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[at-l] Trip Report.....Winding Stair Gap to Wesser, NC

This past weekend  three friends from work and I hiked the AT from
Winding Stair Gap to Wesser. Both days were good hiking days. But then
what day isn't good for hiking. Saturday was overcast most of the day,
light wind and highs in the upper 30s. Saturday night my little
thermometer indicated 20. Sunday dawned clear at Coldspring Shelter. From
the ridge crest we could watch the fog filled valleys gradually  clear as
we where eating breakfast . The skies were a cloudless blue by the time
we got to Wesser Bald. I felt like turtle. We laid around on the
observation tower for close to an hour just soaking up the sun. This took
the edge of the wind and the 40F temperature.

There is a new shelter, the Wesser Shelter, about a mile north of Wesser
Bald. I don't know when it was built, the last time I was on this section
was back in '94. I think the new shelter is in a good spot. The  Rufus
Morgan Shelter is still about a mile south of Wesser so I estimate this
new shelter at about 5 miles south of Wesser. Because it is a good steady
up hill climb out of Wesser this new shelter will make a nice stopping
place for hikers who resupply in Wesser but don't stop over there. 

We got into Wesser about 4pm with knees scream and stomaches growling.
Can you believe it, the cafe closed at 3pm! I'm glad I had a little gorp
left over. 

There is a good number of springs and camp sites along this section. We
put our tents up on the ridge crest just above the Coldspring Shelter. I
think the tent places are more level than the floor of the shelter. 

Because US 64 passes through Winding Stair Gap and US19 goes through
Wesser this section is very convienient as far as road access goes. I
don't think I'd be willing to leave a car at Winding Star Gap but
something might be worked out for parking at the Rainbow Springs
Campground or Standing Indian. Both of these places are just a few miles
south of Windstair Gap. These extra miles would lengthen the hike from
about 28 miles to about  33.The folks at the NOC let me park on the back
side of their parking lot when I did this section in '94. I guess they
will still allow this.  Hopeful
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