Carey Kish is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a distance of 2,200 miles over a period of 5-6 months. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here (read them all). You can also follow his journey on his Facebook page.
April 20, 2015: Little Laurel Shelter to Flint Mountain Shelter, 13.6 miles, 9:45am to 5:45pm.
Rained in waves overnight. So good to hear it pounding on the roof of the shelter, and so good to be snug inside warm as toast. Sleeping bag was pretty wet when I rolled it out yesterday afternoon upon arrival, but a night’s body heat pretty much did the trick.
Woke just long enough at dawn to see the forest and the sky glowing orange. Fell back asleep and woke again around 7ish to dark skies and soon enough, a deluge of rain, which continued for a good hour. That being the case, I was in no hurry to leave the bag, so I didn’t. By 8:30 the wether picture was looking up, so I got up and packed. But it waning until after 9:30 when I finally struck off.
Healthy climb up Camp Creek Bald, which topped out at 4750 feet. Warm sun, slight breeze made the hike up a good one. Took side trail up to top, so not worth it. Complex of comm towers up there and a cruddy old fire tower with not much of a view.
Trail ahead was pretty, a long ridge walk through with several good cliff outlooks. Very wet in spots where the rhododendrons were thick. Ahead, the old AT was blazed blue as a bad weather trail, while the relatively new AT re-lo threaded a rugged path along the craggy ridge line with marble outcrops. Finally it climbed above the thinning forest cover and out upon a narrow crag. Trail continued up and down along this for a strenuous while. Nice views in every direction. Loved it.
Walk continued on undulating trail to Jerry’s Cabin Shelter, where I had lunch and filled up at the spring. Some dumb ass hiker left a full ziplock of trash on the floor of the shelter, with more garbage in the inside fireplace and in the pit outside. Pigs.
Big Butt Mountain (I just love that name!) lay ahead. Nice switchbacked hike up to the long pasture on its south ridge. Wonderful view back to Camp Creek Bald. One of my favorite places of all so far. Wound up to the true summit, then down north side and a brand now relocation some four miles long. New section was beautiful and wonderfully graded. Wound around and around the mountainsides. Great walking, quite carefree, in perfect weather. Re-lo added about a mile to the day, but was totally worth it. Paralleled the old trail route to a great degree, which followed an old forest road in a rolling course over the peaks.
Wonders now if this new trail would miss the Shelton gravesite, figured it probably would. But lo and behold, I came upon a side trail that led to the ridge top, the old road and former trail and the gravesite. A wave of nostalgia came over me as I looked around the spot and to the old white blazes.
The re-lo eventually merged with the old route, then dropped steeply to Flint Gap. What goes down must go up, and it was one finally up to the shelter for the night, a reasonable one. Just. 100 yards before the shelter – unbelievably – the skies turned dark and then opened up. I sprinted to the shelter and grabbed an empty space. Let it rain baby, and it did.
Shelton brothers grave site. Carey Kish photo.
We’re squeezed in here now, but it’s good. Rain looks to have passed for good for the night, and it’s getting notice lay cooler now at 7:30. A fire is burning out front and I think I’ll go stand in front of it for a bit before returning to the bag and the book.
Had good cell service on top of Big Butt, so called ahead to Johnny’s Hostel just outside of Erwin TN and booked a bunk for two nights, this Thurs and Fri. Three days and I’m there. Weather is supposed to be real nice thru then. Hoping for a good show over Big Bald.