Saturday, April 30, 2011

Journal entry #34

Saturday, April 30 - Day 37 - Mile 339.9- Erwin, TN

Wow!  68.1 miles from Hot Springs in 4 days. We had planned 5 1/2 days originally but the hiking weather  was good and we did long miles each day.

Tonight we're in a hostel called Jonnie's just off the trail with lots of old and new friends. Once again we went Mexican for dinner.

Learned from Guardian that he's going to take a break from the trail when I checked my email. We'll all miss him .

We're getting a bit spoiled by this recent stretch of good weather. Hope it lasts a while.

Trolley Stop

Johnny's Hostel - Erwin

Journal entry #33

Friday, April 29 - Day 36 - Mile 323.0 - Bald Mountain Shelter

Started my 6th week today with an unanticipated 18.9 mile day.  The longest yet. We were hoping to camp at about mile 317 but no good sites were evident and before we knew it we were well into Big Bald Mountain. The views from the top were some of the best yet.

Guardian should have started back on the trail this morning after a few days off in Hot Springs. Hope he catches up with us one day.  Guardian, if you read this let us know where you are from time to time.

The AARP gang is breaking up as we each start hiking our own hike but these past weeks have been lots of fun together.

The woods have been beautiful with many waterfalls blooming flowers and lush green trees.  Today it truly felt like we were "walking with spring".

It was a beautiful day again today and tomorrow promises to be the same. We'll be in Erwin for sure on Sunday for another Nero.

Tonight I'm tenting as the shelter is full. It's actually more pleasant in the tent and quieter.

Today took about all the energy I have so I'll sign off as the sun sets.  Otherwise feeling great and looking forward to seeing Jane and others in a couple of weeks in Damascus at Trail Days.

Peace, love, joy and hope,

Trolley Stop

PS:  Didn't buy the kilt....yet!

Bald Mountain Shelter

Journal entry #32

Thursday, April 28 - Day 35 - Mile 304.1 - Flint Mountain Shelter

Wow!  What a storm over night. Lots of rain, wind, thunder and lightening. Great once again to be inside and dry.

Just heard at breakfast that a tornado took out a small community at the bottom of the hill we were on and 5 people died and 6 missing.  We understand this was the same storm that hit Alabama,  The trail maintainers we met today said it was the worst storm since 1974.  Everyone on the trail was OK.  Wild weather continues

Today's hike took us first up a 2 hour climb and then up Camp Creek Bald which was the hardest, longest rock climb since Albert mountain.

Again we hiked about 16 miles today. Despite all the bad weather overnight today was mostly great for hiking.  Broke the 300 Mile mark today!

We did catch Silver Hiker at the shelter and he weathered the big storm last night in his tent.

It's getting close to hiker midnight so I'll close down for the night

Trolley Stop

Trail Magic at Spivey Gap

Journal entry # 31

Wednesday, April 27 - Day 34 - Mile 288.2 - bunkhouse - Hemlock Hollow Inn

Left Elmer's this morning before breakfast after a most delightful visit.  Big vegetarian meal last night with homemade pound cake & ice cream for desert.  Didn't think I'd ever be hungry again...but guess what...we had a breakfast about 7:00AM and then started back on the trail.

Note:  Saw entry by Drew Murphy (Pre-life Crisis) from December 1, 2010 when he stopped here on his Maine to Georgia hike last year. Drew is the Son of John Murphy, Rector of the Cursillo weekend in early March. Drew gave me lots of input over lunch about his hike and gear. Fun to see his note. His positive impression of Elmer's was right on.

Unfortunately the bad weather did not come as promised yesterday so rain is still threatening today. Off for our big climb out of Hot Springs.

It's now 6:00PM. We (Buffalo Bobby, Silver Hiker and a young woman, Sara, day hiking from Colorado and her dog Dixon did about 16 miles. Silver Hiker continued on to the next shelter, but the rest of us stopped at a bunk house since the storms promised for two days were finally coming.

The bunkhouse exceeded our expectations. They served dinner which was excellent and we met Hot Drinks, and others,  who had decided to "0" here today because of the bad weather forecast that never materialized.  (Hiking  today was wonderful. Only one small shower despite the gloom & doom forecast).

Did see my first snake today, but he retreated before I got a good look at him

It's now bedtime and the storms have come. The first blast of wind shook the cabin and the rain is now pounding down. Another good decision to come here.

Tomorrow will get a ride back to the trail and try to catch Silver Hiker.

