter and fussing with each other.  We
hit the trail about 9:20.  The clouds stayed with us most of the day
keeping the temps at around 60 degrees.  Nice weather for hiking.  After a
steady but gradual climb, we got to Standing Indian Mt. (5400') and sat on
a rock overlook into a cloud!  I made the comment, "OK, Lord, clear it off
a little now." And sure enough within seconds, the clouds rolled away for a
few minutes allowing us a nice view to the South.

More incredible flowers today - white and red bee balm, rhodos and more.
Philip seems to really enjoy this.  He keeps saying," This backpacking is
fun."  Looks like I've found a new partner.  Tonight we are camping at
Carter's Gap, but not the shelter.  It stinks, very old and low.  We opted
for our tent.  We ate a pasta chicken dish that was tasty.  We saw a
shelter bunny today as a lunch stop at Standing Indian Shelter.

There is an older man camping at the shelter tonight.  He is from
Lafayette, LA and talks a wee bit Cajun...made me miss my old friend from
south Miss.  He had come from Deep Gap (8 1/2 miles), a long day for him.
I admire him for doing this alone.

Philip has been reading Robert Frost poems.  Interesting and fun companion
for the trail - Frost.


Saturday, August 9, 1997

It rained off and on all night.  I worried about a dead tree near our tent.
Silly I know, but every time I awoke, I thought about it.   We lay in the
tent and waited for the rain to stop then hurried out to pack and eat
breakfast.

I was excited to see what Albert Mt. would be like.  I loved it!  Lots of
rocks to climb on in that last .3 mile.  My kind of hiking.  Philip enjoyed
it too.  We sat near the top of Albert looking at the view and ate a light
lunch of cheese, peanut butter, English muffins and gorp.  Yummy!  The
clouds allowed us a view.  Then we walked on to the tower.  I went up 2
levels, far enough for me.  I could see over the treetops.  We passed
through what seemed like miles of rhododendron tunnels...Philip's favorite.

The rain began to pour with about 3 or 4 miles yet to hike before Wallace.
Philip walks so much faster than me that he reached Rock Gap well ahead of
me.  I was holding the maps so I worried that he might mistake it for our
destination and start walking down the road.  Luckily he waited for me.  We
walked together to Wallace Gap and down the "longest mile" road to the
Rainbow Springs Campground.  All in the pouring rain.  Here we got hot
showers at $3.50 each plus $1.00 to rent a towel.  We thought this was
high.

We drove on home.  My new gel innersoles had apparently made my toe touch
the end of my boot on downhills this trip.  May lose that toenail.  I think
this summer's hiking has been the best so far of all my years of hiking.
I really enjoyed having this time with Philip.  It is fun to rediscover our
marriage relationship now with Alison almost grown.

Happy Trails :-)    Margaret

            Stepping Stones
     I do not ask to walk smooth paths,
     Nor bear an easy load.
     I ask for strength and fortitude
     To climb the rock-strewn road.
     With such courage I can scale
     The heartiest peaks alone,
     And turn every stumbling block
     Into a stepping stone.


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