On Trail!

I’m currently sleeping in an unnamed gap, about a mile south of Lance Creek on the AT. Trail mile 22.6(ish). Today was a 14.5, yesterday I did a bit over 16.5 miles with the Approach Trail included. There is a ten mile section to the north, which requires hikers to carry bear canisters for overnight stays. Many hikers will edge up to the boundary, then hike across in the morning, making the camping at Lance Creek prime real estate. I stayed there in 2016, but to get a spot I had to roll in just after noon.

Rather than fuss with the crowd, I chose this gap, which has level ground enough for me and a potential neighbor.

I hung my bear bag using the PCT method per the advice of (Master) Splinter, a Ridge Runner who was teaching LNT methods to new hikers at Amicalol Falls. The Ridge Runners are employed by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy primarily as educators. They teach leave no trace to hikers, to limit damage to the trail. They are also veritable encyclopedias on their patrol route.

Gus once told me the exact spot where my phone would have service, three miles from where I met him. No bars, no bars, BAM! Three! He was spot on. Fifty feet to the left of Gooch Gap Shelter.

It was thanks to another Ridge Runner, Captain Planet, that I had some intel about the state of the crowd at Lance Creek today. She advised me to steer clear and aim for my present position. She loved my pink sparkly gaiters, and took a picture for her collection of things that make her happy. Don’t worry friends, you’ll see them in sunlit high resolution glory as well soon enough!

John sent me a picture of the snow he is dealing with in the Smokys right now. It’s hard to believe I’ll be up there in a couple of weeks. His hike seems to be going very well, though alas, no trail name yet. It’ll come in time, and I’m sure it will be quite epic!

He’s gotten plenty of trail magic so far, and with the weather he’s been through, I’m glad! A former thru hiker lady in her late 60’s gave me an interesting piece of trail magic. She pulled out a deck of cards, spread it out horizontally and asked me to take one “for luck.” I pulled this from the spread:

Good tidings indeed!

Tomorrow I’m going to try to hike all the way to Low Gap Shelter. It’s 20 miles away, and full of good memories. I have a small grocery list for the store at Neel’s Gap tomorrow, mainly more stove fuel and sunscreen. I took about two ounces of both, and it was quite an oversight. The sun is strong right now, and leafless trees offer no refuge. It’s not quite Spring in the mountains just yet. I did see a few violets, and this flower, which I do not know, but it reminds me of my mother.

At Neel’s I’ll be purchasing a few more snack items, maybe an extra dinner too. My first resupply box is 78 miles in (including the Approach Trail). I rolled out with a little over four days worth of food, and I think I’m going to run short.

I’m so happy to be back out here though. Happy to sleep in my posh “tiny house” again.

Every ounce of anxiety I had before trail disappeared when we pulled up to Amicalola Falls. I pretty much bounced and skipped my way to the arch.

And… The rain just started a day early. Take care friends!

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