Kicking off another Spring Break hike with blue skies, frigid temperatures to start, and, this time, a hike more strenuous than any I have done in a while. I was excited to return to this section of the Appalachian Trail between US522 in Front Royal to VA55. I was also a little anxious. Would my legs hold up? I was fairly certain they would, but I double-checked that I was packing ibuprofen. 😀
I met my hiking partner “Somewhere” at the VA55 trailhead. Wow, it was cold! I thought I would ditch a layer before hiking, but backtracked on that decision quickly as the cold, cold wind reached my innermost layer. Brrrrr! We shuttled down to 522, then set out a brisk pace. I am thankful for the body’s ability to warm itself! It was freaking cold for the first 20 minutes, then we warmed up nicely as a result of 1) the sun rising above the ridge, and 2) climbing the first hill. It was welcomed warmth!
This stretch had two climbs that reminded me that I need to get out on the trail more consistently, but they were doable.
*Translation – I handled them with only slight discomfort.* 😀
Thankfully, because I would have been appalled to literally fall over in exhaustion on this hike. Perhaps my ridiculous pride kept me upright? 😀 😀 Nah…It was a lovely hike. Bunches of Bloodroot pushing up through last season’s leaves greeted us on that first uphill. The lower canopy was greening and the trail itself was easy going for the first five or so miles. The only tricky part of this section is the hill just before reaching the train tracks near VA55. That hill is an eroded mess. That was the last hill for us and I was glad of it!
The day had added thrill when I met up with my first thru-hiker this season, “Backstroke”, a physicist who has just taken a job with the government. He caught up with us as we were headed to the Jim & Molly Denton shelter. We let him pass, but then walked a piece with him. We discussed teaching as we strolled along.
*insert…I know he probably slowed his roll a bit to walk with us, but even so, I was pleased to be able to keep up the pace and talk at the same time* 😀
He seemed intensely curious about teaching and is motivated to explore it as his career as a physicist unfolds. We had lunch with Backstroke at the shelter, then he was on his way! If you see him on the trail, be sure to say hi…he is super friendly and great conversationalist!
I look forward to the day when I chance to meet up with you along the AT! I will keep working these legs of mine…See you out there! 🙂 Hike on!
I question my judgment at scheduling a hike so early that I had to leave my house at 6 AM. This is the first day of my Spring Break and just what the heck was I thinking??? It was dark, it was cold, … , it was the FIRST DAY OF BREAK…hadn’t I just been telling folks how exhausted I was and how I couldn’t wait to sleep in? Honestly…ugh.
But got up I did. Coffee – yes, coffee again – yes. Out the door at 6 AM, promptly!
I-68 east to I-70 south, then up Rt 40 to the Annapolis Rock trail head. Surprise…I remember why I scheduled it so early. To avoid the parking lot fiasco…and I was successful! I was the third car into the lot, huzzah!
My fellow Trail Dames showed up soon after and off we went up the mountain. What a glorious morning! Blue skies and sun pouring down on us. Oh, and I was very impressed with the trail work that has happened in my absence from this stretch of trail. Nice work on the grading and stone placement, PATC Trail Maintainers! Absolutely beautiful!
We chatted amicably about some exciting trips that our dames have planned for summer. One is headed to the 100-mile Wilderness in Maine! My plans are more sedate…heading down to complete the section with the Priest in Virginia. All of us are so pleased that we are post – pandemic and can start adventuring further afar to hike.
Arriving at Annapolis Rock, we found the place deserted. Perfect! I sat out on a rock and ate my sub that I had picked up on my way in at Sheetz. That is one VERY conveniently located Sheetz…and it has a drive-thru. You’re welcome. 😀
The nasty old man winter wind picked up while I sat there munching away. I stared that wind down and pretended it was a lovely spring day…until I devoured the last delicious bite of my sub. Then I picked up my stuff and scrambled back into the trees.
We saw several folks headed up as we were headed down. The skies by this time were covered in heavy gray clouds and the wind was picking up. Sorry for them, happy for us! Oooooooo…and we found our first Bloodroot sighting!! Hike on!
As I start this post the Beatles song “with a little help from my friends” is rolling inside my head. This year, more than any before, I am appreciating friendship. The people in my life who I look forward to being with, laughing with, and sharing with. Each inspires me in little ways that enrich my moments spent plodding through life. And plod I do!
So, this is an appreciation post for all the people who are still hanging with me here in the Spring of 2022.
