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Friday–March 5, 2021
A cold night at Choccolocco Shelter. Huddled back in the corner in my 30-degree down Zpacks quilt on my Therm-a-Rest Neoair mattress, I slept very well.
The sun is up and the day bright as I finally get out and going–a little before seven. A short climb and I’m into the Dugger Mountain Wilderness. Climbing still, with more side-slabbing thrown in, along the trail, evident is the unbelievable and widespread destruction from Hurricane Zeta. Countless huge centuries-old hardwood and pine have been completely uprooted and are scattered in an impenetrable jumble everywhere. Sawyers have been in recently, their skillful work clearing the trail is truly a blessing. Had I gotten here before this gauntlet was cleared, little doubt I’d have been injured trying to get through. But the trail is clear; what amazing good fortune for this old man. To the skillful crew, whoever you may be, you have my utmost appreciation and gratitude!
Mid morning the trail drops to Turkey Gap–and Cranford Rock. Well, I know a Cranford! This must be Rick’s Rock. Hey, you rock Rick! Along the ridge and down from Red Mountain the sideslab continues, with views down and across to Piedmont offered all along.
Just before summiting Dugger I meet the only other hiker along the trail today, Matt from Piedmont. He’s out getting in shape for his planned upcoming Appalachian Trail trek. Hiked with him awhile. Looks like you’re ready Matt–all the best to you!
The Guthook Guide shows a loop trail that passes over the summit of Dugger, but it is neither marked nor maintained. I take the bushwhack anyway to find the only thing remaining on top is the tank and seat from the old outhouse that was used by the firetower ranger. The tower is long gone, the entire place totally overgrown.
Off Dugger, it’s a three-mile cruise down to CR-500, and the shuttle by Rick back to his home for the night.
A grand and glorious day in the wilderness…
One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.
I am so happy for you to be on this adventure. You certainly sound happy.
I am taking your advice on what I am getting for new gear. New gear is always fun.
Take care, keep enjoying your hike and your friends.
You are doing great,saw you on the Mountain right b4 you started in the hike sending you well wishes and Gods speed and protection
A trail prayer for you Sunny –
May God provide direction for your journey. May he light your path. May he give you pause as you gaze upon the beauty and wonder of his creations. And may he deliver you safely to your destination.
Enjoy you journey friend,
Had a great time hiking with you. Hope to catch up and see you again up north. Safe trails.
Sunny! It has been such a pleasure to follow your hike and adventure here! I am so proud to have met you and received your kindness and hospitality on the AT and at Flagg. Thank you for your wonderful journal entries and uplifting quotes. May good fortune and kindness come back to you 1000-fold on this journey up my favorite trails. Take all the time you need to enjoy, explore and discover, for we are nothing but zombies if we lose our sense of wonder. Wonder is a muscle that requires flexing as much as any leg or arm. While it is very important to be around people, don’t hesitate to take a few days along to camp in some secluded spot where you don’t hear the 18-wheelers in a shelter too close to a road crossing, or hear music escaping constantly out of multiple sets of earphones. You are thought of, followed, and your words are sought after by so many- you are never REALLY alone so don’t be afraid of seeking the occasional stillness the trails were initally made for.
Redness Rushing GA-ME AT 98
You inspire me:)! Go Will Go!
Loved the picture of the mountain laurel slick