Day 17 – Does Slackpacking Really Make Me a Slacker?

Day 17

Start: Albert Mountain Bypass

End: Winding Stair Gap

Miles Hiked: 9.5

Total Miles on AT: 109.6


We went into town last night and decided to spend the next 2 days slackpacking for several reasons, including spreading poison ivy (the fiance) and a knee that needed some rest (me.) Luckily, we chose the right day to slackpack because it was a cold, rainy day.

After we got to our Airbnb in the afternoon yesterday, I called my mom and she surprised me by being in the same town we were. She had seen that we were approaching Franklin, NC, and presumed that we would be stopping shortly, so she and my stepdad made the trip over to surprise us. This morning we had breakfast at Gracious Plates on Main in Franklin (really good food!) and she gifted us some Trader Joe’s goodies that we were running out of. 

Seeing them and catching up was a nice change in pace. Afterwards, we headed back on trail and started hiking around 12:30 pm. Boy, was the trail quiet. I think many people went into town to avoid the bad weather. We only saw one other hiker all day, which was definitely not the norm.

We picked up right where we left off, just below Albert Mountain. The cold and rain spurred us forward and kept us moving for most of the 9.5 miles. We only took one short break for a snack/lunch. If we didn’t keep moving, we would get cold, so motion was the name of the game for today.

The terrain was smooth and gradual, mostly downhill, with only one climb before our descent into Winding Stair gap. Despite the gloomy weather, I enjoyed my slackpacking adventure. It was nice not to get hot and sweaty; I needed less water today and didn’t feel as fatigued. We stopped by a shelter so I could give the fiance my spare gloves and rain mitts, then kept it moving.

About half way through our day, we ran into a gentleman who had camped at Standing Indian Shelter a couple of nights prior. Apparently they had a very eventful night. A bear came into camp and stole several people’s bear bags. They weren’t hung high in a tree, nor were they secured very well. The man’s bag was also almost stolen; the rope hanging down on his PCT-style hang was shredded, but his bag stayed intact because it was high off the ground and he used a thick stick to secure it. 

During this last stretch, the fiance and I carried bear canisters since we had seen the warnings and recommendations encouraging them. Now we were convinced that we needed to carry them until the foreseeable future.

Moving along, we reached Rock Gap and then started our last climb of the day. As we reached the top, the mist came out to play, hiding on one side of the mountain, while leaving the other side clear for us to pass through.

Overall, I was happy to slackpack today. This section wasn’t strenuous at all, plus most people seemed to take the day off altogether. I don’t want to make slackpacking a habit, but given our injuries, I feel content with our decision. Tomorrow will be another slackpacking day, this time with a few more miles added on.

Now, we’re back in town, trying to rest while preparing for our upcoming work zero days. It feels good to have miles in the books for today while still taking it easy.

And that’s day 17.


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Comments 2

  • Beth Malchus Stafa : May 2nd

    Dear Jen:

    Mr. Rook and I love watching and reading your posts. Your posts with “The fiance” remind me of a NY Times Cooking editor’s articles I read early in my marriage to Mr. Rook by Amanda Hesser. She later created a book entitled Cooking for Mr. Latte: A food lover’s courtship with recipes. We are MYTH AT Hikers (Multi year thru hikers). We left our hike last year due to the rain and safety. We are slow and steady hikers 10-12 milers. We have been called Team Ohio the Hiking Tourists on the AT. (This year we are embracing the title). Maybe we will see you on the trail this summer when we finish off the north by returning NOBO starting in VT. Keep Hiking and writing. Team Ohio – Dessert Queen and Mr. Rook

    • Jen Brown : May 16th

      I love this comment! Yes, maybe we’ll cross paths in VT. Happy trails!


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