Shoe’s April AT hike 2010

Late Trip Report from April – Part 1

by shoe


The first week of April brought a week long trip with my friend from North Carolina Sweet Pea. It was kind of a strange trip in that we did Dick’s Creek Gap to Winding Stair Gap then flipped and did Springer to Woody Gap. For a total of about 60 miles.

This won’t be an extensive trip report for no reason other than I don’t feel like writing alot about it right now. :) When I find my journals I will write more.

Day 1: April 5th – Dick’s Creek Gap to Bly Gap – 9 miles

Tough day overall. Alot of longish uphill walking.Ran into a super snobby thru hiker. When she found out we weren’t thrus she turned her nose and kept walking. Later when I got the Bly Gap she informed me that we could camp up top (away from where she was I am sure). I bet she’s off the trail now. Camped on the upper portion near the “famous” tree. Great view of the stars.

Day 2: April 6th – Bly Gap to Standing Indian Mountain – 9.2 miles
This was an awesome day for me. This was the strongest I have ever felt while hiking. Even the last climb of the day didn’t put me in a mood. I guess working out can make a difference. Camping atop Standing Indian has so far been my favorite place. The sky was clear, a beautiful sunset and then the stars came out. What else could one ask for? Except for maybe a closer water source.

Day 3: April 7th – Standing Indian to campsite before Albert Mountain – 11.8ish miles

Another great day. At first I didn’t thinnk North Carolina wanted us to visit. The trail was actually quite steep for the first part of they day. The NC decides that “hey, you’re ok” and gives us the most amazing trail ever. Nice, without alot of up and downs. Our friend Kellye met us at Mooney Gap and brought us trail magic. Oranges and Reese’s and ice cold Diet Coke.

Day 4: April 8th – Albert to Winding Stair – 10.2 miles
Otherwise known as the day of the torential downpour. We made it up to the top of Albert without any rain but no views from the top. This was my second time with no view. We made it to Big Spring Shelter and took a break and the rain just let loose. We hung around trying to wait for the rain to stop but no such luck. So we had to hike about 9 miles in the pouring rain. There goes my record of never having to have hiked in any major rain. I think we made it the 9 miles in about 3 hours. I ain’t ever hiked that fast in my life.

We stayed at Kellye’s place this night and washed our gear and ate at Longhorn’s and played Wii Fit (which is the most hilarious thing ever). And decided to hike Springer to Woody since SweetPea had never hiked that section

TD Backpacking- November 2009

This is a trip report from the Trail Dames fall backpacking trip written by our own SHOE.  Thanks, Melissa!!

Backpacking 2009

Finally…. back out in the woods. Starting back to work has really put a cramp into my hiking. But I finally made it out there.
We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to hike. Not a cloud in site. Beautiful 60 degree weather during the day. Amazing.

We started at Tray Gap and ended up at Dick’s Creek Gap… a total of 12.2 miles. We camped at Addis Gap which was a perfect spot for our rather large group. There ended up being 18 and 1/2 at the gap. Jen from Mountain Crossings joined us with some of her family and there was a 6 month old in the group. That’s where the 1/2 comes in.

One of the coolest things of the trip was watching Jen cook steak over an open fire. I keep thinking that I can eat better while out in the woods. How much better can you get than steak and fresh veggies. I’ll be car camping in the Smokies soon and you can bet that I will be practicing in a controlled environment.

One of the most challenging parts of the trip was carrying extra weight. One of the hikers was carrying too much weight so I chose to help her out. I bet I was carrying almost 10 pounds extra which was pretty tough considerning my friend Crystal ran off with my lunch. I learned later that Buddy the wonder dog got eat it. NOTE: Always carry my own food.


SHOE’s Hike in the Smokies- Day 3

Smokies ~ Day 3 (08/17/09) Little River Trail

by shoe

Surprisingly I slept pretty well for being on a slant. I think it was close to 8:00 before I rolled out of the tent. I felt blessed that it was not raining when I woke up so that I could get everything packed up. It was already going to be a mess to get all the wet gear packed up, the last think I needed was rain.

We got started at 9:20. We decided to start hiking in our camp shoes since we had several stream crossings right at the start. We ended up hiking about 2 miles in them before donning our boots. But within my first 5 steps I found my self going into the splits while trying to get down to the first water crossing. What a way to start the day.

It was a nice walk back to the car. The trail was mostly wide and well graded. It looked like it used to be an old road. And the trail meandered next to Little River which gave us sights and sounds to walk to.

All and all it was a great hike for a total of  15.6 miles. I knocked off 2 more trails on my Smokies list. The Little River Trail and Rough Creek Trail. And 4.8 miles of the Sugarland Mountain Trail.

We saw a bear on the side of Clingman’s Dome Road on the way back to my car.

