[at-l] Sistine

rcli4 at comcast.net rcli4 at comcast.net
Wed Dec 24 14:40:07 CST 2014

where is the duck soup?  I like duck soup. 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Felix J" <athiker at smithville.net> 
To: "at-l" <AT-L at backcountry.net> 
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 7:36:05 AM 
Subject: [at-l] Sistine 

Roaring Fork Shelter 

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, 
ERRRRR!!! ERRRRR!!!! ERRRRRRR!!!! This is a warning. The 
Weather Service has issued a Severe Winter Storm Warning for 
all of 
Western Carolina and Eastern Tennessee." I could not have 
been more Western Carolinaed and Eastern Tennesseed than I 
was, as I was standing on the state line. What a rush to be 
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 
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 
"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 

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, 
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 the silent room. 
"Well, there's the bunkhouse," a bewildered woman said with 
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 
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 
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 
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 

(Disclaimer: This is not open for comparison with anyone's 
girlfriend and his/her hike. This is just about my hike, 
which was very special to me....whether it was to anyone 
else, or not. Duck soup.) 

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

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