The End of The Trail (For Now)

Good Morning Folks,

Last evening when I was coming off the Trail for the evening, I met an interesting person, and his group. He immediately got my attention by offering me a beer. (Which I accepted with enthusiasm.) You just can’t ignore that sort of thing. It shows great strength of character, and a kind heart.

I found from one of the other Folks in his group that TABA (His Trail Name), is a bit of a celebrity on the Appalachian Trail, and in the hiking world in general.

Meet Scot Ward (Trail Name=TABA There And Back Again) and his dog Kaya

 (If you would like to get to know Scot better, click on the TABA Link)

Scot describes himself as follows:

A modern day American pioneer. What is the definition of “pioneer”? I would say that a pioneer is a person who travels to new territory, that is already inhabited by someone else, to chart a path for others to follow, who are seeking out a new adventure or looking for a change of scenery, atmosphere or even a change in lifestyle.

I tend to agree in part with Scot, at least to the point of “seeking out new adventures”. That’s basically what I’m doing out here. I’m doing something that stretches my abilities, expands my horizons, and at the same time allows you to follow along on the adventure.

The bottom line is that shortly after finishing the beer, evaluating my accomplishment to date, and realizing that I had not seen my wife Judy for way too long, I gave her a call, and asked her to pick me up.

She said something to the effect of “It’s about time”, and then started the drive to Georgia to retrieve me.

“This is the end of this adventure, and I’m looking forward to the next.”

For those of you that have just discovered this Newsletter, Click on the “Subscribe to Walkers-Walkabouts” button in the upper right corner of this Newsletter, you should be able to read all of the different stages of this adventure. Enjoy yourself!!!

As J.R.R.’s Hobbit once said,

Adventures Make You Late for Dinner,

Posted in adventure, Appalachian Trail, Chattahoochee National Forest, Dumb Old Men, Hobbit, TABA, Walkers Walk-Abouts | 1 Comment

On the Trail Again

Woke up with the sunrise, had my breakfast of coffee, Oats and raisins, and more coffee, then hit the Trail. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”.

Things are getting greener

I traveled to Gooch Gap and turned north. The Trail lead through Grassy Gap and Liss Gap then began to climb Ramrock Mountain.

   

  

The top of Ramrock is appropriately named, with rock out croppings overlooking the valleys below.

 

         

I moved on up the Trail toward Woody Gap, and found these great springs and water sources.

It’s hard to see in this picture, but this entire rock face has water running over it.

   

I’ve got my water bottles full, and down the Trail, less than a quarter mile from here is the Woody Gap Recreation Area.

I’ll be tent camping here tonight,

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Chattahoochee National Forest, Dumb Old Men, Grassy Gap, Liss Gap, natural springs, Ramrock Mountain, Ramshead Mountain, Rock Outcroppings, Walkers Walk-Abouts | Leave a comment

Justus Mountain, Gooch Gap, and Points East

I thought that Sassafras Mountain was steep, but I soon found that Justus Mountain is steeper. (Maybe I’m still just exhausted from Sassafras, – – – – but of course I would never admit that.)

And then I found this:

This was just off the Trail a ways, and irresistible to my exploration instinct. Besides- – -What could go wrong??? So I decided to investigate with a forty pound pack on my back.

The overhang was neat and was probably a good place to camp, (in fact it looked like someone had already done so at some point) but I was set on getting to Gooch Mountain Shelter so I decided to push on.

This is when reality reared it’s ugly head.

I discovered that carrying a forty pound backpack down a steep incline and across a narrow path with a thirty foot drop-off on one side, was not the same as carrying the same one back out. (I found that I’m a bit squeamish about heights and the stability of 80 year old legs.)

The only solution was to take out some of the weight, then lift the individual pieces over a 3 foot shelf, carry them back up to the Trail, and then reassemble the backpack and the piecie-parts I had removed.

About an hour later I was back on my way to Gooch Mountain, after somewhat humbling experience.

On the way to Gooch I crossed Justus Creek and Blackwell Creek where I refilled my empty water containers, and got some pictures.

         

I don’t remember which of these are which, but “Ya Pays Yer money, and Ya Takes Yer Choice”.

I moved on to Gooch Mountain Shelter, and took up residence in the corner again. I figure if there are Bears, they’ll get the guys in the middle first. (Great plan but I was the only one there.)

Incidentally, there was a Barred Owl doing his thing even though it wasn’t quite dark yet, and the rain had cleared for awhile.

See you in the morning,

 

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Backpacks, Barred Owl, Blackwell Creek, Dumb Old Men, Justus Creek, Justus Mountain, Rock Outcroppings, Sassafras Mountain, Scenery, Walkers Walk-Abouts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Onward to Sassafras Mountain

It is still raining a bit after the storms last night, but it finally cleared at about 10:00 AM. I’m leaving the Hawk Mountain Shelter and beginning the climb up Sassafras Mountain. First a dip down to High Tower Gap,

Then up Sassafras Mountain, and on to Coopers Gap. Pete, the Trail Ambassador at Hawk Mountain, told me that hike up Sassafras was pretty steep, and there was no water until Coopers Gap, so I filled a couple of 32 oz containers at the spring.