OF course I need to include my partner here. But she is a private person…so I won’t say much except that life would not be as fun without her. She is also a teacher and there is no one else who gets my shizzle like she does. She also swings a mean hammer and paint brush. House renovations would go much slower and be a LOT more expensive without her mechanical prowess! ❤ ❤ ❤
No particular order of importance…but I need to put D in Damascus in here because this post would not be happening without her. Over the last few years, she has become a wonderful photographer and decided to start her own blog to showcase her photos. She has no idea how this has inspired me to get back to writing…but here we are! D is also my go-to colleague at work when everything feels like it is falling apart, so that is a bonus! I post one of her lovely photos here … so please ooooo and ahhhhhh over it for at least thirty seconds! 🙂
And then there are my Dames…what would I do without my hiking gals?
Queen V brings her jokes, her exasperation with hills, and keeps me in stitches on every hike I take with her. She is a treasure. I can text her “hey, I found an unmarked trail …want to check it out?” and she ALWAYS says yes. She almost always bitches about it while we bushwhack through some unforeseen truly terrible trail…but she shows up and has fun…I think. Anyway, she also has just the right advice when it is needed. Level headed, she kindly points out all sides of an issue while I rant…and rant…until I manage to slow down enough hear her. Then I’m like “yeah, that makes sense…” The perfect friend to take hiking down the trails! 😀
There are so many good people in my hiking life…I certainly could not list them all. I wish I could, but it would take many lifetimes to do so. And so many I have not yet had the opportunity to reconnect with in 2022.
A few more photos that have frozen an amazing moment in time for me. Moments filled with pure joy shared with friends on the trail. Oh, how I look forward to getting back to regular hiking life this year! Hike on! 🙂
Well…this was a post COVID shutdown shock to my system! 😀
After driving down for a little over three hours from Frederick, MD, and another two hours placing cars, we hit the trail while the hot afternoon sun beat down on us. The parking lot at VA501 was easy to find and I was happy to exit the hot pavement and enter the just as hot, but at least shady, woods!
Day 1 we hiked in to the Johns Hollow Shelter. Blessed with a fine running stream, I took a good amount of time refreshing myself before cooking dinner. The shelter is in a delightful location with several almost level places to put a tent. Except, of course, for the place I put mine! But I was exhausted and fell asleep quickly.
As usual, I awoke a few hours later after darkness had closed in on the forest. Since morning would not wait for certain things, I finally, after debating for at least 20 minutes, had to commit to getting out of my tent.
Okay, okay…I’m up, I’m out…oh, wow, it is really, really dark.
I made my way across to the privy and happened to look up. There was a perfect crescent moon shining down. It was framed by the upper most branches and leaves of several trees…perfectly timed…well done Mother Nature!
Once back in my tent, I could not fall back to sleep and tossed, turned, and created a ton of noise from my sleeping pad which has not become less noisy with wear FYI. Finally getting into a somewhat decent position I started to doze off. It must have been early…like 2 am…a yip, then a yowl, then a whole orchestrated sonata sung by a local coyote group. Beautiful!
I know you will find this surprising, but I did not wake up refreshed and ready for a 9 mile day.
Day 2 was an up, up, up day. We climbed about 2000 feet up. It was our first climb and we got up while the sun was still low in the sky and breezes were frequent. With proper breaks here and there we made it to the top without any terrible memories burning in my memory. A beautiful view awaited us!
We stopped at Salt Log Gap for a sit-down break. I got just two things to say…1. Someone said there was a spring. If that is true it is so far downhill that you’d be nuts to go looking for it. 2. Careful of the stinging nettles, but if you do get swiped try hand sanitizer on it. That worked wonders on the areas where I was attacked!
The second mountain of the day…ugh. Bluff Mountain is no bluff! The trail went up the sunny side of the mountain and it was a hot afternoon sun. Several thousand breaks later we rounded a corner to find the memorial for Ottie Cline Powell, an almost 5-year old boy who wandered away from his school in November 1890, got lost, then died on Bluff Mountain. His remains were found by a hunter in April 1891. This choked me up and I cannot get this kid out of my head even now. Poor, poor baby. 😦
I was so glad to get to the Punchbowl Shelter. Such a pretty sight with a pond filled with chatty bullfrogs. 🙂 I went about setting up my tent, minding my own business, when the black flies descended. Oh my gawd, this was awful. Like on level with chiggers awful. I got so many bites. 😦 Bug spray didn’t phase those little suckers one bit. I capped off Day 2 with three ibuprofen and a benadryl.
