Friday–April 2, 2021
Location–Woody Gap, then to Above the Clouds Hostel, Lucky, Proprietor
A fine supper last, prepared by Nimrod. Coffee at six, then a tank-stoking breakfast this morning! A very cold night, well below freezing, but I slept well in a separate bunkhouse room.
We linger this morning waiting for the day to warm the least. Barry has me back to Cooper Gap, to finally get out and going a little before nine. He’s loaned me his gloves, a blessing for sure.
Much easier going today, not near as many rocks and roots. Hiking (hunching) along I get to see a neat natural phenomenon that graces the trail–hoar frost, a fascinating ice formation.
I was concerned about having to make two fairly wide water crossings today, Justus and Blackwell Creeks, but other than a brief toe dunking, I’m across them both with fairly dry feet.
More climbing today but not as severe or as long as yesterday’s ascents and descents. Barry is patiently waiting for me at Gooch Gap, a bit past half-way for me today. I get in the van and he cranks the heat. A cheese sandwich and an energy bar and I’m back out to finish the day, up and over Ramrod Mountain (great views from Preacher’s Rock), then around the flanks of Black Mountain where Barry comes to greet me. We then hike on to Woody Gap.
A treat awaits us at the gap. The Twelve Tribes are here in their Peacemaker Bus . They’ve a tent set up and are serving lentil soup and herbal tea. They refuse to accept donations. Just a gesture of kindness extended to hikers!
Pictured left to right: Yoseph, Odem, Ish, Nimblewill, Daniel, M’susah, and Gabrielle. In other photo: Nathan & Chavar.
It’s a short drive down the mountain to Above the Clouds Hostel, where we’ll spend our second night. Another fine supper prepared by Nimrod, for 25 hungry hikers. Late afternoon, dear friends Dan Sheltowee, Nina Waterfall, and Little Anne Rogers come to pay me a visit. What a fine time! Haven’t seen them in years.
Lucky puts me up in a private room–again!
Through this toilsome world, alas!
Once and only once I pass.
If a kindness I may show,
If a good deed I may do,
To my suffering fellow men
Let me do it while I can
Nor delay it, for t’is plain
I shall not pass this way again.
Thursday–April 1, 2021
Location–Cooper Gap, then to Above the Clouds Hostel, Lucky Proprietor
We’re up early this morning, much anticipation. It’s going to be a clear but cold hiking day–excited to be returning to the trail, my first day hiking the AT northbound.
First thing, coffee in the Len Foote dining hall. Then it’s down to the sunrise room to catch the sunrise before breakfast. And what another fine breakfast–sausage, grits, eggs, biscuits and gravy.
Eric, Len Foote General Manager come to join Barry and me. He has new hiking sticks for me, provided by LEKI, one of my steadfast sponsors.
Down from the Hike Inn, we stop at the Amicalola Falls State Park Ranger’s Station. Angel, staff ranger greets us. I’m #1446 to sign in at the AT information tent.
We got out late and lingered long today. By the time Barry has me back to Three Forks to begin my AT trek north it’s after 1:30.
Rough, slow going today, rocks, roots, plenty of climbing–but vast, beautiful mountains! Barry checks on me at Hightower Gap, then hikes in to greet me from Cooper Gap, my destination for today. It’s after six before we head for Above the Clouds Hostel.
Sure glad Barry knows his way around these mountain back roads. A huge blowdown blocks the road we’re taking, but Barry knows another way to the hostel. We’re there just in time for supper.
Very nice place, Above the Clouds Hostel. Thanks Lucky and Nimrod for your kind welcome!
It’s the great, big, broad land ’way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.
(Robert W. Service)
Wednesday–March 31, 2021
Location–Len Foote Hike Inn
The forecast for today is holding, rain, and more rain, thunderstorms to follow. I’m up at six. The rain’s coming down at six.
The trail leading north from Springer is treacherous. As mentioned–rocks, roots, and boulders. Negotiating this unending gauntlet is risky enough under dry conditions. When wet, the odds of slipping and busting it increase tenfold. Not good! I’ll wait this storm out, then to hike another day, hopefully, tomorrow.
And the forecast for tomorrow? Clear skies, warmer. The rest of the week? The same!
A fine breakfast, plus a delicious evening supper prepared and served by Larry and Linda. In between–feet up; a day of rest. Patience…
Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience,
for to wait is often harder…