I have a friend hiking the Appalachian Trail this year and his schedule (and some inclement weather) had him take a zero day in Gatlinburg, TN which gave us an opportunity to catch up with him last weekend. Here is the World Wide Wanderer (aka 3W) relaxing on the balcony of the LeConte View Motel.
He shared some photos and video from the Trail and detailed his first three weeks on the A.T. We absorbed it like a sponge, then offered to buy him dinner – a gesture that no thru-hiker would refuse (and he didn't).
Then we headed out to walk the streets of Gatlingburg. Any thru-hiker will tell you that the town is culture shock after hiking in the backcountry. Plus … there was a conference in town this weekend – which meant the streets were packed with people.
But the road was not. There was a 10K scheduled to start at 10pm, and the roads were nearly empty. So we headed to the balcony of a Mexican restaurant to watch the run. But then … the rains came
The storm did not bode well for the runners, and the race was eventually cancelled. And it did not bode well for the thru-hikers either. Many planned to take another zero day in town and wait out the storms. So our plan to hike with 3W on the A.T. was a bust. We called an audible, took a group pic, and resolved to drive Southeast in the morning (minus 3W).
Oddly, the Chattooga River near Mountain Rest, S.C. had avoided most of the storms and it was sunny when we arrived – just as the weatherman predicted.
So we shouldered our packs and hit the Chattooga River Trail – hiking upstream and northbound to a campsite that the Camel and I last visited in 2001.
After backpacking two hours, we found a nice site on the river. It wasn't the one we were shooting for, but was worthy enough. Unfortunately, I didn't have my fishing pole because there is some great water here for trout.
But the rains that plagued the thru-hikers in the Smokies did eventually find us. The storm started at 9pm and continued through the afternoon on Sunday. Good thing we had the Kelty tarp pitched tonight to give us a place to hang out.
Yet we salvaged the trip and had a chance to serve some Trail Magic to a buddy in the process. So a successful venture in my book. Go 3W Go! Here he is at Amicalola Falls State Park to start his thru-hike on March 26th.
Say it ain't so! Things heating up around the NOC (Wesser, NC). The #AppalachianTrail closed from here south to Rock Gap.
Here's what 14 years can do to an overlook on the Appalachian Trail. Ramrock Mountain and the view in 2002…
And the same view looking toward the southeast in 2016. Note the rock in the center of the photo and tree cover in the background. The tree to the left in the photo above is no longer there.
Granted – the 2002 photo was taken in March with no leave cover and the above photo was taken in May, but it's amazing how fast the Southern forest grows. We enjoyed what remained of the view nonetheless.
In Episode 32, the conversation on Rookie Mistakes continues as we sit fireside on Justus Creek along the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia. In this discussion, Beer Run, PokeyBo, and Therm Rider talk about some classic rookie moves: taking the wrong gear, hiking above your skill level, and taking too much.
“Backcountry 201” is the second installment in this mini-series where we sit around the campfire and discuss the fundamentals of backpacking. In this episode, we go “off trail” a bit – so don't take the show too seriously. We'll get back on track in future episodes and hopefully this is worth a few good laughs as you commute to work, crank out some Trail miles, or do what you do when you are not on the Trail.
Subject: Advanced Rookie Mistakes 201
Interviewees: Beer Run, Pokey Bo, Therm Rider
Interview Date: October 3, 2014
Download Now: Advanced Rookie Mistakes 201 (WMA format 25.5 Meg);
Advanced Rookie Mistakes 201 (MP3 format 25.2 Meg)
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Here's what ~22 hours as a #walkinthewoods extra will get you. Don't quit your day job 🙂
Fall always makes me think of Katahdin – October 6th, 1994. A few pics from 21 years ago today…
In the mid-90′, Dana Design was the backpack for thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. I liked mine so much that I bought a second one two years after my thru-hike despite the steep price of $400+
And Dana Gleason, founder of his namesake Dana Designs, has returned to the market! After selling his company and watching a series of outdoor companies fumble with a once dominant brand – Dana is back (and so is the Terraplane).
The U.S. Military and U.S. Forest Service “hot shot” fire-fighting crews have been the beneficiary of Dana’s skills over the last few years – but the packs are once again available to the public. There is a great article about this at GearJunkie.com, and hopefully I can land a N2Backpacking podcast with Dana in the future. That’s how passionate I am about both my Dana backpacks – which after 20+ years I still use to this day!