We TRIED to get out earlier on day 3 so we were done hiking earlier due to the heat. A group of five…we did try! And maybe we were out a little earlier??? Anyway, the day’s elevation looked decent and I was optimistically promoting a day that would allow our fired up muscles a day to recover somewhat. Hahahaaaaa 😀
The elevation wasn’t bad in comparison, but it still managed to get at me. The heat and humidity was suffocating and I could smell rain. Picking up speed around the Lynchburg Reservoir, yessss! This was good, this was easy!
Rounded a corner…Oh for Christ’s sake. What horse of the Apocalypse are we on now?
A monumental disaster of epic proportions lay before us. A tangle of huge blowdowns over a ravine. Every woman for herself! I decided to crawl under and through it dragging my pack behind me. It worked!
Feeling superior, I temporarily forgot that this was a miserable hike and plodded on down the trail happily the victor. 😀 There was even an congratulatory creek with rushing cool water about a mile after. Huzzah!
The day got long again and my feet were screaming with every step once we reached the bridge across Brown Mountain Creek near the shelter. I wasn’t the only one having physical turmoil and we were glad to be done for the day.
The Brown Mountain Creek area is fabulously wild and gorgeous. In the early 1900s, a community of African American sharecroppers lived here. I looked and found evidence of homes long since abandoned. I am surprised and disappointed that there is no roadside history sign about this community at VA60. I went Googling for information once I got home and found “Brown Mountain Creek – Before the AT”.
I settled in for the night, best sleep on the whole trip under a big old oak tree. I had some quite disturbing lucid dreams about little Ottie. I woke up suddenly during one of those dreams to a lightning bug blinking his light as he passed my tent…a good sign. I got up and looked out ….ohhhhhhh…*sharp inhale*…the lightning bugs! I was mesmerized, and after the dreams I had, a little emotional.
The last day was a short hike out to VA60. Sitting in my tent, early in the morning, while the lightning bugs were still blinking, I wrote:
“I am humbled by these mountains. Blisters on my heels burn with every step. Black fly bites have formed hard spherical mounds that itch like the dickens. Stinging nettles brushed my legs with a touch that was anything but gentle. My COVID shutdown body is tired and demoralized. Another day my mountains.”
Now healing, beer in hand, and looking forward to another day…Hike on!
Backpacking with my gal pals last weekend! How is it to know these women, these outrageous trail bitches who understand this is not a frivolous hobby? We understand each other in a deep way even our life partners don’t get. We see the desire burning in each other’s heart for the outdoors, for the forest, for walking in and not having to walk out right away. Hiking and backpacking is something we do because it is what makes us whole! and it is what makes us reasonable human beings in all the other areas of our lives.
With that in mind, we all piled into Akela’s minivan, WHICH HOLDS ALL SEVEN OF US AND OUR GEAR!! Headed south to Dripping Rock, one of us has forgotten her cell phone…turn around, back to Rockfish Gap…OKAY, now we headed for Dripping Rock … for real! 😀
A sunny, but very chilly morning, at 20 degrees! Thankfully, climbing first thing. It is a lovely stretch of trail up the mountain. Some of us hike a little faster, some a little slower, … all of us hike with optimism, smiles, and support for one another.
The views at the top were amazing, of course! We stopped for lunch at the highest point of our hike. A nice break on the sun splashed rocks until the sun went on hiatus and the wind decided to pick up and play chicken with us. Okay, okay, we are going, seriously! Gloves and hats back on! Ladies, someone has an issue with letting us soak in the sun!
We felt good as we started down towards Paul C. Wolfe Shelter. Golden leaves covered our path in spots as we hiked one way, then the next, zigzagging down the mountain on a kazillion switchbacks. A big nice trail for the most part!
It was a great day filled late Autumn forest magic. A gust of wind showered us with leaves, a beam of sunlight warmed us for a few minutes, a deer silently sneaked a peek at us, and birds called out to each other as we passed. I arrived at the shelter free of all regular life stuff. No place but here, no time but now.
I got my tent up and had dinner as the forest went dark. The moon was almost full giving me all the happy vibes. 🙂
A couple of dads and their sons were camped at the shelter. “NO worries about bears tonight”, I thought, as those boys ran up and down each side of the creek having the time of their lives.
