An Appalachian Birthday

I played some birthday hookie last Tuesday and joined a friend (ex-pro-mountain biker turned competitive disc golfer turned hiking fanatic Hoff) for an epic day hike on the AT. We dropped the car at the NOC and grabbed a shuttle ride up to Stecoah Gap, where we would begin our 13.5 mile hike back to the car. (still trying to get the elevation change – definitely hefty, judging from how sore I was the next few days!)

Even though it was mid-May in the south, it was a bit chilly higher up, esp with the fog & mist making everything damp. During our lunch stop at Sassafras Gap Shelter, I actually had on 4 layers up top – a Patagonia Runshade shirt & 9 Trails Jacket, TNF TK100 fleece, and a Precip rain jacket. and still shivered! Having a hot meal was delightful – a big thumbs up for the Moosilauke Goulash (although seriously, is all that sodium needed?) While the clouds hid any sort of view most of the time, it made our surroundings lush – with all the birds singing constantly (that’s really the only wildlife we saw, much to Hoff’s dismay), it felt like we were in a rainforest (albeit a cold one). A little gorillas in the mist-ish…

It was early enough in the year that we encountered many thru hikers on their way north (our route was south). Definitely cool (& inspiring) to hear their stories! In hindsight, I should have asked if any were blogging their journeys – would have been neat to kept up with them. I’m not sure if I’m cut out to be on the trail that long… but I wouldn’t mind trying it out for a week or two sometime.

Once back at the car, we indulged in the NOC’s 25¢/minute for hot showers. What luxury! Then dove into the carrot cake I had stashed – my fav! Overall, the day was almost as perfect as it could be (without having my other half around ;) ).

More pics here.


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