Trolley Stop

Hot Drinks at Hemlock Hollow Inn

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pack Breaks

We like to take our packs off every couple hours.  Getting my pack on from the ground is still a challenge so I look for large rocks or fallen trees to make it easier. Still carrying too much weight but don't know what I can give up.

taking a pack break

Pack at rest

Journal Entry #30

Tuesday, April 26 - Day 33 - Mile 271.4 (first "0") - Hot Springs, NC

Had a great dinner last evening with about 20 other hikers. Lots of stories, laughs and good food. Today we're just hanging out and enjoying our time in Hot Springs.

Again we seem to be under a lucky star since rough weather is  supposed to be rolling through and we'll be warm and secure at Elmer's.

This morning we had a delicious community breakfast here. Yes, more food.  Everyone introduced themselves and we found we had quite a cross section of professions from budding doctors to engineers.

Tomorrow we (Buffalo Bobby, Silver Hiker, Purple Haze and a host of others) leave after breakfast for our next destination - Erwin about 70 miles away - hopefully in about 5-6 days.  Looking good to be in Damascus for Trail Days.

Guardian is taking a few days off here in Hot Springs with his wife, which I know he's looking forward to.  I've really enjoyed his company and hope to reconnect up the trail somewhere.

See you back on the trail.
Trolley Stop

Should I get a Hiking Kilt?  Very Comfortable! (someone has a lot of time on his hands during these Zero Days!!)

Journal Entry #29

Monday, April 25 - Day 32 - Mile 271.4 - Hot Springs, NC

Short hike into Elmers, a hiker hostel. What a great place!  It's a 1840's huge Victorian with rooms and porches everywhere.

Picked up my supply box at the outfitter.  Everyone's enjoying the chocolate Easter eggs and jelly beans. Thanks Jane!  Now when I pick up a box everyone knows there's going to be something special  to share.

Sharing a great room with Buffalo Bobby with it's own access to a back porch.

For breakfast I had 4 cups of coffee, 2 tall OJs, a large water, sweet potato pancakes w/baked apples and link sausage.  It's now 1:20 and we're having lunch early so we don't spoil dinner. I think the trail hunger has started to kick in

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.

Trolley Stop

Lunch with SoulSlosher - This is a young fellow who hung out with us old hikers for the last couple of days. He'll be way ahead of us quickly.

Buffalo Bobby and Silver Hiker


Journal Entry #28

Easter Sunday, April 24 - Day 31 - Mile 268.6 - Deer Park Mountain Shelter

16.6 miles today.  Record mileage.  Beautiful sunny day.  Spectacular sunrise this morning on top of Max Patch.

This Is the end of the first month on the trail. A bit behind what's needed mileage wise on average to finish but still a great start.  As our strength continues to grow higher daily mileage will come. At the rate we're moving we should be very close to Damascus for Trail Days.

Tomorrow we have about 4 miles to get to Hot Springs where we will take a NERO at Elmers and I may actually take my first "0" day on Tuesday.  Likely will depend on the weather.

Pretty beat from today's hike so I'll keep this short.

Trolley Stop

Easter Sunday Sunrise

Journal Entry #27

Saturday, April 23 - Day 30 - Mile 252 - Max Patch Summit

Left Standing Bear Farm at 7:45AM and began a 2 hour uphill hike to Snowbird Mountain top where I had a phone signal and called home.  It's always great to be able to touch base.

This was the first day we didn't have  some portion of the day in bad weather. The sun was out all day and the hiking great. Lots of uphill as usual. We climbed well over 3000' to finish the day here at Max Patch Summit. This position on top of the mountain gives us a 360 degree view. We set our tents up in a strong wind, but were able to get all secure. Tonight is supposed to be beautiful with a nice sunrise for Easter Sunday.

The wild flowers are beautiful all along the trail. A virtual rainbow of colors. Many hikers have been photographing them, but I have no idea what most are called...but I'm learning.

Today was filled with trail magic. First a small group of day hikers met us at Groundhog Creek Shelter, where we were taking a break, and gave us all kinds of goodies they couldn't eat.  3 miles later we came upon a full blown set up with guys & gals cooking hamburgers to order, endless drinks, cornbread, beans and an unbelievable assortment of fresh fruit and desserts. 

This group has been providing trail magic for the last 19 years at this spot for a four day weekend each year. You can't imagine how good ice cold drinks and cooked to order hamburgers taste after 10 or 12 hours on the trail. It was a bit hard to finish our hike after this feast, but we did. They do not accept donations and spend about $1,500 on supplies each year.

