Trail Update, Days 8-15

It has been a while since my last blog post! Sorry fine people, but I am just trying to figure out how this works best for me still. I have not forgotten and a lot of miles have passed since my last post. So without further delay, here is how my hike has gone so far.

Day 8-9, Hiawassee, Georgia

Good sleep is still evading me and after getting only two hours of sleep, I decided to take a zero day to try and get some sleep. So stayed in Hiawassee another day and slack pack some miles from Blue Ridge back down to Dick’s Creek Gap. Good day to hike, it was 69 degrees and sunny. I wish I was on the trail putting in some more significant miles, but that is okay.

Heard the mayor was in the middle of the town square cooking up some free burgers and hot dogs for thru-hikers. So I took the free town shuttle into to town to get some and hitchhiked (for the first time ever) back to the hostel I was staying at.

Day 9 was back on the trail and into North Carolina with the goal being Standing Indian Shelter. This was a wet and rainy day, with most of the day spent in the clouds. Interesting thought for this day, what do you do when you are caught in a thunderstorm, but the mountain top you are on is in the cloud of that thunderstorm?

I was approaching the top of Standing Indian when I heard the loud crash of thunder right above me. It was so loud that it had me duck for cover. Five minutes later, again walking up the trail and getting higher on this mountain, the sky above me flashed. It was blinding! Simultaneously there was a loud crack of thunder that shook the ground I was standing on. This was the most scared I have been, seriously thought I was going to get struck by lightning.

Day 10-11, Standing Indian to Rock Gap

After leaving the cold and clouds of Standing Indian, I headed north to Carter Gap Shelter. Even though this was a low mile day, the weather was supposed to turn real bad. There was a thunderstorm warning and high wind advisory for the evening, so I figured it would be good to get shelter before the bad weather came. Not even one hour after hitting the shelter, the rain started pouring down in buckets. The wind started to whip up and swirl. The winds had to reach 30-40 miles per hour. It got cold too.

We got six of us in that shelter that night, it was tight! But it worked and with temperatures dipping to 21 degrees we needed all the warm bodies we could get.

When we woke, there were trees and branches galore crossing over the trail as we descended to Rock Gap shelter to set up a zero day for us in Franklin, NC. This was a cold hike, but the sun was out and things started to warm up as we went. Going up Albert Mountain was a tough climb, but the reward of clear skies and beautiful views was worth it.

Day 12- Zero Day in Franklin, NC.

Zero day! First real zero day of the adventure. Good day not to hike, rain and cold all day. Also not a good day to walk around Franklin, but we did not let that stop us. I stayed at The Grove hostel, which is under new ownership. It is owned by Newfound and Unfiltered, two past AT thru-hikers. I highly recommend staying with them.

Had some real food at Motor Grill Co. and beer from The Lazy Hiker brewery. Both really good. Franklin is a sweet little town. I would love to come back and have a longer visit. Great vibe and I am sure when the weather is nice during the summer the shops along the Main Street are bustling!

Day 13-14; 30 miles from Rock Gap to Rofus Morgan Shelter

This was two long haul days of 15 miles each, with a scary descent from Wasser Bald along a cliff side and narrow path. The goal was to get to the NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center) in two days for my resupply box and a Nero Day at the NOC. This was also two beautiful days of sun and warm weather.

Wesser Bald gave some beautiful views of the mountains around. These views could never get old for me. At this point of the year and hike I am starting to see more and more small trees and bushes with buds on them. It is looking like spring is coming soon! I hope it is.

The goal of these two days was to get to Rofus Morgan Shelter so it will be a short one-mile hike into the NOC for a Nero day. There awaits a resupply box for me.

Day 15- Nero day at the NOC

Made it to the NOC! This place is pretty cool. I bet it is hopping during rafting season. Got my box and got a bunk for the night. Got a small little Tramily going with some good people. We have been hiking together for a few days now and have plans on how to navigate the Smokies together.

Next stop, approach and through the Smokies! Hoping for good weather throughout if we are lucky! See you in a week and a few days! Happy hiking y’all!

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Comments 3

  • Chris : Mar 7th

    “It has been a while since my last blog post!” Don’t worry, I completely missed it. All caught up now. 🙂

  • Jim Harner : Mar 7th

    You are doing great Michael. Enjoying God’s great outdoors. Hike on!!

  • Cathy M : Mar 7th

    So happy you have connected with other thru hikers, the social connection, I am sure, is so helpful and important. I am excited for you and love reading your posts. “In every walk with nature, on receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir

    See you in PA my friend!


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