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[at-l] Fw: Springer to Wesser Nov 19-29

> From: bogey1 <bogey1@worldlynxyork.net>
> To: AT MailList Saffron <at-l@saffron.hack.net>
> Cc: Trailplace Mail <atml@trailplace.com>
> Subject: Springer to Wesser Nov 19-29
> Date: Sunday, November 30, 1997 11:21 AM
> 11/19 started at 11:20 am after our shuttle dropped us off. We hiked in
from the rte 42 access rd to Springer then turned around and hiked north
and camped on a hill above Hawk Mt shelter at 4pm. Easy 8 mi. hike.  

11/20 It was 28* at 6am and got to 56* during the day. Good hiking terrain.
Met ten southbounders today. A man hiking with his three sons, one son was
Slim-slo-slider.  They planned to finish on Saturday.  Then we were walking
down the trail and as a thru-hiker approached, I said, "I know you!"  He
replied, "Junkyard Dog!" Yes we hiked the Whites together in July. We
exchanged greetings and hugs. Its hard to hug with a backpack on.   He
wanted to hike the IAT after summitting 'K' and was turned back at the
Canadian border. He was hiking with Oz a tall fellow from Maine.  Junkyard
Dog planned to summit Springer on Sunday after taking a day off at the
Springer Shelter to celebrate.  We took photos and said goodbye after
reporting on the weather forecast from my weather radio. We hiked along
with a youth group of 13 out for three days who stayed at Gooch Gap in the
woods.   I tried new inner soles for my One Sports and now I'm getting
blisters which I never got before.  Dumb me! Camped at Preaching Rock at
4pm after 13+ mi. 

11/21 temps--38* to 44* Did not see a soul today except at Walasi-Yi where
we restocked.  It rained all day. We expected the hike to Blood Mt to be
tough but it was well graded and pleasant.  It was cold and rainy and windy
at the shelter but we put the wooden shutter in the window and sat down to
eat some lunch. My feet are very sore now from the inner soles. I have a
blister on my big toe to rival the little toe.  Everything, including us,
was wet from the rain by the time we hiked 12 1/2 mi. to a tentsite at
Corbin Horse Gap. I fell asleep to the sound of rain on the tent.  Took a
photo of a blue flower still blooming in November. 

11/22 temps 36* -48*  The rain cleared out.  We hiked to the top of a hill
and spread out everthing we owned in the wind and sun to dry it out. We
hiked from 7:20 to 5pm doing about 13 mi.  Saw two garter snakes today.  We
passed a thru-hiker near Hogpen Gap and he said his trailname was
Sharpshin.  "Sharpshin!", I said, "the one and only who wrote the
Sharpshin's Amazing Survival Guide?"  "Yes", he a said, almost forgetting
that he'd written that a few monnths ago at Tagg Run Shelter.  I told him
how I loved his sense of humor.  Its like finding a long lost friend when
you meet someone you've only read about.  Then later we passed Turbo, a
girl from Long Island who planned to finish her hike on Monday.  She had a
bus ticket.  We thought how hard it will be for her to make nearly 40 miles
in 2 days.  She was longing for home. We stayed at Chatahoochee Gap after
hiking 12 1/2 mi.  Still good trails, well-graded, but my blisters hurt. 
Walking in wet boots all day yesterday didn't help.            

11/23 temps 18* - 38*  It was clear and cold today.   Hiked over Tray which
I thought would be hard by the profile map but it was easy.  It was harder
going north out of Unicoi Gap.  We made 12 mi. as we camped near Steeltrap
Gap.  Our water froze in the water bag overnight and the bottles were
filled with ice crystals which made for excellent drinking during the day.
My fingers were numb from the cold for about an hour until I got warmed up
on the hike. One thinsulate gloves and one polartec gloves helped.  We
passed two southbounders (didn't ask their names) who asked about Turbo and
said she'd walk all night if she had to to get to her bus ride home.  

11/24  temps 20* at 6am - 38*  Hiked 14 tough miles today to Plumorchard
Gap Shelter, our first shelter stay on this hike.  We saw a trail crew
consisting of Chops a 97 thru-hiker and a helper, Even Steven and  and a
few day hikers.  