We have found coolers chained to trees along the way, but most have been cleaned out. One morning someone put many plastic Easter eggs filled with candy along a couple if miles of the trail.  It's always fun to hear what trail magic hikers have come upon. People are great!

Finally, here at camp a hiking couple shared some trail magic they received from visitors to this site.
We were visited here by a huge mule and a cow from a nearby farm. They hung around for hours near our tents

Night has fallen and it's time once again to get some rest. Looking forward to sunrise. This has to be the nicest spot we've camped so far.

Happy Easter
Trolley Stop

Our visiting Horse

Lady Slippers

Trail Magic!

Journal Entry #26

Friday, April 22 - Day 29 - Mile 238.4 - Standing Bear Farm

Red letter day!!!  Beth and Rob are the parents of a little baby boy - Edward Theodore, born 6:16 AM today,  7lbs-11 oz and 21" long   He joins Harrison, Logan (of backpack fame) and MaryJane.

Started out early for our 10.4 mile hike in the rain, but the rain & fog lifted and the day turned out beautiful again.

We're now at Standing Bear Farm which reminds me of Little Abner. Very rustic place with a bunk house, one shower and all wash has to be done by hand.  They even have a ringer & washtubs.

They have plenty of hiker snacks for sale - cold drinks, ice cream, cookies, etc.  We were literally kids in a candy store.

Hiking is getting easier & easier, but steep uphills are still a challenge.

Tonight there's a van ride into town for dinner. I'll let you know how that works out a bit later.

Had cell service for a few minutes in town and was able to speak with Jane and congratulate her on Grandchild #13.

Fried chicken and stuff. Coors Light for desert.  Doesn't get much better on the trail.

We're just sitting around telling stories now.  Some of the younger crowd are going to a bluegrass gig tonight. Don't know where they get the energy. Many of these kids are hiking with knee and ankle problems.

Tomorrow we'll likely camp out at a location where we can see a sunrise on Easter Sunday morning. The weather is supposed to be nice the next couple of days.

Trolley Stop

Deluxe Accomidations

Check - in

Laundry Done By Hand

Bunk House - $15 a night

Re-Supply Store

Two Cod Beers straight from the stream!

Journal Entry #25

Thursday, April 21 - Day 28 - Mile 228 - Crosby Knob Shelter

Another good day.  We stayed above the clouds, ridge running all day.  More spectacular views of the mountains coming out of the clouds below.  Plenty of ups and downs to keep the heart pumping.

Tomorrow will be our last day in the Smokies.  Never saw a bear but plenty of bear scat and paw prints. (Maybe tomorrow?)

 We've experienced almost every imaginable type of weather in the Smokies including snow, hail, pounding rain, gale force winds, lightening and thunder storms, fog as well as bright sunshine and cool breezes perfect for hiking.

Cooking time again. Catalyst and Bandit show up the Ramon Noodle crowd with their cooking skills.  (Photo to follow)

Tomorrow night we plan to stay at a hiker hostel called Standing Bear. Then on to Hot Springs by mid week.

Trolley Stop

Catalyst and Bandit make dinner

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Photos, Photos, Photos!!!

The Lunning's host the AARP AT hikers!

Mt. Collins Shelter - Smokies

Unique Privy @ Mt. Collins Shelter

Clingman's Dome Observation Tower

Double Spring Gap Shelter - Gumby & Three Hats

Coyote - resident AT Comedian

Clingman's Dome from afar

Fontana Dam from the Trail

Guardian and 51/61 at the NOC

Rocky from Brattleboro VT, and Laugh Track from Ohio

Mollies Ridge Shelter

Me and Buffalo Bobby waiting on Guardian for a trip to The Hike Inn in Fontana

Mollies Ridge Shelter

Derrick Knob Shelter

Bobby, Me, and Diana

Journal Entry #24

Tuesday, April 19 - Day 26 - Mile 204.7 - Newfound Gap (Gatlinburg, TN)

Beautiful day!  Started out early with Guardian in the lead for the short 5 mile hike to the rendezvous point with Bobby Luning.  Like clockwork we met Bobby at 10:00 AM and had a great ride into town through the Smoky Mountain Park.

First item on the agenda was to get to McDonalds for a burger.  Bobby then drove us around to resupply for the balance of our hike thru the Smokies.  The rest of the afternoon was relaxing, taking showers, cleaning clothes, drinking ice cold sodas and beer and catching up on events here.  Then Diana cooked us a great meal which completed a perfect "Nero".

