[at-l] tick tock tick....

Felix J AThiker at smithville.net
Sat Dec 25 11:33:51 CST 2010

12/25/98  Tricorner Knob Shelter, Smoky Mountains NC

12 years ago this morning I woke up to find that the temps had
dropped drastically through the night. Into the lower 20s or less.
This was a good thing as the mud puddle in the middle of the shelter
floor had frozen and it was much easier to walk around in the shelter.
(The shelters in the Smokys have a 6'xSW walking area with 'SW'= shelter
width) It was also a good thing because there usually isn't much in the way
of clouds, or fog, when it's that cold. So, just after daybreak I headed
up a crunching, frozen Trail. I like crunching better than sloshing.
  The sky was actually clear above, and the valleys below were
full of the 'smoke' that is the namesake of these mountains. At one
point I saw what I thought were bobcat prints. I don't know if there are
bobcats here, or not. It could have been a fox. I don't know if there are
foxes here or not.

I made really good time this day. I was surprised to find the Trail
crowded from Icewater Spring to Newfound Gap. It was a beautiful day.
Mid-twenties and clear. I got to Mt. Collins shelter a little before 5.
That shelter is a beautiful place just before sunset on a crisp, cold
Christmas evening. The fire the two boys from Cincinnati had built was a
beautiful thing, too. I'll never forget the one who looked at me and
said "That fire'd cost you $8,000 if you bought the wood at a
convenience store." I laffed then. I laff now.

I had an enjoyable evening with these two guys. They didn't necessarily
practice some of the LNT techniques the way I'd have liked for them to.
But, they were harmless, overall. They gave me my first-ever (and, last)
drink of Jaegermeister. "Nyquil from the liquor store" I call it. They
also gave me hair-covered cheese and salami that I didn't want to eat...
but, couldn't throw away. In the dark, it all tastes the same. I smoked a cigar.

Felix J. McGillicuddy
ME-->GA '98
"Your Move"
ALT '03 KT '03

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