[at-l] oh, brother...
AThiker at smithville.net
Tue Dec 20 18:13:46 CST 2011
(I think this is all pretty accurately editated)
12/15/98 Started out at Kincorra. The morning I
left, it was in the mid-teens temperature-wise.
I love listening to the
ground crunching underfoot. It was clear and
sunny. I took a quick snack
break at the tower on White Rocks. It was windy
and cold there. At some
point in the afternoon, I was trying to tune my
radio in and I happened
across Dick Estelle. It was the first time I'd
ever heard of him.
Whatever he was saying reminded me of the AT.
So, I listened. Yup, he
was reading Bryson's book. I listened to the
next 15 minutes or so.
The Kid (Groovin' Moose) caught me and hiked
through the DMZ with me.
He said he didn't want
me to hike through alone . Kids. Oddly enough, I
actually had two
conversations with locals in their yards.
Imagine that: Felix talking to
someone. Anyway, a little while later, I took
one of my 3 falls on the
trip. Thought I broke my wrist. I didn't. There
is a long valley/pasture
hike just north of US 19. Between the highway
and that graveyard the
Trail passes. The sun was setting as I crossed
the stile on top of the
hill. The orange of the sun was shining off the
windows of the ski
lodges on the distant mountains. It was reaaally
cool. And, beautiful.
It was way dark when I got to the road.
Dangerous place. Anyway,
Apple House was home that night. It seems like
something happened, but I can't remember what.
So, did it really happen?
Something to do with some people or kids walking
by, or something.
The next day (12/16) we hiked over Roan
Mountain. There was snow. It was cold. As I
hiked from Hughes Gap (is that where the sign
sez "Hickers", or
something?) I was listening to NPR. This is the
night that we started
bombing whoever it was we started bombing after
'impeached'. Was it Iraq again? I remember being
at Little Rock Knob and
seeing all the lights below, and listening to a
talking about bombs going off. We (The Kid and
I) stayed at Clyde Smith.
'twas a chilly one. That would turn out to be
our last night together.
Next morning 12/17 we hiked over snow-covered
Unaka and Beauty Spot. I took
his picture in a whiteout. Very cold and windy.
Later that evening,
somewhere between Curly Maple and the
Nolichucky, I saw my only racoon
of the hike. 2160 and I saw one racoon. I barely
saw him. He nearly
attacked me, without knowing I was there. It was
really scary for about
10 seconds...the 10 seconds he was a bear. I got
to town (Erwin) what I
think was a couple of hours after dark. Went in
to Johnnies to see
Groovin' Moose and someone else's pack. It was
Outta Chocolate. He was
doing some slacking/flip-flopping thing. A phone
call to Red, (and
twenty minutes of her bitching about me not
calling sooner...I WAS HIKING!!!), later and we
were eating Calzones somewhere. Had dinner with
Red, The Kid and
Outta Chocolate. I was able to spend some
valuable time with Shannon,
too. I was able to give her some guidance and
direction. That is always
nice. (What was the advice, Red? "Books, not
The next day 12/18 I left the hostel at about
headed up to No Business Knob. It would be the
last time I'd see Groovin'
Moose on the hike. He ended up staying in Erwin
another night. Next time I saw him was at the
Providence Airport in June of '99. I was pretty
much alone from this
point on. That was all right, as it meant I
didn't have to spend so much
time explaining what I said.
It snowed pretty hard the last 4 or 5 miles.
Very windy and cold. I
stayed at the shelter about 17 miles south of
Erwin. (NC Hilton? Condo?
Something. Bald Mtn.) That is where I met Hooper
and Toto. I had a blast
with those guys that night. Even though I never
saw either of them (they
were in tents 'upstairs'.) I was once again
suprised to be crossing paths
with northbounders. It got very cold and snowy
that night. I think the
snow seemed worse than it was, though.
December 19th, 1998. Miserable weather.
It warmed up enough to rain, and the snow of the
previous day had turned to slush.
It may have rained, or snowed, or drizzled every
step of this day. I remember
when I got to Sam's Gap, it was pouring pouring.
There was lots of traffic (I think it
was a Saturday.). As the traffic whizzed by, the
long tails of water
that followed them would, of course, hit me. It
didn't matter, I was
already soaked and cold. I finally made it
across the road, and up to
Hogback Ridge Shelter. It was good to get out of
the wind and rain for a
snack. That is where the announcement "Vote to
Impeach" came through my
headset. I had been listening to the NPR
broadcast of the stuffy
impeachment proceedings all morning. It
definitely helped to take my mind
off the ankle-deep slush I was trudging through.
I had a nice evening at Flint Mt. Shelter. I saw
one of my 3 mice of the
entire trip here. I wrote a lot that night, for
some reason. I wrote an
article for the local paper "Photosynthesis: How
to use it for good".
(That may have been something else) Actually, I
did write an "Update
from the Trail" for the local rag. Flint Mt. is
a nice shelter, I'd say.
After I left Flint Mt. Shelter, I did the climb
up to Big Butt.
Somewhere in there was something nearly as
strange as the 'Z' in the
sky: An older model Chevy Blazer sitting in the
middle of the Trail.
This was not on one of the many 'roads'
(railroad grade or old logging
roads) that are prevalent in the area. This was
single-width AT. It was easily 1/2 a mile (Hmmm,
5 tenths), and probably
much more, from the nearest 'road' (the dirt
road near the Shelton
Monuments). The engine was still hot, and was
popping and cracking as it
cooled. It caused a very uneasy feeling in me,
as I didn't want to be
around if someone returned 'to the scene'. I did
a quick look inside to
make sure that no one was inside and hurt. The
window was open where
someone climbed out. Creepy.
I went out to the view at Blackstack Cliffs.
They had been socked in
when I hiked this section the first time. Later,
I saw a bear hunter
with an antenna about the same size as the one
on my house. He was a
nice guy, I guess. I gave him M&Ms and Cheetos.
This was at Laurel (?)
Shelter (Little Laurel?). Somewhere between Old
Hayesville Road and
Allen Gap, I found two bottles of Coke(the
beverage). I drank one with a
snack at Allen Gap. I saw a guy litter. I hate
litterers. I really do. I
made it up on top the mountain that Spring
Mountain Shelter is on. I
can't think of the name of it. There was a nice
Sunset that evening.
(Why did I capitalize 'Sunset'? I'll never know)
Spring Mountain Shelter
had the loudest mouse I encountered on the hike.
I never saw him. He was
between two layers of tin (I guess) roofing.
Every move, every chew,
everything he did resonated through the whole
crack the roof with my fist and he'd quiet down
for about 40 seconds. He
drove me insane, I tell you. Insane. I was glad
that I had the viles of
Coke. I slept on the right side of the shelter
looking in. Seems like
something funny happened that night, but I can't
Something to do with alien spacecraft...I don't
Felix J. Navidad
ALT '03 KT '03
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the at-l