Saturday, May 27, 2017

AT: Dick's Creek Gap to Deep Gap

16 mile stretch.  Loads of laurel and rhododendron and open woods.  Ridge line, big trees, rocks, streams.  2 shelters and multiple campsites.  One view.  Lots of peeps through the trees at neighboring mountains, but just one wide open spot.

We set out from Dicks Creek Gap to get to Bly Gap at mile 8.7.  Matt was meeting us the next night at Deep Gap and we were going on to Standing Indian and headed for mile 100.

We made great time, I took my time on the climbs and downhills, using my poles, stopping as much as every 50 steps for a couple seconds to keep from wearing myself out.  It was chilly, breezy and fog and rain rolled past in bursts.  The sun would come out and be swallowed in moments and it would get so dark, like dusk.  Then the sun would come back out.

The day progressed and we stopped for lunch at Plumorchard Gap.  I saw the first and last piece of trash by the trail, a yogurt cup of all things.  I packed it out.

We got to Bly Gap about 3, refilled on water and headed up to the famous tree to get pics.  The campsites were up on the little ridge, and so was the wind!  It was cold and getting colder.  We decided to keep going since there was so much light left and get down a bit to set up camp.

The trail just after Bly goes STRAIGHT UPHILL was probably a mile, but it was brutal.  After the whole day of the trail being pretty gentle and also planning to be done at that point, it was mentally hard to keep going and add in that climb and it was about enough to do me in!  I was down to stopping every 25 steps in some stretches.  It levels off and the goes up even more.  It seems like there can not be any more mountain as, through the trees you see well below, the tops of other mountains.  There were steps that were level with my knees, so hauling me and my pack up and sometimes down that distance wore me out quickly.  I had my pack at 25 pounds with 2 liters of water, which is what I was carrying thinking we would find a campsite on the lee side of the mountain.

We walked another 3 miles to Muskrat Creek shelter before we got a break from the wind.  The temps were dropping and though the wind was not straight at us, it was still breezy.  I cinched down my Six Moons tent (still not the tent I want, I am still looking) and we hit the sack by dark.  I set my TWO liters of water I had hauled that whole way outside the tent.  I could hear Muskrat Creek all night.  There are times when I wonder why I enjoy this so much.

We got going around 10 the next morning, taking our time packing up.  We only had 4 miles to Deep Gap and could not go further because we were meeting Matt.

Somewhere along the hike, Melissa stepped and her knee bent backward.  Then she stepped and slid and her knee buckled.  She twisted it then and it just got worse.  By the time we got to the gap parking area, she was feeling it grind on each step.  It was just after 2 and Matt was not due in for 8 more hours.  

So, we hitched back to my van, a surprisingly easy process!  We just happened to arrive when 2 cars of guys were setting up to hike and they were going back to Hiawassee for groceries before going on to Unicoi Gap to backpack back to the car they parked at Deep Gap.  The van was 7 miles from Hiawassee and they dropped us off just over an hour later and if we had been 10 minutes later, we never would have seen them!

I called Matt when we had service and told him not to come.  I drove us back home, the drive of 4.5 hours seeming to take 9.  That is a winding start and stop trip, you rarely get to go more than 15 minutes without having to stop at a light, sign or make another turn.  It feels like forEVER.

Melissa headed home and I had a hot bath, muscles twitching.  I feel fine and am ready to get in more miles this weekend, I about have Matt talked in to doing the canyon at South Cumberland, there's a 2 or 3 mile stretch between Horsepound Falls and Ranger Falls I need to hike and I will have hiked the entire trail system there!  It's just getting to that spot is a 3-4 mile hike one way, so it will be a long day with a big climb at the end no matter which way we tackle it.

Of note, I hiked the whole time in my Chaco sandals and not one single foot issue at all, not even a rub or anything.  That solid rock hard Vibram sole and the straps that keep my foot secured are amazing.  I am selling my unused Merrel boots along with my 1 person Six Moons Scout tent, if anyone is in the market.  Hahaha!  

Melissa's rain cover made her pack look HUGE

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.