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  1. #1
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Trip Report: AT SOBO 50 Miles Wayah Gap to Dicks Creek Gap

    Back for another trip report 3 day trip going south for 2 hammockers on the AT. This section finishes NC and TN for me and I did the math. It is about 390 miles and I did this over 10 years, 11 backpacking trips and 3 day hikes. I've also got a few miles in Georgia and Virginia done. All my backpacking trips are on this site, this is such a great resource for trip planning and I love to archive my trips here.

    I'm 37 and I've been training pretty hard for his hike, 50 miles in 3 days with a 22 mile day is more than I've done since I was probably 29 or 30. Having a goal to work towards is the most motivating thing for me with fitness and a 22 mile day did the trick. I've been cycling and hiking and working out and even managed to drop a few pounds for this trip.

    I could not find a shuttle for this section, the people I talked with didn't have many drivers due to Covid and that is understandable for sure. Luckily my hiking partner and I could do the shuttle ourselves and just leave a car at each end. The drive between the two points was about an hour and 10 minutes. There wasn't parking right at Wayah gap so we drove up towards the bald and parked near some historic buildings and walked onto the AT from there. We started hiking right at 1:00, weather was nice and the trail was up and down most of the day, nice switchbacks on the climbs and descents. We hiked right at 16 miles to Long Branch Shelter.

    We met some really "interesting" people on the beginning of this hike. The first group we passed were three guys stopped at a water source all smoking cigarettes. One guy was older the other two younger who kind of had blank looks. Talked for a few minutes the older guy said he was living on trail and the other two seemed like they were just following, got a weird vibe all around. We parted ways and as we left one guy very aggressively said "jesus loves you!" Not in a way you want to hear and it wasn't like he as talking to us more commanding his decree. Again just odd. We turned and said thanks. Kept walking and the other young guy was now screaming "jesus loves you!" We picked up our pace without turning around and got some distance between us, the whole things was weird and looking back had a very cultish vibe. Glad they were going north because I would not stay at a shelter with them. At the shelter were 3 people one guy hiking solo who was nice but not really all there at times. The other two were very nice and hiking together. They said they had been on trail 4 weeks and had only made it to southern NC. Both were young and looked in good shape just not in any hurry. They asked how long we had hiked that day and told them 16 miles. The guy asked how old I was and I said 37 and in a moment to feel old he looked at me and said "Wow, good for you" in an almost condescending tone like I was a child who had just learned to tie his shoes. I was tempted to to snap back to his tone with yea, I hiked more miles after lunch today than you guys have done in a day but I just said thanks. Later that night the girl was holding court and explaining to us all that if you ate some small portions of poison ivy leaves each month you would eventually be immune to it because that is what she did and not she can't get poison ivy even if she rolls in it. At that point I was done with everyone in that shelter and was fine to never talk to them ever again. I hope no one actually decided to take her dangerous and absolutely insane advice.

    The shelter itself was great, with plenty of space to cook and eat and great options for hammocks. Privy was clean and we spent a nice dry night at the shelter despite a lot of thunder. We got up the next morning cooked breakfast enjoyed some instant coffee and were on trail at 830 before anyone else woke up. We hiked up to the Albert Mountain Fire Tower for some great morning views. Got to Carter Gap Shelter just ahead of some rain and ate lunch and waited out the thunder storm. Met some nice and normal folks there including a girl who went to high school with one of our mutual friends, small world and also faith in the hiking community restored. We ended up hiking with her a good bit over the next two days. We continued on and made it to Standing Indian Shelter for a snack and then pushed the last 5 miles to Muscrat Creek Shelter and got there at about 730 to cap at 21.7 mile day. I was super proud of how well my legs and knees held up and to finish a day at that mileage for the first time in probably 7 years. We met two super nice girls from Savannah at the shelter and enjoyed chatting with them. One of them had a dutchware hammock and HG underquilt so we talked hammocks for a while. They set up in the shelter and we set up near it. I don't recommend this shelter for hammocks, not many options and we struggled to find a decent place. I was hanging from a small tree and when I got in the tree leaned and I got a lot of extra slack in my tarp and it created some condensation issues for me but not the end of the world. The shelter also had lots of bear activity but it was quiet that night.

    We got back on trail at 9, said good bye to the two girls and then ended up hiking with Laura the girl from the day before for a while who got a much earlier start than us. It was a very humid day all day and we sweat and got rained on. We crossed into Georgia which was exciting for me and not long after the thunder started and then the rain hit. We had 12 miles to the car at Dicks creek gap and honestly I could have done without the last 4 but this trip was about pushing ourselves and not a stop and smell the roses trip so no complaining because we made it. No switchbacks on the climbs or descents but we made it to the car at 2. Had some pretty close calls with lightning but made it through unscathed.

    Great three day trip to check off another section and test my legs. Came home tired but with a full stomach from a great Mexican restaurant in Franklin. Can't wait to get back out again, hoping to do the last 68 miles in Georgia in August or September so we will see.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
    John Muir

  2. #2
    ObdewlaX's Avatar
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    Nice trip report & it's cool that you guys were able to log a couple of big mileage days. I guess this year would be a good time to attempt a long trail hike given the current state of affairs. I've always thought about doing the AT, but now it seems it is so heavily trafficked & crowded, even in pre-Covid times.

    I've met some people on the trail in the past I would classify as 'different ducks' but none yet that have made me feel too uncomfortable. It's good that we have that built-in alarm to keep us on guard if things get too weird. It's unfortunate that your encounter on the trail threw a degree of uneasiness on part of your trip.
    Last edited by ObdewlaX; 07-23-2020 at 21:56.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    BC401964-E6BF-4BB6-8D2D-1B0B03D4283C.jpg

    Albert Mountain Fire Tower
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
    John Muir

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
    John Muir

  5. #5
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    32D34A89-F058-41E2-AAC5-39375766B499.jpg

    Standing Indian looking out towards brasstown bald.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
    John Muir

  6. #6
    Moderator TallPaul's Avatar
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    Great trip report. I’ve done a fair amount of that but never south of Standing Indian or into Georgia. Beautiful area. Sounds like some real characters on the trail.

  7. #7
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Beautiful country, and a mix of weird and nice people.

    Sometimes nice to be able to do a good stealth camp well away from the shelters. I've done that a few times over the years after getting weird vibes from strange folk.
    Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter, Instagram

    “To equip a pedestrian with shelter, bedding, utensils, food, and other necessities, in a pack so light and small that he can carry it without overstrain, is really a fine art.” ~ Horace Kephart, 1906

  8. #8
    New Member
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    Well, that was a very interesting trip report. It's possible to meet some real strange ones out there. Glad it didn't get any weirder with that first group, sheesh.

  9. #9
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    Great report!! Thanks for sharing!!! Lots of great memories on those trails...

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