ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Yes folks, Nimblewill has laced up his Oboz trekkers and is shouldering his Murmur backpack
one more time–for the last, last time!

This year’s odyssey will be known as “Odyssey 2021 ‘Bama to Baxter – Hike On.”  This will be the ultimate journey in this old man’s life, one of body, mind and spirit.

This trek begins at Flagg Mountain, the southernmost mountain in the Appalachians
Mountain Range. From Flagg he’ll follow the Pinhoti Trail through northeast Alabama into
Georgia where he’ll connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail–which leads to Springer Mountain
in north Georgia. On Springer Mountain he’ll pick up the Appalachian Trail and hike it on to
Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
Journal entries and photos will be posted often. Gonna be another predictively unpredictable
Nimblewill Odyssey – Bama to Baxter 2021 Hike On.

Sure be great to have y’all come along…

Journal 53-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Tuesday–April 13, 2021
Trail Day–053
Trail Mile–9.5/542.1
Location–Tellico Gap, AT Mile 128.8, then to the Chica & Sunsets Hostel,  Franklin, North Carolina

A great night at Chica & Sunsets. Soaked my old bones in a hot tub of water (with epson salts–for 20 minutes), then went and curled up in my own bed in my own room and slept soundly.

Chica serves me breakfast at seven this morning (great coffee, too). Then Sunsets loads me and we’re off to Wayah Bald. A few more pics at the old tower; then I bid farewell to Sunsets–and I’m back hiking just after nine.

The day has turned perfect, haze-free views for miles. Many vistas. Ahh, and many lush, green rhododendron tunnels to hike through for a change!

The trail drops from Wayah to Licklog and Burningtown Gaps before climbing up and around the balds of Copper Ridge, Tellico, Black, and Rocky. Many northbound hikers on the trail. Some stop to chat as they pass. Most just keep on truckin’. Mid afternoon I text Cory, owner of Outdoor 76, and he makes the 45-minute drive up to Tellico Gap to fetch me–and deliver me back to Chica & Sunsets comfy hostel in Franklin.

Been another fine day for hiking this old AT…

Look deep into nature
and you will understand everything better.
(Albert Einstein)

Journal 52-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Monday–April 12, 2021
Trail Day–052
Trail Mile–9.9/532.6
Location–Wayah Bald, then to Chica & Sunsets Hostel,  Franklin, North Carolina

Another up-at-5:30 morning. Stanley goes for coffee from the lobby while I begin sorting through my bounce box. I picked it up yesterday at Outdoor 76 and will be sending it on to Laughing Heart Hostel in Hot Springs, two weeks on up the trail.

A run by McDonald’s drive through and we’re on our way back to Winding Stair Gap where Stanley picked me up yesterday. I get my pack up, then linger. Time to say goodbye to Stanley. He’s heading back toward Alabama today. Your support (and personal trainer advice) has been such a great benefit–thanks Stanley!

More climbing today, 5,000 feet elevation change up and over Siler Bald, then Wayah Bald. An abundance of rocks and roots slows my pace considerably. Yet I get the 10 in by two. Chica and her friend, Karen, have driven up the mountain to fetch me, then take me back to Chica & Sunsets Hostel in Franklin.

It’s been a perfect hiking day. To finish at Wayah fire tower, just a special time. The old tower is a neat structure, but nothing in comparison to the Flagg Mountain tower.

At the parking lot, folks are here handing out trail magic. I stop by their table a minute to meet them and get a bowl of their homemade soup. Chris Bullis, Laurel Holland, Jan Berryhill–thanks for your kindness to our hiker community!

Three things in human life are important.
The first is to be kind.
The second is to be kind.
And the third is to be kind.
(Henry James)

Journal 51-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Sunday–April 11, 2021
Trail Day–051
Trail Mile–9.5/522.7
Location–Winding Stair Gap, AT Mile 109.4, then to Windham Microtel, Franklin, North Carolina

Its an hours drive back up Albert Mountain, so at five-thirty we’re up; Stanley has coffee going–eggs frying, toast toasting. Not a long-mile day, but I would like to finish early and get on in to Franklin. Rick has reserved a room for us there–we both need a shower and clean clothes.

An up and around climb, then up and around some more on the old fire tower road to Albert. Slow going, but Stanley manages to get me back on trail at eight. Photo time first thing–the 100-mile stick sign.

The storms of yesterday are gone, the wet rocks, now mostly dry, the vistas, postcard beautiful. So, the hike today is pleasant, along the narrow, mostly level ridge running from Albert Mountain. A little climbing late morning, some rocks and roots, and I’m down to Rock Gap. Stanley is here and has prepared lunch. While relaxing in the warm sun (been a cold morning), a young fellow comes up to me, introduces himself, asks for an interview–“My name is Ryan. I do a podcast called Mighty Blue on the Appalachian Trail. Mind if I ask you a few questions about your hikes?” A fun time; thanks, Ryan. Hey, check out his blog at <www.hikingradionetwork.com>.

Afternoon, a narrow, straight off the mountain sideslab around to Wallace Gap, followed by a long, steep climb up to and around Rocky Cove Knob–before the final descent for the day to Winding Stair Gap.

Afternoon, Stanley drives me to Franklin where we check into the motel–thanks Rick! Then a stop by Outdoor 76 downtown. By their register I sign the Class of 2021 banner. In the evening, it’s supper with Cory and Rob, owners of Outdoor 76, their employees and friends. I get to meet Chica & Sunsets, local (Franklin) hostel owners–and I’m invited to spend the night with them tomorrow.

One more interview today, with Lilly Knoepp, Reporter, Blue Ridge Public Radio, Asheville.
What an action-packed day! Living the dream…

Never underestimate
the power of dreams
and the influence

of the human spirit.
(Wilma Rudolph)

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