Shoe’s Hike in The Smokies- Day 2

Smokies ~ Day 2 (08/15/09) Sugarland Mountain, Rough Creek, Little River Trails

by shoe

While we awoke pretty early to start hiking we didn’t get started hiking until around 10:30 since we had to do the car drop thing. We also had to run by the back country office at Sugarlands Visitor Center since I left the reservation information at home (turns out I didn’t need the #).

We finally made it back up to Clingman’s Dome Road to park our car at the Fork Ridge Trail  area. We had a short walk on the Appalachian Trail before we hit the Sugarland Mountain Trail. The elevation for this entire hike was mostly downhill. This doesn’t necessarily make a hike any easier. It may be easier on the lungs but it can be harder on the body.

The trail seemed out to get me right from the get go. The trail was kind of rough with alot of rocks and roots. Well I stepped on a root an lost my balance because it was wet. I didn’t fall but I felt something in the side of my knee feel wierd. It went away after a couple of minutes. All along the trail I was tripping on rocks, some parts of the trail were hard to see because of overgrown grass. It sure it made it alot more challenging than I thought it would be. We did 4.8 miles on this trail before connecting with the Rough Creek Trail.

We finally made it to the Rough Creek trail crossing. We opted to take lunch break here since the profile in The Little Brown book showed this as being a fairly steep descent. It was such a nice spot that I layed back and raised my feet up. I probably could have taken a nap.

Rough Creek Trail actually turned out to be a nice trail. The descent was much milder than the book let it own to be. It started raining a bit while we were walking so we put our pack covers on. It wasn’t enough rain to get us wet but who wants to rush in the even that a down pour occurs.

We made it the 2.8 miles on Rough Creek Trail to the Little River Trail. Only 1.8 miles to Camsite #30 for the night. We had a bit of an elevation gain on this but it was pretty gradual. The bigger challenge would be the stream crossings that the book talked about.

Well we finally make our way up the trail and hit the 1st of the 3 crossings. Sweet Pea made it across fine. I kind of slipped on the first rock and was quite nervous. I kept walking on the rock trying to figure out my strategy. I finally said to heck with it and took my boots off and put my Crocs on. While I was trying to kick my boot off with my other foot I realized that I had really hurt something in my knee, from that earlier slip in the day. I figured I could hike about a half a mile in my crocs since we had 2 other crossings. The second one was nothing but the third one was. Sweet Pea even put her crocs on. It was quite the adventure. Kind of reminded me of Maine but not as big.

Campsite #30…..we finally made it.

We picked a secluded spot through a little rhododenron tunnel. It had a place for a tent and her hammock. We proceeded to set up our home for the night and it started raining. I quickly stowed my stuff inside the tent. It quit shortly so we were able to cook dinner then it started raining again…sigh. I ate my dinner in my tent being very careful not to spill anything. Ramen with Babybel cheese melted into it. And dark chocolate cheesecake by Backpacker’s Pantry for desert. It finally stopped raining again so we packed up all our smelly stuff to hang on the bear cables.

A couple arrived around this time. They were setting their stuff up as we chatted with them for a minute when it started pouring down rain. I tried to run to my tent but that wasn’t happening. I could really feel my knee when I did that. I made it and zipped my fly shut. Layed back and relaxed listening to the rain. I look out my tent and realize there is a pond forming at the base of my tent. You have got be kidding me. I sat in my tent pondering what to do. I had water pooling under my tent. I finally dragged myself out of the tent to move it….I look around….the whole site is a freaking pond….I had about 2 feet I could my tent back to get it out of the pond. Which meant I was at an angle all night. I hate the combination of tents and rain…and the mess that goes with it.

SHOE’s Weekend in the Smokies

A weekend in the Smokies ~ Day 1 (08/14/09)

by shoe

The following is an excerpt from fellow Dame SHOE’s recent hike.  I hope you enjoy it!!

deerMe and Sweet Pea spent another weekend wandering around in the Smokies.

We met up at the park on Friday night at the Smokemount Campground. It was definitely cheaper than staying in the hotel room. I made it to the park and was worried…as I was driving into the park from the Cherokee NC side there was a flashing sign that said Little River was closed. This wasn’t a good thing as our get out point where the 2nd car was to be was to be at Elkmont off of Little River Road. I went into the visitor center and they called and assured me that we would be able to make it to Elkmont. So all was good.

I headed on down the way and there was a huge traffic jam. I figured it was some kind of wildlife ans I was right. On the left side of the road in a field was a whole bunch of elk. I pulled over like all the other tourists and got out to take pictures. I was really amazed at some of the people. One lady was dragging her young children closer and closer to the elk. I bet she was no more than 20 feet from them. Crazy crazy if you ask me.

SHOE (Slowest HIker On Earth)