Friday–April 16, 2021
Location–Camped by trail just past Black Gum Gap, AT Mile 160.7
A fine (fairly level) campsite last evening. Space enough for two tents right beside the trail. Nathan fixed a hot meal for both of us. Sunset, I’m in, prepared for a cold night (34 degrees). But there was no wind, so the cold was tolerable–all rolled up in my Zpacks 30 degree quilt. I slept soundly.
I’m up in time for a photo shot of the sunrise this morning. Nathan is up too, preparing a hot oatmeal breakfast for us. We’re out and hiking right at eight. A nice trail magic surprise at Stecoah Gap. Trail angel, Steven Cloudwatcher FitzGerald, is here and is set up to serve (another) breakfast–Bojangles steak biscuits, donuts, sweet rolls, and all sorts of drinks. Cloudwatcher takes obvious pleasure in supporting thru-hikers coming down to Stecoah Gap. Thanks, Cloudwatcher, for you generosity and hospitality!
Lots more climbing today, but the Stecoah’s have been tamed considerably since my northbound thru in 1998. Back then the trail went up and over every one of the Stecoah pinnacles. Since, most of the straight up and down trail has been eliminated, replaced by sideslabbing around. Kind of sad, because the reroute ended a long-ago time. The straight up and down trail was the work of Myron Avery. Up and over, that was Avery’s way–always.
Toward the end of our day we pass the old logCable Gap Shelter. Piped spring right there. Nathan and I water up then climb back up the ridge–to find the perfect campsite for the night, fire ring included! We settle in, get a nice warning fire going, then Nathan again prepares a delicious hot meal for both of us.
Another fine hiking day–spent with a kind, dear loving friend…
We have to allow ourselves to be loved
by the people who really love us…
(C. JoyBell C.)