Sunday, April 10, 2011

On the Appalachian Trail: Cheese Factory Site, Ga to Deep Gap Shelter, GA

Day 2 Cheese Factory Site, GA - Deep Gap Shelter, GA (Miles Today: 9; Trip Miles: 12; Total AT Miles: 62)

The winds howled throughout the mountains last night. It's kind of eerie sounding - like the black smoke from Lost. Even when you can't feel it you know it's near.

Within a few minutes of our walk this morning we passed a group of about ten tents with food bags hanging everywhere in the trees. We thought we were alone last night. Guess not. I stopped to talk to one of the guys. He was college-aged and wearing camouflaged leggings under his brown shorts. In town this would look ridiculous but pretty much anything goes on the trail when it's cold. We found out that he's a thru-hiker (someone planning to hike the entire trail this season). No one else in his group was up yet and we moved on.

Within an hour or so we walked into Tray Gap and came upon a truck with a large trailer behind it. There was a large tent set-up with stoves and grills. Someone called from the tent, "You guys want an apple?" We walked over and a middle-aged man offered us each an apple and a small chocolate bar.

"I've got a scout group out here cooking breakfast for the thru-hikers," he explained. They were cooking eggs, sausage, pancakes, and more. Hikers refer to acts of kindness such as this as trail magic. It's amazing. It was a great way to start our day - knowing all these people had come out help everyone along on their journey. We happily ate our apples on the way up the next mountain.

Ty was strong throughout the day today. There were a number of good hard climbs. Each of the boys are carrying about 13- 14 pounds in their packs and I have somewhere in the low to mid 30s. We could feel this in our shoulders but not too bad. There weren't any complaints. Our last climb of the day was out of Addis Gap. The climb had us gaining 900 feet of elevation in a mile as we made our way up toward Kelly Knob. The climb just felt like it went on forever. After finally summitting we made our way down the other side and into Deep Gap shelter.

There were a lot of thru-hikers staying here for the night with trail names like Baby Ruth, Trolley Stop, and Mountain Goat. We set up our tent, made chili for dinner and banana pudding for desert, and did our dishes. Doing all this for three people means a lot of runs for water. I've been amazed how easy access to water has been. In most cases trail maintainers have placed pipes to help direct the water right into our bottles. This is much easier than trying to scoop from a shallow stream. One problem concerning water: Our purifier went dead. The batteries are shot and I accidentally brought only one new one. This means we'll not be purifying the water here on out. I hope we don't get sick! There are people who hike the entire trail without treating their water so we'll probably be fine. If not we'll be visiting the woods a whole, whole lot over the next few days.

(Dad, age 36)

We had Pop-Tarts for breakfast. We hiked 9 miles today. There was a high mountain. I stopped 6 or 7 times on the mountain.

(Ty/Flash, age 7)

For the record, I'm leaning against a tree - NOT POSING!

We hiked a huge mountain. It probably was bigger and longer than Tray Mountain. It took us a long time to finish. We played "I'm thinking of a number" and still got bored and stopped. We had chili with our new cups and banana pudding for desert. It was fabulous. I cleaned my cup and I ate the rest of Ty's chili. I was filled then so that I couldn't have another helping of pudding.

We went up the trail a couple of times to get water but once we went up there the thing that cleans the water was dead. We had to ask a woman we saw a couple of times on the trail if she could clean the water for us. She did and we went down to tell Dad. He only had one battery but it was supposed to hold two. Dad called himself a dummy and we have learned a lesson.

(Muluken/Jolly Roger, age 9)

1 comment:

  1. You guys must be in awesome shape and imagine the shape you'll be in when you finish.

    I loved the "trail magic". It would be magic for you and the other hikers but imagine how cool that is for the scouts. And what a great way to perhaps help establish the AP as a goal for them some day.

    The dead battery in the water purifier would have freaked me out. Can you say giardia? You all seemed OK to me when I saw you after the break.

    When I saw the picture of you with Ty I immediately thought - GQ. Or maybe Kramer from Seinfeld. One of the two. I'm glad that you mentioned in the caption that you weren't posing.