It was so much fun to visit with the whole family and meet Pam and young Bobby after so many years. It's quite ironic that, after their living here for 8 years, it would be walking 204 miles that finally gave me the chance to visit.
Thanks all for showing not only me but Guardian and Buffalo Bobby such a good time.

My sister Rita thought a taste of the good life would make me reconsider this crazy adventure and send me scurrying for the next flight home.  What she didn't know is that a shower, clean clothes, a good meal and a real bed for the night is just the ticket to encourage a hiker to get back on the trail with renewed vigor.

Bobby will drive us back to the trail (no small task) in the morning and the adventure continues.

As we come to a road crossing near you we are always willing to make guest appearances for the above mentioned accommodations.

Further updates at next connection point.
Trolley Stop

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Journal Entry #23

Monday, April 18 - Day 25 - Mile 200.2 - Mt. Collins Shelter

Short hike today over Clingman's Dome. Arrived at our destination very early at noon.  No phone service so decided to relax this afternoon and rendezvous with Bobby in the morning as planned.

Clingman's dome was quite impressive and the weather clear, which is very unusual.  It was freezing on the observation tower but great views. The hike today went very well. We must be beginning to get in good shape.

Looks like we'll finish the Smokies by the weekend. Next big destination will be Hot Springs at mile 271.8.

Trolley Stop

Journal Entry #22

Sunday, April 17, Day 24 - Mile 103.9 - Double Spring Gap Shelter

Great day today. Woke up to freezing weather and frozen food bags, but the day improved nicely.  We decided to hike Clingman's dome tomorrow so we only hiked 7.2 miles today and stopped about 2:00 PM.

Nice sunny afternoon to dry out the tent and clothes.

We've met lots of new folks sitting here including one barefoot hiker.  He's hiking 2 or 3 miles a day barefoot toughening up his feet. (No thanks)

The views here in the Smokies are amazing.

Contacted Bobby and Diana and they're hosting not only me but Guardian and Buffalo Bobby for the evening.

Some very happy hikers looking forward to Tuesday

Continue to pray for good weather!
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry #21

Saturday, April 16 - Day 23 - Mile 186.7 - Derrick Knob Shelter

Another milestone- less than 2,000 miles to go.  Today we knocked off the 181.  Today was as tough 11.7 mile hike.  We hit a high elevation of 5,527' at Thunderhead just after crossing Rocky Top.

Last evening was wild.  The rain and wind were unbelievable.  It poured for 14 hours straight but the the sun came out for most of the day today.  Last night we had 24 people in a 14 person shelter.  Tonight it's snowing so there will more than a full house again.

Very tired tonight!  We'll plan tomorrow's hike distance in the morning.  We'd like to do 15 miles, but the way we felt today after only 11.5 it's doubtful.

Still hiking with Buffalo Bobby and Guardian.  Hopefully we'll be able to stay together through the Smokies
Thanks for the continuing notes from all. Can't wait to get to town and catch up.

 Trolley Stop

Journal Entry #20

Friday, April 15 - Day 22 - Mile 175.0 - Mollies Ridge Shelter

Nice morning but more rain and storms heading our way this afternoon.  A but anxious about this mornings 2,700 foot climb.  Can't wait to get out there.

Had a question about how we get the forecast.  The communication up and down the trail by word of mouth is very effective. Not only weather but messages can be sent up and down through hikers and shelter logs.  Invariably someone will have a good phone connection and be able to get a forecast and that news travels fast.

Hiked 12.5 miles today into the Smokies.  It's a very windy day - 40-45 MPH.  Arrived at the first shelter in the Smokies about 3:00PM.  It's now about 5:00PM and the shelter is packed due to pending storms. One couple set their tent up under the picnic table area.

We left Fontana Dam in T-Shirts and now, after a 2,700' increase in altitude, have 4 layers on and the sun hasn't even begun to set.  That "0" degree sleeping bag is going to feel good tonight!

With the crowd here tonight I think it may be slow going in the morning.
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry #19

Thursday, April 14 - Day 21 - Mile 162.6 - Fontana Dam.

Hiked 11.5 miles today and arrived at Fontana Dam about 1:30.  Legs were a bit rubbery from yesterday's 16 miler but still made good time.  We were picked up at the trail and taken to The Hike Inn for the night. The folks here, Jeff & Nancy, were terrific.  They did our laundry, drove us to dinner (Mexican) in town, and shared their extensive collection of arrowheads and other Indian artifacts.  They'll also drive us back to the trail in the morning.

