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. You can also follow his journey on Facebook.
March 29, 2015: Carter Gap Shelter to Rock Gap Shelter, 12.1 miles, 9:45am to 3:45pm.
Scribbled on one of the crossbeams of the Albert Mountain fire tower is “AT 100 mi.” Now 100 miles in the larger scheme of 2,200 miles isn’t much, but I’ll take it. Add the 9 miles from Amicalola to Springer and I like it even more. Seems like a lot of ground to have covered in a fairly short period. All good.
Even better is the view from the cab and deck of the tower on Albert Mtn, which tops out at 5,250 feet and yields a stunning 360-degree view, from deep into Georgia to Standing Indian to the Stecoahs to the Smokies to what I think is Mt. Mitchell. Pretty sweet indeed. Two days in a row for two nice lunch spots.
The climb up to Albert hasn’t change nary at all over these many years. From Mooney Gap to the base of the summit cone you’ve got that wild rising traverse along the very rugged face of the mountain. Hard to believe anybody would put a trail through there, or could. Then the last 0.3 miles of brutally steep clawing to gain the tower. Everybody talks about it and worries about it but yeah it’s tough but it’s short and over before you know it. And like I said, the whole affair is worth the effort.
Beyond Albert was a terrific afternoon of walking, my favorite roundabout Southern Appalachian Mountains kind of trail that I could wander mindlessly and happily forever. The day was beautiful and I was feeling oh so good. Rock Gap Shelter is the stop for the night. Sets me up for a shortish morning out to Winding Stair Gap in time for the 11am shuttle into Franklin, where I’m holing up for the night. Cheap motel, laundry, outfitter, eats and drinks. Yeah.
Several interesting events today…
Fairly soon after leaving Carter Gap this morning I came to a short side trail leading to a rock outcrop and a nice view. As I was about to step out on the rock to take a photo I was startled by a man squatting in the bushes just below and to my left. He was clearly taking a dump. Now, there are so many things wrong with this picture already, wouldn’t you say?
I thought for a moment and unable to hold back I nicely asked, “can I assume that you’re depositing that turd into a properly dug hole?” Why yes, of course, was the reply, if a bit uneven.
I stepped up to the view, and meanwhile, the viewpoint pooper packed things up and disappeared. I snapped a photo and departed, declining to soften my stomach with a look over to the crevice by the bushes. I knew what I would find anyway. Proper hole or not, what kind of a jerk craps at a view point. Good good, there’s millions of acres out here!
Later in the afternoon as I was merrily wandering along I stopped at a gap, there looking to be a view a few yards up to my right. I walked up and there at my feet was a smoldering campfire, the blustery wind fanning it and whisking off a few wafts of smoke. WTF? I bent down and put my hand close to the top of the coals and lo and behold, they were very warm. Someone had been here not too long ago and left the damn fire burning. Can you say I-D-I-O-T? I knew you could. And I said it out loud.
I took a good pee on the coals and stirred them up. Then I emptied my hydration bladder on the damn thing and stirred some more and spread around some. With nothing more I could do and fairly certain I’d taken care of the threat, I moved on. I can’t remember the last time I found a smoldering campfire in the woods. Been years. Damn.
Last, in the annoyance department, I’m sitting on the edge of the shelter kind of enjoying the moment. So are a few others. Light chatter going on. Then this clown decides to make a phone call no less than a dozen few in front of and up the slope from the shelter. It’s an amphitheater here now and I’m in the audience. Getting louder as the minuted ticked off, and less than excited about the voluminous details of the call, I waved politely at the guy.
I got the hand. The hand, folks, the hand. But alas, I didn’t have it in me to pelt the bonehead with a rock or two. This is on top of the incident last night whereby a hiker had his phone on speaker and had a conversation just steps from the shelter at sundown while the rest of us were in our bags.
If only there was an open season…