Twig Adventures

AT Day 102: Penultimate Pizza

Wednesday Nov 3rd 2021, 0710-1730                 Low Gap Shelter to Gooch Mountain Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2177.327 miles6450 gain, 6650 loss The mice left me alone all night, or at least were stealthy enough not to wake me. As soon as I retrieved the food bags from the cables, they resumed scurrying about in full sight. I was happy to leave them behind. I had only one thing on my mind this morning and that was getting to Neel gap so I could eat a freshly re-heated frozen pizza. A hot, salty, greasy pie never sounded so good. Especially since the day started off so cold and dreary. The sun looked like it could make an appearance early on….there were even a[…]

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AT Day 101: Commitment to the End & Acrobatic Mice

Tuesday Nov 2nd 2021, 0715-1830                 Plumorchard Gap Shelter to Low Gap Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2150.331.2 miles8060 gain, 8020 loss I left the shelter in the dark, having a hard time finding the scant side trail. I watched a nice sunrise from atop the ridge. The trees were sparse enough to allow a few views, the colors framed and enriched by the remaining colorful leaves. Some clouds rolled in and the sun was mostly obscured the rest of the day, making for some cooler temperatures. It was good for hiking but not for stopping. Something about the cold and the relentless ups and downs in the morning really sealed the deal for me. I’d been contemplating my idea of retracing my[…]

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AT Day 100: Georgia for the 100th

Monday Nov 1st 2021, 0650-1850                 Rock Gap Shelter to Plumorchard Gap Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2119.432.1 miles6266 gain, 7090 loss I didn’t get an early enough start to make it the 6 miles to the Alberts Mountain fire tower for sunrise but I still got incredible views…perhaps some of my favorite photos from the whole trip! The tower happened to be unlocked and I was surprised to find 4 women backpackers cowboy camping inside. We shared the epic vistas together, while I turned them onto the Peakfinder App…I should be getting some kickbacks for all the customers I’ve sent their way. We were able to pick out Clingman’s Dome and other highlights of the Smokies, as well as Siler and Wayah[…]

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AT Day 99: Wayah Miracles

Sunday Oct 31st 2021, 1030-1840                 Tellico Gap to Rock Gap Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2087.523.2 miles5260 gain, 5280 loss It was another slow start. Sofie made delicious cinnamon rolls and eggs… a real hot breakfast for the 3rd morning in a row. From the Fontana Hilton to Franklin, we’d had a luxurious stretch on trail but it was time to get back to business. There were a total of 137 miles left and I planned to go all the way to the end by staying on the trail, no more hostels, resupplies or trail angel stops. It was time to get this done. I’d just realized that I could make it to Georgia, the 14th state, on my 100th day and[…]

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AT Day 98: Franklin Friends

Saturday Oct 30th 2021, 0945-1200                 NOC to Tellico Gap, SOBO AT mm 2064.37.9 miles3210 gain, 1060 loss I slept so good in Donna’s warm and cozy upstairs loft bed. The idea of getting up to hike through another cold and rainy day was unappealing, to say the least. But I had more trail angels lined up for the end of the day, so what was another day of walking in such conditions? A goal of 23 miles quickly turned into 8. Since I’d already hiked these sections, I didn’t mind pushing through and missing the views. But Mud would be short-changed. Wesser, Wayah and Siler balds all had such nice vistas, it was a shame to not see them, especially given[…]

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AT Day 97: NOC

Friday Oct 29th 2021, 0800-1800                 Fontana Dam Shelter to NOC, SOBO AT mm 2056.429 miles7680 gain, 7730 loss I woke to the sound of semi-heavy rain. This was expected but still a bit demoralizing. I didn’t want to walk 29 miles in such conditions, but this is what it would take to stay in a warm and dry home by the end of the day. Sure I could have just stayed put at the Hilton, but not if I wanted to make it to Franklin for the weekend, in order to visit friends. Walking all day in the rain is a part of the deal with thru-hiking, a testament to our dedication to the cause. Speaking of dedication, Fresh Ground had[…]

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AT Day 96: Fresh Grounded at the Fontana Hilton

Thursday Oct 28th 2021, 0600-1445                 Derrick Knob Shelter to Fontana Dam Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2027.424.2 miles4550 gain, 7615 loss I woke to find dust covering every surface, including my quilt, pillow, face and phone. The wind had blown the dirt off the shelter floor onto the bunks all night. Even my mouth felt gritty. I’ve never started a day feeling so dirty. I promptly got up to shake everything out, then pack on a bench in the corner, slightly out of the wind. Cold and grumpy, I left early. I figured it was better to walk in the dark than in the rain that was forecasted to start later in the day. A comment on the app warned of rough[…]

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AT Day 95: Highpoints

Wednesday Oct 27th 2021, 0630-1900                 Peck’s Corner Shelter to Derrick Knob Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2003.328.8 miles6690 gain, 7150 loss It was very cold overnight but I stayed warm in my quilt. I’ve been impressed by it, given its 30 degree limit. I didn’t even wear my puffy to sleep. I left the shelter before Mud, knowing he’d catch up. I watched the the sunrise from the trail, brilliantly framed by the mountains. I’d woken to clear and brisk skies…what a 180 from the day before. It was probably the best views I’d ever gotten from the Smokies, since usually it’s pretty hazy, when it’s not raining or foggy. I’d been 0 for 2 for views from Clingmans Dome on previous[…]

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AT Day 94: Into the Smokies

Tuesday Oct 26th 2021, 0930-1740                  Standing Bear Hostel to Peck’s Corner Shelter, SOBO AT mm 197523.6 miles7717 gain, 4414 loss It was hard to leave the hostel since the rain was still coming down in the morning. My hopes of doing a 30 mile day dissipated while I used the time to blog instead. I also snuggled with the cat and played with the dog. We decided on a shorter day since a closer shelter made more sense, given the elevation change. We’d be going from 1500′ to over 6000′. A 30 mile spread would have involved over 10k of total elevation change. I hadn’t done that big of a day since Maine and didn’t feel like killing myself again. We[…]

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AT Day 93: Max Patch & Apple

Monday Oct 25th 2021, 0630-1630                  North of Bluff Mountain to Standing Bear Hostel, SOBO AT mm 1951.624.5 miles5220 gain, 7320 loss I was pretty tired in the morning, having a hard time waking up. I wonder why…all the big miles, late nights, lack of sleep….hmmm. I was looking forward to getting to the hostel early, maybe even taking a nap…yeah right. I finished the climb to Bluff mountain in the dark, glad I had broken it up over 2 days. Still it felt like it took forever. My headlamp stayed on until 7:25 am and I didn’t see anyone until the next shelter, where I stopped to use the loo. A short walk through a nearby bald brought back pleasant memories[…]

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