Twig Adventures

AT Day 92: Hot Springs…my completion of the AT but not the Finish

Sunday Oct 24th 2021, 0610-1920 Little Laurel Shelter to north of Bluff Mountain, SOBO AT mm 1927.428.8 miles7220 gain, 7070 loss Getting to Hot Springs, NC was significant for me. It meant my completion of the AT, taking into account the 2 section hikes I’d done in 2017. I also needed to sort out a late arriving package. I’d had my spare Therm-a-rest shipped, since the baffles on my current one were coming apart, resulting in bulges that made it uncomfortable. It’s also got a low R-value (2), which was great for summer conditions but leaving me a little to cool during recent nights. I needed my women’s xlite mattress, which had been my tried and true option for the CDT,[…]

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AT Day 91: House of the Sun

Saturday Oct 23rd 2021, 0630-1845Bald Mountain Shelter to Little Laurel Shelter, SOBO AT mm 1898.632.9 miles6980 gain, 8430 loss To make up for the lack of miles the day before, we planned another really long day. It was hard to get moving in the morning. The fog rolled in overnight, making the conditions cold and wet with condensation. I set out wearing all my layers for warmth, including rain gloves and skirt. I was so glad I hadn’t camped on the bald. I would’ve been in the cold wind and damp all night. The shelter was the perfect spot to sleep, saving the bald experience for the early morning. We reached the bald just as the sun glow was starting[…]

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AT Day 90: Cold Danger Noodle

Friday Oct 22nd 2021, 1000-1650 Jones Branch Rd to Bald Mountain Shelter, SOBO AT mm 1865.718.2 miles6335 gain, 2989 loss Sauna logic dictates that one prioritizes sauna time over hiking, maximizing the sauna coefficient. This is what I did in the morning, after eating several times as well. Consequently, we didn’t leave the river place until 10 am. We stopped again at a hostel that was across the river. It had some snacks for sale, plus we raided the hiker box… unfortunately it was all mostly trash. We found Bachus there, setting off with him to begin a huge climb out of the valley. We went from around 1800′ to over 5000′ through the rest of the day. It was taxing[…]

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AT Day 89: Will Walk for Sauna

Thursday Oct 21st 2021, 0630-1900 Cloudland Hotel Site to Jones Branch Rd, SOBO AT mm 1847.532.9 miles5930 gain, 10,375 loss The wind really picked up overnight, making for noisy and somewhat chilly conditions. I was most happy for my tent being in the trees and close to the ground. I could hear Mud’s tarp flapping in the wind and wondered if he was cold in his hammock. It was a risky thing to camp so high, so late in the season, but it worked out. The wind that blew up from the valley was temperate and dry, at least, coming from the west. The full moon lighted the surroundings like a lantern, dancing in the clouds that rolled up from below.[…]

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AT Day 88: Roan Mountain Highlands

Wednesday Oct 20th 2021, 1000-1800Mountain Harbor B&B to Cloudland Hotel Site, SOBO AT mm 1814.616.9 miles5840 gain, 2500 loss Mud slept in while I was up early as usual, working on my phone. Breakfast was at 8 am and not a minute was to be missed. I made sure to wake Mud just before. The hostess gave a long explanation of what was what in the huge spread, half of which I didn’t catch because my eyes and stomach were going wild. The fresh baked pastries, quiches, and biscuits were straight out of that British Baking show. I couldn’t sample something of everything and fit it all on one plate, so naturally I had to go back for seconds and[…]

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AT Day 87: Exponentially Fast

Tuesday Oct 19th 2021, 0700-1620 Kincora Hiking Hostel to Mountain Harbor B&B, SOBO AT mm 1797.825.1 miles5460 gain, 5170 loss I woke to the alarm clock of Boots puking up a hairball on the sofa. I reacted fast, throwing her off so she could retch on the floor next to Mud instead. Good kitty. Cats, you know? We were off early in the dark. I was eager to get miles done, while Mud wondered why we needed to leave so early in the cold if we planned just another marathon day…yes 25 miles is like an easy day for us but more realistic given the lack of daylight. I always like to get miles in the bank early because you never[…]

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AT Day 86: Hard Core

Monday Oct 18th 2021, 0700-1800 Iron Mt Shelter to Kincora Hiking Hostel, SOBO AT mm 177324.6 miles4870 gain, 6410 loss We woke to the coldest morning yet. It was in the mid 30s. I was in no hurry to walk in the dark, so I delayed setting off. Old Army was the first to leave around 6 am but I caught up to him later. It’s always nice to have someone clear the cobwebs, though I’m not sure how active the spiders are in such cold. The wind was also strong on the ridge, which usually blows away the webs. The ridge rolled along quite a bit, with lots of short ups that served to keep me warm. I wore all[…]

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AT Day 85: They Do Exist

Sunday Oct 17th 2021, 0830-1800 Damascus to Iron Mt Shelter, SOBO AT mm 1748.626.2 miles5850 gain, 3680 loss We had a simple breakfast of grocery and gas station food, said goodbye to our gracious host Uncle Johnny, and hit the trail feeling pretty refreshed. The temperature had plummeted after the front, bringing highs only in the 50s for the day. It was great for the climb out of town but left me feeling a bit chilled when the trail leveled out on a ridge. I wore my fleece all day and even put my rain jacket on at lunch, leaving it on for the remainder. The lows were supposed to be in the 40s and even 30s up high. What a[…]

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AT Days 83 & 84: The Last 500 & Damascus

Friday Oct 15th 2021, 0630-1620 Thomas Knob Shelter to Damascus, SOBO AT mm 1722.426 miles3500 gain, 7000 loss All the guys (Brian, Wizard, All There and Bojangles) arrived at the shelter after dark, so we had a fun time telling pony stories. Early in the morning, I emerged from the shelter to see the mighty light of ten thousand suns challenging infinity. Our position up high and out in the open was sure a change from most nights on the AT. Walking in the dark early in the morning was thus quite a pleasant experience. We watched the light growing in the east and then sunrise. It was like hiking out west in the desert. It was mostly downhill to Damascus.[…]

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AT Day 82: Grayson Highland Ponies

Thursday Oct 14th 2021, 0640-1730 Trimpi Shelter to Thomas Knob Shelter, SOBO AT mm 169425.3 miles6190 gain, 3715 loss The famous Grayson Highland ponies were on order for this day. We’d been singing and telling stories for days about how we’d catch one to ride all the way to Georgia…just as a joke of course. We’d worked out a pretty catchy tune. But first we had to do our usual hiker things of getting ready and walking in the dark. The poor guy in the shelter, who was left wondering how on earth we all got in so late, only to be up at 5 am packing. I’m sorry to say that we disturbed his 12 hours of sleep but we[…]

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