[at-l] stop it, please...

Frank Looper nightwalker.at at gmail.com
Thu Dec 23 09:07:58 CST 2010


Don't ever stop, please. Thanks, little buddy.
On Dec 23, 2010 9:00 AM, "Felix J" <AThiker at smithville.net> wrote:
> Roaring Fork Shelter 12/23/98
>
> Sometime during my conversation with my psychologist shelter-mate
> he asked me what my plans for the next day were. I told him that I
> was probably going to Davenport Gap Shelter, which was where he'd
> started his section hike 3 days earlier. He said, confusedly, "That's
> 22 miles." I said "Yeah, I know". And it was at that moment that I
> realized that I had become a pretty good hiker. It is a wonderfully
> liberating feeling to know that you can hike 22 miles or more if you
> want to. and, that you don't really have to know it until you're doing
> it. I liked that.
>
> The next morning (12/23) he got up and left early. I talked to him from
the
> comfort of my sleeping bag. I finally got up and left at around 9ish.
> Almost the second I left the shelter it started drizzling. It was
> raining steadily by the time I started up Max Patch. The winds picked
> up, as usual. The Smokys were now clearly visible. Clearly visible in
> the sense that I could see that they were socked in. It was an
> incredible feeling to be looking at those mountains knowing that the
> next day I would be entering the Granddaddy of them all. As I climbed
> higher on the side of Max Patch, the winds and rains increased. Then, as
> I was 50 yards from what appears to be the summit, Brother Cain's "Fools
> Shine On" rockin' my head-setted world,"BEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!
> ERRRRR!!! ERRRRR!!!! ERRRRRRR!!!! This is a warning. The National
> Weather Service has issued a Severe Winter Storm Warning for all of
> Western Carolina and Eastern Tennessee." What a rush to be standing
> on Max Patch, looking at the Smokes, and hear that kind of weather report,
> while watching it get ready to happen. Incredible.
>
> I picked up the pace considerably after that. I stopped for a break at
> Groundhog Creek Shelter. I was freezing, wet. Again, my hands, fingers
> and arms couldn't work the way they're supposed to. I knew I was either
> staying there, or getting out of there soon. Too cold for standing
> around. I headed up Snowbird in a steady, heavy rain. I almost regretted
> leaving the shelter until I remembered that I could try to get to Mt.
> Moma's instead of Davenport Gap Shelter. "Hmmm, cheeseburgers" I
> thought. Cheeseburgers, indeed. I trudged on. It was a little after 4:00
> when I crossed under I-40. When I got back into the woods, the clouds
> and rhododendrons made it look much later. When I got to Davenport Gap,
> it was dark. I stood on the gravel road, cold rain falling, Smokys mere
> feet in front of me. "Felix" said the cheeseburger. "Yes?" I replied.
> "Go to the light, boy". As I walked down the muddy road, I could feel
> the magnificence of the Smokys to my right. I could smell them. It was
> wonderful.
>
> I walked what seemed like 6 hours in that rain and fog. It was only
> about 45 minutes, though. When I could finally see the lights of Mt.
> Moma's through the fog, I was happy. I walked in the door at 15 minutes
> 'til 6. Every eye in the place was on me. A long-haired, long-bearded,
> soaking wet hiker walks in an hour after dark? He's crazy. God, I love
> being crazy.
>
> "You got someplace where hikers stay?" I asked.
> "Well, there's the bunkhouse," a bewildered woman said with bewilderment.
> She said something to the man next to her and he left the room.
> "Go to the pink bunkhouse and I'll get you a plate of food."
> "How about one of those Texas Cheeseburgers" I thought. Well, I liked
> the thought of it so well that I said it, too.
> "The grille's closed. I'll get you a plate of food."
>
> I went outside to wander around the parking lot in the pea-soup fog and
> rain. I saw the bunkhouses, but couldn't tell which one was pink.
> Finally, the man who had left the room walked up with a flashlight and
> space heater and directed me to the pink bunkhouse. He told me to put on
> some dry cloths and come back inside and get my food. I did. I looked at
> the disposable cameras on the counter. I could not buy one. Luck was
> taunting me. It knew that I had $11. It knew that my 'room' was $10. It
> knew that Mt. Moma took no credit card. I took the single remaining
> dollar and bought a Pepsi. I took my Pepsi and a picnic basket of food
> with me back to the bunkhouse.
>
> I cuddled up next to that space heater and ate. Ham, sweet potatoes,
> dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and the best cupcake I've
> ever had. Easily, this was the most special Christmas Dinner of my life.
> It was in a room no bigger than 10X10. I sat on the floor. I ate alone.
> After dinner, I took a long, hot shower. Life was good. This night will
> remain as one of the most special nights of the hike, and my life.
>
> --
> Felix J. McGillicuddy
> ME-->GA '98
> "Your Move"
> ALT '03 KT '03
> http://Felixhikes.tripod.com/
>
>
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