Found My Trail Name

I was typing the last blog while staying at a cheap motel in the town of Hiawassee. I had just got done washing up my clothes in the sink and hanging them to dry.  That was of course, after I had spent much time trying to get myself semi clean. Overall it was a very successful resupply but I bought entirely too much food. The good news was I could donate it to the angels that had treated me so well the day before.

Day 7:  AT Miles 11/8 — Dicks Gap to Muskrat Creek Shelter

I was awake and repacking by 6 am and waiting for the shuttle back to Dick’s Gap 8 AM with a Starbucks in hand. By the time I got there it was almost 9:30 AM so my goal was to get to Muskrat Shelter about 12 miles away. The forecast for the next six days had very little rain
although two nights had overnight lows around 20. I was encouraged.

Almost immediately upon climbing out of the gap I was greeted with this incredible view

Great View

Incredible View

My next highlight was getting to cross my first state line going from, Georgia into North Carolina.

North Carolina!

The next couple weeks would involve crisscrossing the state borders so it would be sometime before I was done with both North Carolina and Tennessee.

I met some really incredible people on the trail so far. Today I hiked most of the day with a young man named Tobin. Tobin was 28 years old and an ex green beret. He was great to talk to the entire day and slowed his pace so I could keep up. We got to the point where I was ready to quit and he was still going to do another 5 miles.  He was on a mission to finish in four months so he could begin medical school at Stanford. Good luck, Tobin!

Day 8:  AT Miles 16.2 — Muskrat Creek Shelter to Betty Creek Shelter

I think I was the first one out of the shelter in the morning for a change. On my first break, I was caught by a very nice lady with trail name Rebound.  Rebound was on her third attempt after making it to New Hampshire into Maine on her previous attempts only to have something
horrible happen to prevent her from completing her trek. I’m sure the third time will be the charm for Rebound.

Sundays when I’m hiking I don’t take a lot of photos and it’s funny that people I hike with say the same thing on those days. It’s not that it’s not beautiful but sometimes you don’t get the views as you do on other days. Today was one of the days where there were incredible views, and here are some of those photos.

Another Mountain Laurel Tunnel


Standing Indian Mountain

What a view!

The highlight of the day was probably standing on top of Standing Indian Mountain at over 5000 feet.  It was actually an easier climb than most of the other climbs I’ve done since the trail was not nearly as steep, and looked like parts of it had been a road.  Rebound decided to stop at a shelter but I had my eye on another few miles so I went onto Betty Creek gap. This is what on the AT is called a stealth site, which is not at one of the shelters. I was the only person in this camping area for the night, I must admit it was a little spooky doing that for the first time this trip especially with the bear warning signs everywhere. But I have to say it was the best night I got on the trail so far.

Day 9:  AT Miles 13/2 — Betty Creek Gap to Moore Creek Stealth Site

Today I got to hike with a very interesting man that was even older than me! He had held so many interesting jobs in his career and was looking for a trail name so we may have decided on Worker B for him. He wore bright yellow and black too. Look forward to seeing if it sticks or not, we hiked together until early afternoon but he was headed into town so off I went for another 4 miles.

The highlight of today was probably climbing Mount Albert, which was incredibly difficult. It was the exact opposite of Standing Indian Mountain. The trail up Mount Albert was extremely steep, like taking stairs up a 30 story building, but with a heavy backpack. At the top of Mount Albert is another highlight for through hikers which is completing the first 100 miles of the journey. Only 21 more hundred mile sections to go!

100 Miles

The views, and even a waterfall along the way, made the hard day a lot of fun. After about eight hours of hiking, I reached the Moore Creek camping area. This is another unofficial permitted camping area not at a shelter.  Tonight is supposed to be in the low 20s so I’m really bundled up.

Mount Albert View


Day 10:  AT Miles 13.6 — Moore Creek to Burningtown Gap Stealth Site

The night was the coldest yet at around 20 degrees and with strong winds. My water bottles were frozen for the first time. It was a restless sleep but my 10 degree quilt got me through. On such nights you need to keep electronics (batteries) and your water filter (can crack) warm so they were in the bottom of my quilt.

Today was one of those cruising days without a lot of views except for the one from the top of Wayah Bald. To add to the view, cool trail angel Eli was there from Asheville providing snacks and sodas.

Wayah Bald Tower

And here is one of the better stops for water and lunch.

Water Source

Green Tunnel

Tonight promises to be as cold as last night and the wind is stronger. I’m crawling into my tent by 6:30 pm to stay as warm as possible.
Along these first ten days of my backpacking I talked to a lot of different people about trail names. Different people I hike with had different ideas but the one name that they all seem to agree on is one that my wife has always called me. Relentless. I like the trail name because it
can be both good and bad to be relentless. It can be great to be relentless, but it can be not so great at other times. Especially to those near me. I think that kind of fits me though. I do tend to be relentless at achieving a goal even though sometimes it takes up too much of my focus. So a trail name that has good and bad connotations fits me Relentless I am.

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Comments 4

  • Justin McIver : Mar 25th

    That Tobin you spoke of sure has accomplished alot at age 28. The Army must be missing out with all the training they put him thru he still had time for pre-med! Wow! The AT sure seems like a great hike; bet alot of people reinvent who they are just by stepping foot near it. Careful whith what you buy when you dont realize someone is selling something that can cost the most. Happy Highking

  • Tiffany : Mar 26th

    You’re doing great Jeff!! I love seeing the many views through your pictures and hearing about how you are tackling each day. Keep it up!!

  • Michelle Davis : Mar 26th

    That is the perfect trail name for you in a good way. When you set your mind to something you do it. I love reading the post and seeing the beautiful pictures along the way. Keep going, you got this!

  • Vince : Mar 27th

    I’ve known you for 30 years and yes, Relentless fits well. I like it.


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