[at-l] tick tock
AThiker at smithville.net
Wed Jan 4 18:13:28 CST 2012
New Year's Day was damp and chilly. Not raining. Not cold. Just damp and
chilly. I met two guys at Plumorchard Gap. We were talking about
football for some reason. I said "Hey, did Boomer (Esiaison) say 'No
shit' on the Monday night game?" One of the guys said "See, I told you"
to the other. Pittsburgh and I had watched the Monday night game
together and I was sure that he (Boomer) had said it. I got to Dick's Creek Gap
in mid-afternoon. I was trying to hitch to Hiawassee when a guy in a
truck pulled over. I was just about to the truck when he drove away. That was
one of the few times anyone was a true jerk to me in 5 months. I got a ride
and checked in at the jacuzzi-roomed Holiday Inn Express. A hot soak and steak
dinner later, my buddy Pittsburgh was there for more football watching.
The next day, 1/2/99, was horrible. It was raining or sleeting most of
the day. I had to get on my hands and knees and crawl across the summit of Tray
Mountain. I believe I was in Sassafras Gap when I took this picture
My eyelashes were covered in ice. I trudged on in the muck. I got to
Unicoi and was glad to find my buddy Pittsburgh there. I wasn't certain
he would be there. We went to Helen for more showers and pizza.
1/3/99...my dad's 57th birthday, was just cold and no rain. I cruised along
pretty good. I stopped at Blue Mt. Shelter and talked to three kids
from Alabama. for some reason I said "Ain't 'Got You Where I Want You' a great song?"
One of the kids said "Hey, I saw them in concert New Year's Eve." I thought that
was cool. The more we talked, the more I found out about them. I actually have met
their grandmother. She lives in Bloomington. Small world, of course.
I hiked on. When I got to Hogpen Gap parking lot, a man there asked me if I was
'going camping'. I said "Yup. Couple more days anyway." The Trail was covered in
chunks of ice for several miles through this stretch. I had this picture taken on
Cowrock Mtn (http://Felixhikes.tripod.com/AT/cowrock.jpg)
It was about 5:05 when I got to Neel's Gap. The store was closed. I looked in and
somebody came over and opened the door. There were three people inside counting
money and prepping the store for closing. They let me warm up and drink coffee.
It was FREEZING out. My beard thawed. They gave me a can of pop (which I never got
to drink because it froze). I started up Blood Mt. right at dusk. There were people,
and fires, all over the rocky summit of Blood Mt. I was listening to the Packers/Niners
game and the radio and didn't even stop at the shelter. Did I mention that it was cold?
I got to the shelter turn-off for Woodshole. I almost passed it because there wasn't a
sign for southbounders>:-| I walked for what seemed like miles down the blue-blaze.
I stopped two times and nearly turned around. When I got to the shelter, I was amazed to
find two other bodies inside. One was awake. We talked a bit as I was setting up for the
night. Did I mention it was freezing? I asked if they were just out for the weekend. The
guy I was talking to said "Naaah. We're thruhikers." "Northbounders?" I asked. "No."
"Who the hell are you?" I asked, thinking that all the southbounders ahead of me were long gone.
"I'm QP. That's Windbraker." "No F***ing way. I've been following you guys for 5 months."
We had a nice chat that night. I felt like they were my long-lost brothers. (I knew that they
weren't, however, because my long-lost brothers are both in prison) It got down to 5º or less that
night. 5º is cold.
Felix J. McGillicuddy
ALT '03 KT '03
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