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Appalachian Trail 2003 - Chelsea's Journals

Entry #19 - April 10, 2003

9:45 PM - Forgot to mention that it hailed last night while we were having our dinner @ the picnic table @ the shelter. The shelter was packed & everyone was watching us cook while they were snuggled in their sleeping bags. Especially in bad weather, we end up cooking @ the shelter because most of them have a covered table. Anyway, the shelter people always watch us like we're the entertainment. Went to sleep with the sound of rain pattering nonstop on the tent. Didn't hear any mice in our packs, so that was good. Woke up in a pretty good mood in the morning - the pitter-patter of rain was gone. We lay awake for quite a while, not wanting to go out into the wet morning. As we lay there I noticed the tent looked weird & blotchy. We thought maybe it had been completely saturated. I sat up to look out the window and couldn't see anything - it looked like a dense fog. Well, eventually, Andy figured it out & tapped the tent wall - thhh-unk. Snow slid down the tent and landed in a pile. Well, at least it wasn't raining anymore. Eventually we got all our stuff up to the shelter (everyone had headed out already except for us tenters) and had some breakfast & got packed up. Hepcat, Jersey & Shankadelic were also still there. There were a couple of mice prancing around the shelter & we found out that a girl staying there that night found a litter of mouse babies in her pack in the morning. It's not the first time Iâve heard of it happening. Also, you're supposed to keep the zippers on your pack open a bit at night so the mice donât chew through the zippers trying to get in. I must be getting used to them, because I braved the privy in the morning after all.

Before we left, I took a hat that someone had left there - it looked like new, says Winchester, and should make a good replacement for the one that I lost. Jersey ended up leaving his whole tent - I guess he was PO'd at it after the rain, etc. He's going to get a new one here in Franklin. Andy & I set out before everyone else & made excellent time. It took us a while to warm up, though, and it was hard going as all the trees were weighted down with snow & blocking the trail. I kept getting stuck going under them & Andy was laughing. Made it to Rick Gap in about 2 hours. Decided to take a side trail down to see the Wasilik Poplar - 2nd largest poplar in the US. It was pretty big - 8'4"in diameter. Unfortunately, it took us a half mile (one total) out of our way, in which time Jersey, Hepcat & Shankadelic passed us up & caught a ride into town at Wallace Gap. (We heard this from Pushin Up Daisies who we ran into after coming back from the Wasilik,) Andy & I decided to continue on to Winding Stair Gap where there was a more well-traveled highway. The walk up from Wallace Gap was tough, but it was only 3 miles to the next road. Unfortunately, we were soaked from head to toe, the wind picked up, and it started snowing again - pretty miserable. Luckily when we got to Winding Stair, we got a ride in only 10-15 minutes from a nice old guy from the area. He even let us sit up front in his little truck, as wet & muddy as we were. He brought us 10 miles into Franklin and now were @ the Microtel. There are tons of people from the trail here - Hepcat, Jersey, Shankadelic, Radar and a bunch of people we had thought were days ahead by now. We even ran into an old friend from our first day out! Semi, who we hadn't heard from/about or even seen for about a week. He's been here since Monday (today is Thursday!) & going home, but since he's seen us, he might have changed his mind.

Well, we decided to stay tomorrow night, too, so we'll catch up on laundry, email & shopping tomorrow and the weather is supposed to be clearing. Yippeeee!!!

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Preparing to Hike the Appalachian Trail?

Commonly used guides by A.T. thru-hikers include the Appalachian Trail Guides (published by the Appalachian Trail Conference), the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion, and the Appalachian Trail Data Book. The guide series includes a guide for each section, along with a series of trail maps. The Thru-Hiker's Companion has helpful info on towns, shelters, and water. The Data Book has basic distance info for road crossings, shelters, and other features. All are excellent tools for use during a long distance hike.


Related Links:

Nantahala National Forest, The Wasilik Poplar
Franklin, North Carolina

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