I crawled into my tent, broke open some ‘hothands’ to warm up my tootsies and my sleeping bag, then fell promptly to sleep…at 7:00 pm. Woohoo! Hiker midnight!
Morning now nigh…Dang, it is always a tough time getting out of the bag on a cold morning!! Deep breath and up I was. Packing up warms you up, so move, move, move! And, oh crap, I have to filter water…oh, but what a nice view I had!!
Hot oatmeal warmed my insides and coffee made me a little more coherent, then it was down the trail we went. It was much warmer on Sunday morning and with temps climbing we were soon plenty warm. The trail had some disaster blow downs which gave us an aerobic edge to our hike. We were shedding layers like crazy! “Lost&Found” had to do an extensive striptease on the trail since she needed to get her long johns off…if that would have been me, I know a fricken entire boy scout group would have appeared! Luckily, she got it done without any such embarrassment!
We spent several minutes at the Lowe cemetery. Akela suggested that it would be a good cleanup project. I have to agree. A tree had fallen over a few graves in the back of the cemetery.
Next stop was Mayo Homestead…a very nice place it must have been with that big fireplace! I can imagine riding a horse up to the cabin and seeing smoke drifting up out of the chimney. A promise of freshly baked bread or other delight waiting for me!
Along the last stretch we met ‘Walking Spirit’, a south bound thru hiker. He was sitting by a nicely flowing spring, enjoying his break. That is what is great about solo hiking. You hike, you break, you eat, you sleep, all without needing to check in with anyone. On the flip side, you get to an amazing view or beautiful tree and you want to share the awe with someone, but all you have is you.
I love solo, but my trail gals…awwwww yeah… that’s my heart!
Thank goodness, right? If your winter was anything like my winter…ugh.
Father Winter was a big tease with lots of potential, but no big exciting events. In Maryland, we would get icy mix, a little snow, then it would melt and we were left with a few damp, chilly days in the mid-40s. Brrr…rrr
Thank you Goddess of Spring for finally taking control!
Last weekend, I led a “newbie backpacker” trip. We had 4 new and 5 experienced backpackers. The newbies had completed two shakedown hikes prior and felt somewhat prepared.
We began our adventure at Shippensburg Road trailhead on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. Saturday started as winter…very cold and windy! We got moving!
As we hiked the seasons turned. A lovely day indeed!
In general, we took this stretch slower, and with more breaks than I would take if I were going alone. Which makes perfect sense for new backpackers. They had plenty of time for adjusting the pack, stretching, resting, and enjoying the woods!
We rolled into Tom’s Run Shelter mid-afternoon, plenty of time for the newbies to set up.
It was a cold night and one newbie had not brought the recommended 20 degree bag. She learned and will pack accordingly next time. Sometimes, we have to learn the hard way. 🙂
Spring rebounded on Sunday! The trail was a slight disaster with tons of water flowing down it and many blowdowns that had to be climbed over, under, or around! Our newbie, who hadn’t slept much due to being cold the night before, just about petered out on the last hill of the day. We got some extra food in her and took it slow…she was determined to finish! She dug deep and conquered the last hill!
Everyone finished sucessfully at Pine Grove Furnace State Park with smiles (and a few emotional tears). I am so proud of these women! We stick together, push through our fears, learn from our miscalculations, and always Hike On!
I ended the AT through Shenandoah where I began it long ago. Several years back my sweetie and I backpacked the Moorman River Loop which traversed the AT from Turk Gap to Blackrock Gap…loved that trip!
Anyway, here I was with the Dames at Loft Mountain pulling out my gear for a quick overnight on the AT. It was going to be a hot one!
That has never happened…are you kidding me? 21 pounds?!! I’m so proud of myself 😂
Okay, let me collect myself, whew…
The first day was sweet! Gorgeous trail, interesting rocks, and tremendous views from Blackrock Summit.
Pulling down into Blackrock Hut, we got set up quickly. I decided that I was going to have a lazy weekend and took advantage of a mostly empty shelter! The ridgerunner, Papa Bear, showed up, in addition to a slew of thruhikers and weekend warriors.
