[at-l] 90 PG, excerpts for Hot Springs to Damascus

RockDancer rockdancer97 at comcast.net
Sun Mar 18 12:31:06 CDT 2012

(I was a bit surprised at the abundance of warnings for this section. I
guess I’ve known since the ‘90s that this was the area of most concern. In
some guidebooks it was recommended that hikers not hike alone, but team up
for this portion. In ’97 we heard that fish hooks were suspended from tree
branches somewhere along here, to snag & injure hikers. Section hikers are
still being warned about leaving cars at certain trailside parking spots,
but overall there’s been a tremendous improvement in hiker-local realtions.


Section II – Hot Spring to Damascus

II-1. Lover’s Leap relocation is underway and the work should be completed
in late 90, in time for southbounders. “Blasting and Pionjar rock drills are
being used” and the ATC Volunteer crew were here for 4 weeks in 89. (Seen
most recently in 2007, beautiful trailwork. –rockdancer)


II-3. The memorial marker just north of Hurricane Gap was placed in ‘83 to
mark Rex Pulford’s death on a thruhike attempt. He was Dorothy Hansen’s
father. (from Walasi-Yi)


II-4. Allen Gap is “an occasional hangout for rough-looking beer-drinking
men (not to be confused with some Thru-Hikers); be cautious. No incidents
reported in 89.


II-7. Sam Waddle is caretaking Jerry Cabin with a sense of humor. In winter
he has plastic over the front of shelter and cuts wood for the fire. (There
was also a wall light switch, a telephone & mailbox here. –rockdancer)


II-9. Flint Mountain Shelter (The Phoenix for those that know its troubled
history) newly built in memory of Matt Sperling
 Slight problem with trail
bikes and ORVs in this area and close to this shelter. Please don’t “fan the
flames” by writing derogatory remarks about locals in the register (yep,
they read it.) (I’m not sure what “The Phoenix” means, perhaps the shelter
was repeatedly burned down & rose from the ashes? –rockdancer)


II-10. Only 1 report of minor trouble with locals at Devil Fork Gap area in
89. Reportedly a good idea to stay clear of Flag Pond TN, 7 miles West.


II – 11. The relo (between Devil Fork Gap and Boone Cove) avoids most of the
road walk, thereby avoiding the pack of dogs that had been terrifying
Thru-Hikers for years.


II-13. Sams Gap: The plan is to bring I-181 through here (Now called I-26.
–rockdancer). ATC and CMC are negotiating for a pedestrian bridge. The empty
buildings at the gap which for many years have been used by hikers as
shelters are posted. “No Trespassing”. Do not stay in them.

b. (At Sams Gap, 3 miles east – Little Creek Café for highly rated
breakfast, cheeseburgers and excellent homemade pies such as cherry cream.


II-17. Due to a replacement of the Chestoa Bridge over the Nolichucky River,
‘90 hikers have a detour that takes them towards Erwin, to the Love Highway,
across the river and then meet up with the AT near Nolichucky Expeditions.


II-21. Trail between Beauty Spot and Deep Gap can be nearly impassable in
summer due to heavy growth of briars. Consider detour using USFS 230.


II-22. Cherry Gap shelter, the privy has been used for firewood, basically
now only a hole in the ground. Even burned the toilet seat. This shelter is
being negatively impacted by heavy local use.


II-26. The piped water on Roan Mountain was turned on in 87 after being
turned off for several years due to contamination by the Lindane spray that
has been used to kill the balsam woolly aphids. The spraying program has
been halted, however, because of a rare endangered flying squirrel. 


II-28. ATC Volunteer crews have cleared Grassy Ridge and Round Bald in 89 of
blackberries and nonindigenous growth that is choking the views. Morgan
Sommerville urges hikers to help the crew for the day in exchange for free


II-33. An 89 hiker walking along US19E was hit in the chest by full can of
beer thrown by passing car of “unfriendlys”. From US19E to White Rocks, back
in the late 1970’s, four women hikers were physically abused while they
camped in a field along the former roadwalk. The men, who were drunk, got
their trucks stuck in the muddy field and were quickly apprehended.


II-37. A relocation of the AT off Dennis Cove Road starts .5 mile before
Coon Den Falls and ends 100 yds south of Laurel Fork Gorge parking area.
(I’m not sure if this means that Coon Den Falls was once on the AT.


II-40. The AT heading up the ridge out of Laurel Fork Gorge ascends Pond
Mountain. If you like pointless climbs, you’re going to love this one. TEHC
has begun construction of a relocation “to provide a shorter route across
the infamous Pond Mountain.” (I wonder if this construction ever occurred?


II-43. Vanderventer Shelter: Sad episode in the 1970s involving a lone
female hiker and a deranged man. Ask around, all the locals know the story.


II-45. Damascus, VA: Shorty, the cobbler, does good work on short notice and
reasonable prices. Mr. Grindstaff, former postmaster, still involved with
the hostel. Library lets each Thru-Hiker take one paperback book with them
for the trail. Dink Shackleford is the town manager, easy to spot, he rides
a Harley with his wheelchair in the side-car.




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