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 10, 2015: Mt. Collins Shelter to Newfound Gap (US 441), 4.6 miles, 8:30 to 10:30am.
Heavy rain at dawn. No incentive to get out of the bag. Even though I did want to try and make the 10:30 shuttle from Newfound Gap.
Eventually got it together and headed out into what was now just showers. Trail out to the gap was not a straightforward descent. Why would it be. More than its share of ups and downs, including one pretty good climb. Finally began the last descent to the gap. Could here the road in the distance. Hadn’t really though I would make the shuttle, which meant hiking 5 miles in 2 hours, but it looked now that I would. The trail took its time winding along below the road before emerging at Newfound Gap.
Trail magic! Ham and cheese sandwich, chips and a Coke, courtesy of, damn I just packed their care and sent it home. Anyway, they were nice, husband and wife, husband was a former thru-hiker.
Turned out there was no shuttle. I would learn later when I got into town that the outfitter was not doing a shuttle. Who knew? Anyway, wasn’t hard to grab a ride the 15 miles down from two former thru’s.
Hit NOC Great Outpost and picked up my box, then walked to the motel. Took the interminable trolley ride to the far end of town to do laundry. Back again, a bunch of us went out for BBQ then a few brews.
Plan is to stay here an extra day to get some newspaper columns done, but I can already tell that decision was a big mistake. This town is nuts, a zoo, a freak show, Las Vegas without the casinos. A mass of humanity, cars, noise, crowds, amusements and attractions, tourist trap of the kind I just can’t stomach.
April 11, 2015: Gatlinburg, 0 miles.
Saw the other hikers off on their private shuttle around 9. That’s when I immediately got gripped by the lonelies. Bad move I’ve made, big mistake. This town blows and I don’t want to be here but I’ve got work to do. Miss my hiking pals and the longer I stay here lost in the crowd in this mad scene the more I miss my lovely wife.
To make things worse, the motel room I rented doesn’t even have a proper desk. So I went to McDonald’s to poach their internet, but that scene became intolerable and their WiFi sucked. Back to the hotel and made this night stand thing work. Got at least enough to feel good about wasting a day here.
Can’t wait to get out in the morning and get back on the trail. Catching group shuttle from Grand Prix Motel with other hikers at 9. See ya Gatlinburg, I can’t say I’ll hurry back.