Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fontana Dam, NC - Nobo 164

This post is actually from March 17, 2015:  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Hi everybody, I got off the trail yesterday afternoon at about 4 o'clock. I have attached some photos of my first views of Fontana dam which is where I ended yesterday and will resume on April 2. There is also a sign showing that the boundary and entrance point to the great Smoky Mountain National Park lies just ahead that will be my next major obstacle when I resume in a couple of weeks. The other photos are of the exact spot where I stopped yesterday showing the final blaze of my first part of the hike and also the little house where I was able to make a call to get the shuttle. There is no cell phone service at Fontana dam. I feel good and have a good night sleep in a nice hotel in Asheville North Carolina and I am flying back to Boston in a few hours. 

The following photo is the first billboard I saw when I entered the Asheville, NC airport.  Kismet?

Unnamed Tent Site above Stecoah Gap, NC - Nobo 149

This post is actually from March 16, 2015.  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Hi all sleeping alone on a mountaintop tonight in a tent in dry warm weather it seems like a nice night to be camping out. I went through the NOC today which is one of the Appalachian Trail milestones I think it is so well-known because it is an agglomeration  of a few stores and restaurants that is exactly on the trail so many young hikers tend to hang out at the spot for a while. I was able to make phone calls there to set up my shuttle tomorrow afternoon at five from Fontana dam to get me back to a city where there is an airport for a flight home on Wednesday I'll come back to that same place on April 2 and  resume hiking  the trail.The terrain is getting more rough as I approach the great Smoky Mountain National Park and the miles are getting a little bit slower for me there were two very big climbs today one was about 8 miles long and it took a lot out of me. I walked until almost dark tonight and camped at this isolated spot in order to make just 19 miles so either I'm getting tired or the going is getting tougher or probably both. I've added another couple shots of some scenery that I saw climbing out of the valley that the NOC is in this afternoon. 

Tellico Gap, NC - Nobo 129

This post is  from March 15, 2015.   The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Made it 19.7 miles to Tellico Gap tonight.  Highlights today were seeing a new hiker companion for me for the first time today - my shadow. Another first today was getting lost several times near the summit of Wylah Bald Mountain where other trails intersected with the Appalachian Trail and the trails were marked poorly. I probably lost 20 minutes going in circles. In any case I made it to this gap at about 6 PM and got a ride to this mountain lodge where I am staying in great comfort tonight. Helen and I are discussing plans for my return trip onto Maine it looks like I will be flying home from Asheville, North Carolina on Wednesday afternoon far so good.

My new hiking companion - he only shows up when it is sunny which has not been happening:

I had the good fortune to stay in the Aquaone Lodge tonight.  The owners Steve and Maggie picked me up at Tellico Gap and drove me to the lodge about 15 minutes away and brought me back to the Gap in the morning.  Their lodge was a wonderful experience in comfort and luxury buried in the deep woods of NC.  This is a photo of me eating the sumptuous breakfast Maggie cooked for me before Steve drove me back to the Gap to start the next day:

Winding Stair Gap, NC - Nobo 109

This post is from March 14, 2015.  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Hi all - the reason the two updates are coming so close together is that there has been no cell phone coverage for two days. When I reached my destination for tonight - Winding Stair Gap, it was the first time I really got  coverage. I got a late start today because it was raining so hard I did not want to take down the tent in the rain. As it was, the rain really never stopped and I put away the tent and everything else in the rain so everything is very wet. I actually started hiking at 10 minutes before 10 - unbelievably late! Thankfully I made it to Winding Stair Gap and was able to get a ride into Franklin, North Carolina where I am now in a nice warm hotel room. Today's mileage was 22.5 miles. I was hiking right up until nightfall another 15 minutes and I would have needed a headlamp.From what they say today was the  and final day of rain and drizzle and tomorrow will finally be the beginning of the warm sunny stretch.

I believe I am now on schedule for being able to return to main on the evening of the March 18 as I originally planned

Standing Indian Shelter, NC - Nobo 86

This post is actually from March 13, 2015.  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

No cell service from here (Standing Indian Mountain Shelter) tonight but I will compose this message anyways.

Crossed into North Carolina today. Weather was the worst yet. Rainy cold and high winds. I only could make 16 miles today with the conditions and feeling a little weaker today. Tucked in for the night I am attaching also a couple of shots of the tent going up tonight