Papa Bear was a great conversationalist and I soon found out we knew some of the same trail folk. This type of encounter is what I truly love about the AT. The trail connects us in ways we cannot possibly understand or anticipate; it is almost magical. 😊
A few of the guys tenting down the hill spotted a mama bear and cub on the opposite side of the ravine! We all ran down to watch them until they ambled off. Then it was to bed for me! Next morning I heard that the bears came back…the guys down the hill had to come out of their tent, yell a bit, made a bunch of noise until the bears again left. 😲
I heard nothing from the bears, but oh! The whipporwills! A lovely serenade long into the night.
The following day I treated the dames to slackpacking the last 8.5 miles. I would say it was a treat for me too, but recall my pack was ONLY 21 POUNDS!! 😄😄😄
It was a great decision. Four good climbs, temps climbing into mid-80s, and a delightful mugginess moved in. Yummy.
It was one of those days. Climb up 100 yards, stop to rest, up, rest, up, rest…
The wildflowers along the way made it bearable!
Turk Gap was a welcome sight! A few of us capped off the weekend at Loft Wayside before dragging ourselves back to the real world. Here’s to good friends, the trail community, and whipperwills…hike on!
I left off telling the story of our hiking weekend back in March to attend my dad’s funeral. It has been hard getting back to writing on the blog since then. I wasn’t particularly close to my dad, but he was an enigmatic force and all things “Albert” could have a lasting affect on all who knew him. Alzheimer’s paired with old age got him in the end…but what a life he led!
One thing I had in common with him was his love for the woods. So it is back to the woods we go!
Earlier in the weekend, Shenandoah National Park had been closed due to snow and ice. It had opened AFTER we had started hiking on the previous day hiking AT – VA Rockfish Gap to Beagle Gap . What a difference a day made!
Driving to Turk Gap we dodged an army of squirrels intent on licking up something that was on the road, possibly salt. The road was clear, the sky was blue, and the snow was still pristine in many spots. Evidence of other hikers was there, but still lovely!
Capital Cheezy Shot at the Trail Head 😀
This section took us down, down, down to a lovely stream valley, then up, up, up Calf Mountain. In the snow. Trudge, trudge, trudge…it was kicking my butt! I was making my best effort to love winter, but honestly, after this weekend I didn’t care to see another flake of snow for a looooonnnnnnggg time!!
This gorgeous view was the first road crossing at an overlook. Regardless of how I feel hiking in snow today, I absolutely go all gaga for this kind of view!
I waited so long to write up this section on the blog that is is now long past winter and warm weather has arrived. And I use the definition of warm from the Mid-Atlantic weather dictionary…hot, muggy, and what the hell happened to Spring???
So, it is with a bit wistful yearning that I revisit this section. 😀
Climbing Calf Mountain … hiking friends helpful on this snowy climb! However, the snow had been melting all day. Out in the distance there are snow free mountains!
After that climb I AM NOT hiking down 0.3 miles to take a gander at the Calf Mountain Shelter. Just no.
Hallefrickenlujah!!!!! The summit of Calf Mountain! YES, YES, YES!!! Now where is my damn sticker?
After the Summit of Calf Mountain, it was pretty smooth sailing, thankfully! One more lesser summit on Little Calf Mountain, then down the field to the cars closing out out our hiking weekend.
Summit of LIttle Calf Mountain-JUST LOOK AT THE SKY!!!
View from Little Calf Summit – A very nice closer! Well done Appalachian Trail, well done indeed!
A quiet morning to hike. Ten miles, then boom, my trip to North Carolina would be over. Back to Maryland, back to everyday life. I was looking forward to getting back home even though the mountains in NC have been delightful to hike.
This hike had Momma Puma shuttling me to a trail head for the last time. Afterwards, she would be off on her own adventure and we planned on meeting up at Google’s cabin in the evening.
A quiet morning with sounds of grass brushing against my hiking pants broken by the occasional cry of a bird or crunch of tires on the fire road. I watched as the sky clouded up, to the point I thought rain was imminent, then, in a blink, the sun would break through and make the forest glow.
The trail passed by a campsite before the Bartram trail diverged to the right. I took a little break there. I sat back against a tree and thought about the week I’d had hiking here in NC. The mountains are just so darn dramatic!
Rounding a corner near Wilson Lick trail, I heard a crash and looked up to see a bear butt running up hill! How exciting!
I moved on down the trail with a smile…yes, wildlife, finally!
The AT crossed the fire road a few times before reaching the paved road at Wayah Gap.
