Day 9 – The Sun is the Silver Lining

Day 9

Start: Baggs Creek Gap

End: Poplar Stamp Gap

Miles Hiked: 8.7

Total Miles on AT: 44.2


This morning, wind blew through camp well before sunrise and continued well after we left. Despite it making for a cold and blustery night, I slept warmly and soundly on my new air pad. It was heavenly.

However, waiting to leave camp while enduring the cold, gusty air wasn’t heavenly. But, I’m turning over a new leaf and embracing patience, trying to find the silver lining while waiting. I was able to find some warmth by pacing in the sunshine while noting how the clouds changed as the morning progressed.

We eventually got our feet on trail a little before 10 am. A glance at the map showed that today was to be a relatively easy day anyway, so time wasn’t going to be an issue. Within 30 minutes of leaving camp, we reached our first view of the morning. Luckily for us, our late start meant that the sun warmed our faces and our bodies as we stared out over the landscape. We had left the wind behind and were now embracing the sun.

Misty blue haze caressed the horizon, the clear blue sky stretching out and upward. To the right, we could see the mountains shrinking and melting into the forested landscape. However, we weren’t going in that direction. Nope, we were going where the mountains continued to grow and undulate.

The trail continued to the left, descending to Testnatee Gap only to climb up again. But, before we did, we met trail magic! Our second instance of trail magic so far. Former hikers – The Double D’s – from 2022 were setting up shop for lunch. We were a little too early for the chips and quesadillas, but I gladly accepted a Dr. Pepper and stored it in my pack for lunch on the trail.

Here’s a snippet of their story. They took 8 months to complete their hike: they started from Springer in April, summited Katahdin in October, and then flipped back down to complete the sections they missed. They started the trail engaged and are still together, so there’s a good example for the fiance and I!

The climb out of Testnatee Gap was steep, but short. At our next gap, Hogpen Gap, the hogs were out enjoying their weekend. Motorcycles zipped up and down the road, taking advantage of the good weather and free time.

While the sun was shining, the wind continued to blow through gaps depending on which side of the mountain we were on. We found a spot on a log on the side of the trail that, while not windy, wasn’t my ideal location for lunch, but would have to do. I enjoyed my Dr. Pepper and even got a show with lunch. A hawk floated around on the wind above us, circling and drifting, probably searching for prey but appearing as though he was having a good time.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully. We eventually made it to Low Gap and then our campsite. 4 people had already set up their tents and more people continued to arrive. We found a spot a bit removed from the main site and took a leisurely 45-minute nap as the late-afternoon sun warmed our tent.

Afterwards, we reconvened in the main area for dinner. Unfortunately, it seemed like this group was an early-to-tent crowd. Everyone had finished dinner by the time we were starting ours and were well-ensconced once we were done. Perhaps it was the presence of cell signal that pulled everyone to their tents, who knows. Tomorrow is town day! This was a short time out on the trail, but we have a few things scheduled for this week that need to be attended to. I’m looking forward to another comfy night on my air pad.


And that’s day 9.


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