11/25 temps  20*-50* Hiked to Standing Indian Shelter.  Four days left to a
hot bath a hot meal and a Coca-Cola.  Did not see anyone on the trail
today.   My big toe blister is ruining the whole hike.  But You just
grimace and bear it.  Saw a bobcat near Muskrat Creek Shelter and lots of
bear scat along the trail.

11/26  MY BIRTHDAY  temps  15* am- 42* pm. hiked 14.5 mi.    Bogey is
carrying my food bag as my birthday present.  I tried to talk him into
carrying all my clothing too but he's just too smart for that.  It started
to rain at 2pm while hiking up Albert Mt.  Great fun!  Too bad the clouds
socked in the views so we didn't even go up the firetower.  The whole day,
we passed only two dayhikers going south who packed in 9# of food for any
thru-hikers they passed.  But we didn't qualify. I must practice my
Yogi-ing a bit more. Those big droopy eyes and a big tear.  Oh well.  We
got to the shelter and someone had left Ramen Noodle dinners which we
quickly ate right out of the wrappers. .  "Happy Birthday, Slim" was
invisibly written all over them.  The dry noodles are crunchy and flavorful
and even better with a little cheese.  It was wet and rainy all evening.

11/27  THANKSGIVING DAY  20*- 44*  Hiked 13 miles today to Siler's bald
Shelter.  Feet still hurting.  Stopped at Winding stair gap to eat lunch
along the big road.  The cars passed us one by one with happy warm faces
smiling and waving but no turkey sandwiches or Coca-Cola offerings.  But
the Bogemeister said, "Slim, what're we gonna have for lunch today?"  "Make
your choice from the menu, I said:  "Tuna with crackers, chicken in a can
with crackers, or fishy tasting stuff in mustard sauce"   Well, he chose
the specialty of the house,  "A small can of Chicken with mayonnaise and
pickle relish and a few saltines and a handful of potato Chips washed down
with a lovely bubbly from the year 1997, a chardonay of explicit
aroma----water from the piped spring.  Then off we went like a couple of
whipped dogs to the hill ahead with our turkey-hungry tongues dragging on
the ground.  I thought of all those people in those little cars driving by
us with big fat bellies full of turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes,
candied yams, corn, fruit salad, pumpkin pie.  There was a little car that,
I swear, looked just like a juicy Butterball.  Bogey had to hold me back
from swiping its head off with my hiking stick.  Oh the simplicities of
trail life!  Jack and Sharon Smith, dayhikers from MIssissippi, shared the
shelter with us that night. 

11/28  Hiked from 7am-4:30 pm  and it was warm, 40* with a SE wind, humid. 
Hiked 17 miles today to 20 min. from the top of Wesser Bald.  This was not
the plan.  We had hoped to camp near Tellico Gap but couldn't find a place
so we kept going.  Met a couple from Binghamton, NY who told us this was
the last good place to camp before Wesser Bald.  Bogey was soaked with
perspiration, so glad it wasn't too cold. 

11/29  Off we went at 8am to the firetower.  It was socked in pretty much
but there was a break in the clouds enough to take a few photos.  Then we
hiked off to NOC.  There were 8 tough little ascents in the big descent to
NOC which kinda spoiled our plans for a rapid exit and a bath and a hair
washing.   I liked the Jumpup and a few other spots for nice views.  It
started to drizzle at 11 am and we just kept going.  By 12:40 we reached
NOC and we felt like jumping for joy and high-fiving everyone we saw. But
no one but us knew what we had just done.   We survived and we learned and
we enjoyed.  There was no crowd or celebration although in our hearts we
were ecstatic to have completed the south AT.  And now Maine is all that's
left.  August 1998.  Maine, are you ready for us?  
Our nice little Cavalier was waiting to usher our tired butts home.  We
stopped in Cherokee and had our first hot meal in eleven days, a steak
dinner and I got a big piece of Devil's food cake with chocolate icing for
my birthday. Yum!  It was one of those little dreams that kept me going to
the end..... Thanks, Bogey, my soul-mate, who keeps me going.  
Thanks to all you fellow hikers who inspire us continually
Slim and Bogey  
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