Appalachian Trail ’07


I just got off the Appalachain Trail this afternoon. My father-in-law has lead a trip for the last 6 or 7 years and this is the first year I have been able to go along. What follows is a brief description of my trip:

Fellow hikers: Andy Wells (Jackson, MS), Jack Dickens (Winder, GA), Chad Bailey (Stockbridge, GA), Jamie Dent (Ocean Springs, MS), and D. Neil Harris (Ocean Springs, MS)


We put in on Tuesday at Wallace Gap in North Carolina. I had “Satisfied” running through my head through the first part of the trail. The quote “Further up and further in” came to mind as we seemed to ascend for the first few miles. Our first planned destination was without water (drought), so we pressed on to Betty Creek Pass for the night giving a grand total of 9 miles for the first day. Highlights included the ascent of Albert Mountain. The mountain itself is 5250 ft, but a fire tower atop assures that you make it a full mile above sea level. The tower provided a 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge mountains on a crystal-clear day. Hard to describe that view. The descent of Albert mountain is rather tricky with several near-vertical rock faces to scramble down. Our campsite was adjacent to the aforementioned Betty Creek (we could hear it as we slept). Excellent water there. I had noodles for dinner, couldn’t figure out what flavor they were supposed to be. Jamie brought an axe.

Wednesday: A day for the senses. We hiked about 7 or so miles to Beech Gap. For the eyes, in this area, the leaves were beginning to turn, one beautiful overlook after another, and mile after mile of thickets and tunnels of mountain laurel and rhododendron. Forests of Beech, Oak , and Elm were abundant. For the ears, Occasional birds, the breeze through the trees, a stream here and there, and, when the breeze picked-up we heard a lot of falling acorns (incidentally I got hit by 2). For the taste buds, not much to report. For the nose, the smell of decaying leaves (better than it sounds). For the touch (I guess that’s what I’ll call this sense), blisters. I had a small bath (hair and face) in the creek below our campsite which was rather refreshing and temporarily removed the aroma. Had potatoes for dinner (not bad). Had a nice campfire. (For Jen Reed: animals seen: none other than birds, heard 2 owls calling back and forth and saw lots of bear poop–> hope you weren’t eating, Josh.)

Thursday: New song in my head “Come Ye Sinners” mainly for the poor, wretched, weak, wounded, sick and sore. We hiked about 9 miles and the highlight was Standing Indian. I had spent the night on this mountain about 13 years ago and it’s every bit as beautiful as I remember with an awesome vista at the top. Much of the descent of the mountian was walking on a ridgeline. If the leaves had finished falling, the view would have been better. Saw our first hiker today, he looked clean. Stopped for a break at Whiteoak Stamp and took a 30-min nap. Watched the wind in the trees and the falling leaves, very peaceful. Our end-point was Muskrat creek. Mexican rice and Chicken for dinner (ok) and had Jello No-bake Cheesecake for dessert (I shared). Next-time I will see if they sell powdered milk without the fat removed. Another nice campfire. (Animal update: met a hiker with a yellow lab, again lots of poop, no bears).

Friday: Hiked to Plumorchard (seriously it’s one word. we pronounced it plum-o-chard). It was about 7 miles. A cold front came through overnight and it was a bit chilly (but awesome). Had some left knee pain today. We crossed into Georgia (they didn’t budget for a very nice sign). As soon as we made it into Georgia, the vegetation changed rather quickly. We lost the mt. laurel and rhododendron for a bit and came upon old-growth forests of Oak, Beech, Sassafras, and Pine groves. These tall trees allowed for more undergrowth, very nice change. A lot of ups and downs today, kinda tiring. The shelter at Plum-o-chard was very nice with 2 lofts. Had ramen noodles (beef-ish) for dinner. Nice campfire. Some other hikers stayed in the shelter with us and had the most unbelievable gas you can imagine. Jamie termed it “flatulitis.” Brilliant! (Animal update: lots of mice in and around the shelter. They didn’t bother me as my food was hanging from a bear cable. One of the gassy guys had his trail mix next to him and woke every one up in his battle with our murine guests).

Saturday: Hike out to Dick’s Creek Gap (never saw the creek, by the way). About 4.5 miles out. Had 2-3 steep climbs and nice smooth downs. Met a lot of in-bound hikers as it was the weekend. (no animals other than a dog, sorry)

All in all a wonderful trip. I have now showered and have a steak waiting on me soon. Hope you enjoyed, and come with us next year!




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One Response to “Appalachian Trail ’07”

  1. mags Says:

    What is your phone number? We have news. Although I’m sure you’ve seen/heard by now, I really want to talk to Jennifer! My cell phone seems to eat numbers these days… 😦

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