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 28, 2015: Muskrat Creek to Carter Gap Shelter, 12.5 miles, 10:00am to 4:30pm.
No other footprints in the snowy woods told me I was the first hiker of the day to reach the peak of Standing Indian Mountain, a glorious and grassy summit with an other-worldly vista worthy of its reputation as “the Grandstand of the Southern Appalachians.” The summit is on a side trail (AT used to go right over the top) which is not clearly marked, so many people miss it. That’s so unfortunate.
I had Standing Indian to myself for a good half-hour before three other hikers showed up. Spread my lunch out in the sun and just sat and enjoyed the view from 5500 feet. Oh so nice. Jumbles of big mountains forever on the horizon.
A long and quite wonderful ridge walk followed after Standing Indian, and chugged along happily for hours, making good time and miles. Landed amid the rhododendron thickets at Carter Gap at around 4:30 quite pleased with my first entire day in the Nantahala National Forest of North Carolina.
Sun was still out big time and dried gear and warmed myself as I sat in a log and read and wrote some. Quite a contrast to this morning, when I recorded 20F at the ridge top campsite at Muskrat Creek. Ended up with just a dusting of snow left in the ground after all the wind blew through, but oh my was it cold. Kept sliding downslope in the tent. Guess my site was all that level after all. Slept but not that well. A bit in the cold side.
I lay in the bag determined not to move until the sun was up and over the campsite. Meantime I fired up the stove inside the tent (carefully of course) and cooked up coffee and cocoa and some oatmeal. Read some while waiting for the sun, which finally made its way overhead around 8:30. With cold hands and fingers, packed up the goods and took off, but until I’d had my latest start yet. No matter, I had all day and I didn’t care. One big mountain and 12 miles. No problem. Daylight till 8 anyway, why hurry.
To note, somebody at the shelter recorded 9F this morning. Whatever the real temp, it was cold.
Old log Carter Gap Shelter of 1977 days is gone. Spring in glen of rhododendron still same. Got some talkers here at the shelter. Blah blah blah. Bet they’re snorers too. It’s an ear plugs night.
Goodly number of hikers bailed on Chunky Gal Trail out to US 64 this morning. Cold weather enough for them. Dropping like flies.