Now, I was going to be headed uphill for awhile and hopefully, hopefully I wouldn’t miss the turn-off for Siler Bald! More people, actually a lot of people were on this stretch of trail. That made the trip up seem shorter and the variety of body types made me think this “up” wouldn’t be too bad. The uphill did go up for a good ways, though! Definitely break worthy, so I found a nice log and had a snack. It was getting humid, whew!
And I missed the turn-off for Siler Bald!!! Unbelievable. I saw the sign for the shelter, but nothing for the bald. So I backtracked. ugh! But I knew I would regret not going to the bald!
This is why I missed the turn-off. So overgrown! It got worse, before better…and I was separating grasses with my hiking poles to check for snakes before plowing through!
Once climbing to the top of Siler Bald, I was happy I had backtracked! What a view! I didn’t stay long because it was unbearably HOT in that field!
Having had my most excellent view from Siler Bald, I was ready to hoof it down to Winding Stair Gap. However, I had to cross through Panther Gap first…and I was in a silly mood by then as I was on a very warm and humid mile 8. Coming down into Panther Gap, I thought, “why do they have to call it Panther Gap? Why not kitty cat gap? or Hello Kitty gap?…what if there really are panthers in Panther Gap? Wait, is a panther the same as a cougar? a mountain lion? I wonder if they are black?…”
Then I stopped to stretch my neck…too much looking at the ground.
OH. MY. GAWD. I looked hard, not believing what I was seeing. Tan color…Is that a bobcat? No, that is a long droopy swinging tail!!! The cat, kitty, panther, cougar, mountain lion, whatever you want to call it was about 25 yards in front of me casually walking down the AT away from me!!! Holy moly!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He paused for a moment to look over its shoulder at me. A sweet little head with rounded ears, no tufts, definitely NOT a bobcat,…I quickly inhaled then clicked my hiking poles together. (No need for him to get too curious.) He turned back around and began to trot down the trail. I waited, gave him time to find a safe spot before I walked on.
He was no where to be seen when I passed through.
I felt so blessed, wow, so, so blessed to have this cat make his presence known. exhale. We all share this one world. All creatures great and small.
Words from Momma Puma as we pulled into the Wayah Bald parking area. I barely heard her as my senses were overtaken by the sheer jaw-dropping vista this morning at Wayah Bald.
The Wayah Bald fire tower, substantial as it is, sustained a clear amount of damage from the fires. It’s majestic nature has not been affected in the slightest, I am happy to report! The interior chamber of the fire tower on the ground level would be a great hiding place in a storm.
Done exploring at the fire tower, we headed north on the AT and downhill. We passed the sign for the shelter, then promptly, went the wrong way! I figured the sign for the shelter meant it was a blue blaze, twenty minutes later I am shaking my head as it seemed we were headed around the mountain and below the fire tower. The one time I have used technology on the trail to actually check my location…and a good call! Guthook’s guide app showed that we were indeed off the Appalachian Trail…it didn’t show what trail we WERE on (a drawback to the app is that it doesn’t show all the intersecting trails) but we knew we were on the Bartram Trail. It was encouraging to see that I was correct in where I thought I was…anyway, we backtracked…ugh.
You know some people get off trail because there is no signage…me…sign right in front of me, but I assumed it meant a blue blaze to the shelter. 😀 Extra credit miles today.
Once back at the intersection, Mama Puma, decided she didn’t want to climb back up the hill to her car. Too funny! So she joined me, for better or worse, to Tellico Gap.
The woodsy trail was a delightful change from the rugged, eroded trail into the NOC I’d hiked the day before. Lush green engulfed us all of the way to Tellico Gap.
It was a long hike with my pesky blisters making themselves heard with every step after four miles. At the shelter I sat down for a break…a real break…and changed the bandages on the blisters. After about 25 minutes, Momma Puma indicated we needed to get moving, so I regretfully pulled on my boots.
The new bandages were helpful, but as we neared Tellico Gap I was singing “Tellico, Oh Tellico, these old boots have got to go” as my feet screamed for freedom. You do whatever gets you down the trail!
Yes! The light at the end of the tunnel was NOT an oncoming train!!! After being teased with peeks at the fire road for a mile or so, we reached the parking area at Tellico Gap. Flip flops here I come!
In my trusty RAV4 once again, we drove down the not scary side of the mountain, then made two more stops: 1) back to Momma Puma’s truck at Wayah Bald, then 2) repark my car at Winding Stair in preparation for my last hike for this trip…Wayah Bald to Winding Stair.