Monday–March 29, 2021
We actually stayed at the Campground, Skeena Creek Mill, five different nights. In relation to the trail, the place could not have been more strategically located. From the campground to the Toccoa River suspension bridge is little more than four miles.
So, Barry is able to get me back on trail early, shortly after seven. This will make for a short hiking day. Even though I’ve a fair amount of climbing to do, I should make it to Three Forks early afternoon.
The Toccoa River suspension bridge is all I remember it to be, an amazing architectural work. It’s aged a bit, 20 years since I crossed it last, so it’s older too. With the roaring Toccoa this morning, it’s really impressive. Barry hikes to the bridge with me, to get the obligatory photo ops.
From the river, the old gitney quickly gets up to normal operating temperature, what with the climb back to the ridge, strenuous but pleasant. After 400 miles now, my legs have pretty much come back under me, probably about as good as they’re going to get at age 82. Anyway, I’m certainly pleased (say blessed).
The hike today is typical southern Appalachians, ridge to gap to ridge, then to be repeated over and over again. This morning it’s up from the river to Tom Dicks Mountain. Then to Bryson Gap, then from No Name Mountain to No Name Gap, with the final climb and descent to Three Forks.
The morning starts out cold, mid thirties. So, hands in my pockets to begin with–through numerous green tunnels (rhododendron and laurel hells).
The morning passes quickly and I soon hear the roar of Long Creek Falls. Recent record rains have saturated the mountainsides and every little rivulet is running hard and fast, especially the larger streams–Long Creek is really running. Quite impressive!
Today I complete another segment of this odyssey, my trek o’er the eastern extent of the Benton MacKaye Trail. For, here at Long Creek Falls I reach the Appalachian Trail (AT). And arriving the AT, here comes the beginning of this years army of northbound thru-hikers, loaded down with their enormously heavy backpacks.
I reach Three Forks a little before two where Barry is patiently waiting. Short time, he has camp set–a lovely campsite right next the road, complete with fire ring. I get a warning fire going and we settle in for the evening.
George Owen, my friend from Rocky Top, now Blairsville, stops by and we get caught up on goings on since last we met–over 20 years ago.
A very pleasant and rewarding day…
Carry as little as possible,
but choose that little with care.