Day 10: The Ups and Downs of Hiking the AT

Opposite Day

Today was as good as yesterday was bad. And by good, I mean fantastic.

I knocked out 20.8 miles and 4,500 feet of climbing from Rock Gap to Deep Gap. That included the tough, steep climb up Albert Mountain, as well as up and over Standing Indian Mountain, which tops out at 5,478 ft msl, the highest peak thus far on the AT.

I felt strong throughout the hike. I could have done another 10 miles.

Different is Good

What was different from yesterday? Mostly, the trail was better. Better maintained, more switchbacks, fewer steep, rocky sections, and fantastic viewpoints. Nearly everyone I met commented on it.

Yesterday’s poison ivy forest was replaced by today’s stunning display of wildflowers lining the trail. Flowering bluets, red and white trillium, mountain violets, Canadian lousewort, and alpine cancer root, just to name a few.

I also ate more frequently and stayed hydrated. Looking back at yesterday’s crisis, it was probably 90% blood sugar management. After my second lunch at the trail magic, we stopped by McDonalds to use the free WiFi and I had a third lunch. An hour later, I felt great. And then I had supper.

And finally, Roux and Gus stayed with Mrs. The Incident. Twenty-one miles is a lot to ask from some dogs, though Roux has done it before. I just didn’t want to risk another poison ivy fiasco. This evening, I bumped into a couple of trail ambassadors back at Rock Gap, and they claimed that I won’t see much poison ivy between here and the NOC. But we’re still considering dog management alternatives.

What a difference a day makes.


I saw the family with three preschoolers at Dick’s Creek yesterday. They’re still on the trail and doing great. Kate has been seeing them regularly and chats them up. The kids like the dogs and always come over to say hi.


We got back to Rock Gap just in time to see a drug bust go down. Apparently, there was a bit too much magic in the trail magic they were offering. Bad boys, bad boys…

Daily Stats

  • Start: Rock Gap (Mile 105.8)
  • End: Deep Gap (Mile 85.0)
  • Weather: Perfect
  • Earworm: Kiss on My List (Hall & Oates). Ugh.
  • Meditation: Rom 10:9-10
  • Plant of the Day: Who could decide between Canadian lousewort or alpine cancer root?
  • Best Thing: Flowers instead of poison ivy
  • Worst Thing: Every day can’t be like this one

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 2

  • White Whale : Apr 19th

    Incident, you continue to educate me and amuse me! I like the “Mrs. The Incident” moniker; if she doesn’t like it she can ask about how my wife feels about being called “Mrs. Whale”. She does not like it! (Understandably! she’s fit and healthy and hikes faster than me; she just picked a husband with a bad trail name). Glad you didn’t get busted in Franklin!

  • Sparks : Apr 23rd

    How do you tell the mile marker when you hike, is it evident or do you get it from other publications?


What Do You Think?