The owner informed us that the hike from NOC to Fontana Dam is the most challenging stretch in the South.  No wonder we were whipped when we got here .  I actually felt great after a shower, so I sorted my gear, opened my re-supply box and shared the cookies Jane sent.  (Thanks Jane!)

Guardian told me to stop running around like a teenager and relax like us old hikers should!

Tomorrow were taking all the extra stuff we all had in our re-supplies up to the Shelter to give to the young hikers there.  It's a huge shelter which holds 24.  It's known as the Fontana Hilton.

Tomorrow we head back to the trail at 8:00AM, cross Fontana Dam and head into the Smokies.  Should take about 7 or 8 days to get through.  Another day if I can connect with Bob and Diana.

We have our permits and are ready to go.

Week 4 starts!
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry #18

Wednesday, April 13 - day 20 - mile 151 - Brown Fork Gap Shelter

16 mile day.  We hiked from 8:00AM to 6:30PM.  We hope to be in Fontana tomorrow, a couple of days ahead of schedule.

Spoke briefly with Grandma Burke this morning before starting a 4 hour climb out of the NOC.  It seemed as though all we did was climb all day.  When we checked the elevation change we found it was about 3,340' from NOC.  So... We did climb all day

Beautiful sunset tonight.  A full shelter again with lots of tents set up.
Trolley Stop

Sunset at Brown Fork Gap Shelter

Haven't Heard From Dad, but He's out There :)

Just wanted to give the followers a little update while we are waiting for Trolley Stop to reach a point where he has interenet again.

As you can see by clicking on the "Where on the Trail is Roger" link, he's out there walking.  A few of us get an e-mail at the end of the day letting us know he's OK and telling us where he is.  This is all I've gotten since his last update.  Well, that's not true, I've gotten one picture, but I am waiting for the update that goes with it before posting :)

My mom did talk with dad before the big weather that hit the SE on Saturday and he was at an Inn, so he was in a safe place, and hopefully wasn't to affected by it.  He's definately had to deal with some crazy spring weather on the trail, thankfull no snow (that I've heard about yet)!

Meanwhile, I'm reading a book called "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson.  Its his account of walking the trail and it is actually pretty funny.  I suggest you pick it up and read it while waiting for Trolley Stops own updates on this site. 

Take care, and Happy Easter everyone!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Journal Entry #17

Tuesday, April 12th - Day 19 - Mile 135 - Nantahahala Outdoor Center (NOC)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JANE!!!  Spoke to Jane as soon as I had service.  Sounds like a good week of birthday celebrations are lined up.

Last night the storms rolled in big time.  Kept us awake for hours with lighting, thunder, heavy rain and wind.  Settled down some this morning but still a very rainy day.

Hiked about 6 miles to the NOC where I'll bunk tonight with Buffalo Bobby and Guardian.
Today's hike was a real slip and slide, shoots & ladders.  We came down about 2,400' over very muddy terrain.  I can add leaves to the roots, rocks and mud which all make for an adventurous decent.

Guardian had hiked in last night and was waiting for us to show us the ropes here at the NOC   Really nice gesture.

Showered, clothes washed and had a big hamburger for lunch so all is good with the world.

Now we have the afternoon to check out gear and plan for dinner.

Bought a camp pillow which should make these long rest periods more comfortable...but it does add another 3.7 oz.

Big surprise..heard from Marylou A when she tried to contact Jane for her birthday and got me instead at one of the few points I actually have service.

We'll, now we've had a great dinner and are getting ready to turn in.

Tomorrow we get back on the trail and head for Fontana Dam where we'll spend a night and head for the Smokies.  ( Still no "0" days).

Trolley Stop

Journal Entry #16

Monday, April 11th - Day 18 - mile 129.3 - Location - Wesser Bald Shelter.

This morning woke up to what seemed like a gale force wind.  Taking down the tent was a Keystone Cops routine. As soon as I pulled the last stake the tent took off like the house in the Wizard of Oz. All is good, it's now back in it's bag.

The family from last night left early, but took the time to leave me breakfast. That was great, but so far I haven't used any of my re-supply so no lighter load.

Good day today. Hiked 11.5 miles in beautiful sunny weather. That's supposed to change tonight to Thunderstorms.  Glad to be in a shelter.

See you tomorrow at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.  It's only about a 6 mile hike.  If they have a room I'll stay overnight.

