100 Miles!!!

AT day 19 Carter Creek Gap to Franklin, NC

Woke up at 5 am in my tent at Carter Creek Gap. It was cold, 30s, but I had to pee. Could not get back to sleep after, so had coffee and breakfast, which was desperately needed calories after skipping dinner the night before. Slowly started packing up while bitching about the cold and wind. The plan for the day was to do about 8 miles to the next shelter. We set off around 930 am, moving slowly at first to walk off the soreness from the 13 miles the prior day.

The recent rainstorm meant a lot of the trail was wet, muddy, and slippery, and the water crossings were more treacherous. It got especially difficult when we started ascending Albert Mountain, but the water dropping from the mossy rocks was amazing.
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And then there was the last 0.2 miles to the top of Albert Mountain. Caroline and I have started yelling variations of “Fuck this, I’m going back to Springer Mountain!” whenever there’s some ascent but….there’s no way I would descend back down that mountain the same way we went up. Stairs went on forever, and then there were wet slippery rock scrambles where one misstep meant we’d be falling down the mountain, and landing broken or dead. I had no choice but to keep going up.

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And we made it, 100 miles! Spotted a bald eagle at the fire tower. Hung out for an hour for lunch and to enjoy the sun. And then Caroline started talking about pizza and showers, and our planned 8 mile day became a 12 mile day so we could get to town.
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We exited the woods without a plan but had come out at a rarely used gap with no cell service and not much traffic. We got really lucky that an older couple stopped and offered to take us to a gap on the main road where we’d have better luck hitching a ride. We got there and were grabbing our stuff out of the back of the truck, and the woman told us they’d decided to take us into town, ten miles out of their way. We still didn’t have a hotel room lined up, so got dropped off in the outskirts of town at Burger King. Lined up a hotel while eating all the food and then found out that there isn’t Uber or Lyft in Franklin NC. Called a shuttle driver who gave us another number, and Solace showed up five minutes later. He pointed out a bunch of things as he drove us to our hotel, and picked up another hiker to help them find a place for the night. And he refused any compensation, told us he hangs out for two months a year to help hikers.
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We got checked in and found out about free pancake breakfast the next morning, shuttle would pick us up at 715. And then we ran to the room to shower and order Dominos.

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Comments 1

  • Julie Jones : Apr 25th

    Hi Tara,
    Thank you for your writing. I don’t think I’ll get to do the AT, so it’s great reading about your trek. Thank you again.

    BTW, what’s a rock scramble?


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