Damn The Torpedoes! Who Said That?

It must have been some dumb#ss Navy recruiter,  that shortened what Farragut originally said, which must have been, “Watch out for the damn torpedoes!” The Goodship Billy Bob took a few the first couple of days.  The ship is still afloat, but was listing for a couple of days.

The Storm – Torpedo 1

We got in to camp at Hawk Mountain that first evening early,  around 4:00 and set up.  During setup, realized I had left my tree straps for my hammock on the trees I used on the Shakedown.  Luckily, I had some paracord and made a work around, although I found out the paracord stretches at night.  We cooked and ate, and had almost gotten cleaned up when the rain and wind started, about 7:00.  It rained and the wind blew hard all night and morning, blowing 25 mph at times.  The Billy Bob Abode held up well, I was pleased with that, but 15 hours in a hammock is a long time.

Billy Bob Mugshot after 15 hours in the hammock

We got a break in the rain about 10:30, so we jumped out, packed up, and headed out with rain gear and pack covers.  Trail conditions were very tough, a lot of walking in what seemed like a stream.  I don’t have a lot of pics, because I didn’t want to get my phone out in the rain.

This was not the worst

The rain and wind got worse in the early afternoon and we had a big climb and descent into Horse Gap.  The Army trains up in this part of mountains and you can hear gunfire all around to kind of add to the spookiness.  Heat Man fell and broke one of his trekking poles on the descent, but thankfully didn’t get hurt.  In a little while the rain let up, and he was able to get a signal and reach  Lori on phone.  She would meet us at Gooch Gap with some new poles, or old poles, and try to take us to a hostel.  Hostels were all full because of the weather, so we figured she could take us to a hotel some where.

The Phone – Torpedo 2

We were happy to see Lori at the gap at the end of the day.  We went down the road a bit and got signal and got a rooms at the Hampton Inn in Helen.  Thankful for  a dry hotel room and  to get a hot shower, it was glorious.  After the shower, I went to plug my phone up and realized in was fried.  I took the case off and sometime in the past I had dropped it and it had busted in the back and moisture had gotten in during the rain.  We ate pizza in the room and tried to dry all of our stuff out.  The phone is  a problem.  It’s my navigation device for water sources and camp sites,  crossings,  camera, and obviously my communication.

Tried to sleep, but this was kind of distressing.  Thankfully, Heat Man was with me.  Got up, had the Hampton breakfast and headed to Cleveland to IT Phone and Computer repair.  Dropped the phone off, but this was Friday.  He might could get it fixed, but it would Monday.  I got replacement straps ordered, via Lori, on the way back to the gap, Lori dropped us off and we took off again.  We hiked in the wind for most of the day and ended up Blood Mountain about a half mile or so from the peak.

Heat Man and Billy Bob after the storm, courtesy Heat Man’s phone

It got down in the mid 30’s and the wind gusted all night in the 30 mph range.  Another tough night.  Made it up to the peak the next morning where we came across another Ridge Runner, Chris who had stayed up on the peak where the famous stone shelter is.  He said there were snow flurries during the night.  A long, tough descent into Neels Gap by lunch where we met Sherri and Lori.  They took us down the mountain a ways and had a great cheeseburger.  Spirits were lifted and we headed back to Neels Gap.  There is a tree with lots of shoes from  hikers that have quit at Neels Gap.

Those are not Billy Bobs Shoes

The Ship Gets Righted

The ship was listing, but didn’t sink.  The next three nights were pleasant camping experiences as the weather got better and we made descent miles.  Met some nice folks along the way as well.  We made it to Dick’s Creek Gap about 4:00 on Tuesday.  Sherri and I headed to Hiawassee to the Holiday Inn and take my first Zero day.  Heat Man decided to go home and we will get back on trail Thursday morning.

A Better Day

Until tomorrow…

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Comments 1

  • The Law : Apr 18th

    So glad you guys have had some good weather to offset the bad. Love the photos!


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