Trolley Stop

Wasser Bald Shelter just before the big storm

Mountain views

Downed trees along the trail (April 12)

Burgers at the NOC mile 135 (April 12)

Journal Entry #15

Sunday, April 10 - Day 17 - Mile 117.9 - Location - Wayah Bald

Longest day so far - 13.9 miles

After breakfast at the Baptist Church in Franklin this morning we were taken back to Rock Gap on the AT to continue our hike.  Today may be my highest mile day.  Need to check the book in the morning. 

I hiked from 10:30AM to 7:00PM. It was starting to get dark so I was looking for a place to set up my tent when I met a Father (Chuck) and his two children (Destiny and Todd) who had set up a campsite nearby and invited me to join them.  Chuck also invited me to join them for dinner.  They had lots of food and this was there last day camping.  We cooked hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire and enjoyed ice cold soda and an assortment of desserts.  This was trail magic at it's best!

Chuck and his Kids
I'm now in my tent ready for a good nights rest.  It seemed as though hiking today was all up hill. I've learned that the word "GAP" is short for "big hill ahead.  At one point today I had hiked up hill for about an hour only to find another gap with another major up hill climb.

Overall a great day
Trolley Stop

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Journal Entry #14

Saturday, April 9th - Day 16 - Franklin,  NC - another Nero day

It's now 8:30 and we're waiting for the 9AM shuttle at Rock Gap to take us to Franklin.  It's a beautiful morning with birds singing and the sun coming up.  Perfect hiking day, but getting cleaned up and re-supplied is first priority for today.

Now we're in town and I've had a chance to look at the blog.  Thanks so much to all who are following or commenting

Some questions asked:

What surprises have there been on the trail?
Every turn brings new things to look at.  We've seen bear tracks, food has been stolen by them, but no one has reported seeing any as yet. Another surprise is just how steep some of the climbs have been.  Some required crawling up on your hands and knees.  Blow downs have also been a bit of a challenge.  As far as the trail in general, after all my reading, it's pretty much as I had hoped.

What do you eat?
Oatmeal in the morning w/raisins or whatever may be in the pack, trail mix or GORP and a candy bar for lunch and, on a good day, a Mountain House freeze dried dinner.  Occasionally someone will share a special meal if they make too much.  Only what you can carry is available on the trail unless someone is providing "Trail Magic" as happened with the Boy Scouts providing lunch at Trey Mountain Gap.

Of course when we get to town the fare gets much better.  Today in Franklin we had great Mexican food for lunch,  a steak dinner and tomorrow the local Baptist Church is picking us all up for a pancake breakfast and getting us back in time for a 9 AM shuttle back to the trail.  We shouldn't be too hungry for a day or two.

Took advantage in town today to pick up a few things, sort gear and restock my food supply from the box Jane mailed me.  (The chocolate chip cookies were a nice surprise and enjoyed by all).

Many hikers don't even carry a stove and eat cold food all the time.  A notable example is Milo who is a chef by profession who says he wants a break from cooking.

Spoke to Bobby Luning tonight who offered to pick me up near Gatlinburg for a day of good food, a beer and a soft bed.  Hope AT&T will give me a signal to call as I get near!

All is back on the trail tomorrow and keep updates to send when I get to my next connection point which may be Fontana Dam.

Peace, love, hope & joy
Trolley Stop

Some more photos from the past few days:

Camp Fire at Carter Gap Shelter - Buffalo Bobby on the left.

Tenting at Carter Gap

Meal Time at Carter Gap

At Muskrat Creek Shelter

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Journal Entry #13

Friday, April 8th - Day 15 - Mile 103.9- Rock Gap Shelter

Beginning of 3rd week!  Another solid 12+ mile day. Also broke the 1st 100 miles on the trail.

Overcast and threatening rain, but except for light showers, the real rain held off until late today.

Had some challenging climbs (Albert Mountain)  and an altercation with a huge blown down tree, but was victorious on the second try.

Tomorrow morning a short hike to pick up a shuttle into Franklin and at least spend the night.

Much of the walk is through tunnels of beautiful green Rhododendron  scrubs.  Should be quite spectacular when they bloom.

My Father used to tell me "lift your feet" because I was so heavy footed.  That's turned out to be good advice since many roots have my name on them.  Some even say Trolley Stop...go figure.

Sun is peeking thru, so I'm going down to get water before it starts raining again.

Hope everyone's doing well,
Trolley Stop
The tree that almost won

Rock Gap Shelter

waiting for the shuttle to Franklin

On the Shuttle to Franklin