     

The Trail is “pretty steep” as Pete said, but it is absolutely beautiful! I need to stop and rest every few hundred feet, but this is worth it .

Notice how the farther I get up the mountain the less the foliage is out.

On the way up the mountain, I’ve seen columbines, may apples, iris, jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium, blood root, soloman seal, and toadshade that covers acres of forest floor. Check these out:

               

This has been a great day, but my interest in my surroundings is greater than my sense of time. I am beginning to run out of daylight again. At least the rain has stopped. None-the-less, I’ll keep the “Tarp Under The Tent”.

Talk to you again tomorrow,

 

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Backpacks, blood root, Camping Gear, columbine, Coopers Gap, Hawk Mountain, Hickory Flats Cemetery, Hiking Gear, jack-in-the-pulpit, may apples, Sassafras Mountain, Scenery, soloman seal, Stover Creek, Three Forks Bridge, toadshade, trillium, Walkers Walk-Abouts, wild iris | Tagged , | 1 Comment

After My Nap

I woke up after a couple of hours of sleep, mainly because increased activity around the shelter. The rain had stopped, but the word of impending thunderstorms had spread in the hiking community. The shelter was full, and there had to be twenty campsites set up around the immediate area.

With the current population underway, I went exploring and found what everyone back home had worried about—-BEAR IN THE WOODS!!!!!

Can you see him???

How about now?

Not to worry, I was carrying my “Bear Spray”.

This encounter got me to looking for other varmints, and I found the following “Wood Spirits”:

    

I’m sure that all of this had something to do with all of the drugs (Ibuprofen) I had taken. I returned to the shelter.

Someone had built a campfire outside the shelter, and I found that I was surrounded by “Kids” in their twenties and thirties. There were a couple of older youths that looked to be in their early sixties, but they were keeping their distance.

Then the rain started again, this time accompanied by thunder and lightning. (I counted the time between the lightning flash and the thunder and found that the storm was ten or fifteen miles away) Everyone scattered back to their campsites.

        The fire went out so I climbed back into my corner and went to sleep,

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Backpacks, Canada Geese, Dumb Old Men, Hawk Mountain, Hiking Gear, Walkers Walk-Abouts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hawk Mountain

It rained last night. The tent worked well, kept the water out, away from my sleeping bag, and me. However, the blue tarp that I had under the tent, actually allowed the water that fell on it, along with leaf litter from the forest floor, to run under the edges of the tent and got my backpack, shoes, and everything else that was sitting on it soaked.

It’s really not a big deal, but a learning experience that taught me to keep the “Tarp under the rain-fly, and keep your gear warm and dry”.   (That is one of the dumbest things that I’ve said, but with senility you take what you get.)

I broke camp, and moved up the trail toward Hawk Mountain. It was only a couple of miles up the Trail, but the showers where continuing off and on, and my sprained knee was giving me some issues.

When I arrived at the shelter it was already after 1:00 PM so I fixed breakfast (It had been raining when I broke camp and I had decided to wait). A couple of hikers that had cell phone coverage came through and advised me that the weather report was calling for more rain, and there would be thunderstorms tonight.

With that in mind I decided to spread out my wet gear in the shelter and let it dry out a bit, stay in the shelter overnight, and just explore around the local shelter for the rest of the day.

Having made that executive decision, I staked out a claim to the corner of the shelter that is right behind the near wall you see in the picture, blew up my air mattress, spread out my sleeping bag (which was dry), as much of my other stuff as I could (which was not), took 3 Ibuprofen, and curled up for a nap.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that,

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Backpacks, Camping Gear, Hawk Mountain, Hiking Gear, Walkers Walk-Abouts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Stover Creek

I arrived at the Stover Creek Shelter at about 2:00 PM. Nobody was around, so I signed the “Trail Log” for this shelter with a message, and signed my new Trail Name, “SweetOleBob”.

The Trail runs along Stover Creek for about a mile and a half, but although you can hear the water running off to your right as you walk the Trail, you can’t see the creek. This is because there are huge Rhododendrons, Mountian Laurels, and Azaleas (Some of these are twenty feet tall.) growing around and over the trail making a total screen.

This Picture was taken from further down the Trail.

 Stover Creek eventually joins with Long Falls Creek and Chester Creek at the Three Forks Foot Bridge.

I refreshed my water supply for the evening meal here.

 I followed Long Falls Creek, up the side of Hawk Mountain with the intent of staying there for the night, and I was doing great until I came across this.

 and this 

and just a ways back in the woods found this.

This is Hickory Flats Cemetery

This was too much to ignore, so I spent over an hour exploring the area and as a result ran out of daylight. The result was that instead of getting to Hawk Mountain Shelter for the evening, I ended up sleeping out in the woods.

“Don’t Worry Lizzy, I got the Bear Spray”,

Posted in Amicalola Falls, Appalachian Trail, Backpacks, Camping Gear, Hawk Mountain, Hickory Flats Cemetery, Scenery, Stover Creek, Three Forks Bridge, Uncategorized, Walkers Walk-Abouts | Tagged | Leave a comment