April 1 - Rock Gap

We are off to Rock Gap shelter, a bit more than eight miles away. Had a smattering of rain and wake at 5:30.  Sleep was good, but won't return, so get up 6:30. Food is getting low, so skip my usual oatmeal, nosh on a tortilla with peanut butter and cranberries, and get started.

Wearing a rain slicker since the pre-dawn sky is dark, but no more rain comes. The trail eases upwards gradually as I head toward Albert Mountain, which rises several hundred feet in 0.3 miles and is two miles away. Today's path at points is narrow, rocky and rooty, and if you look down to your right you realize that absent a few small trees if you fall it's sheer rock for a hundred feet or more.

As I near the mountain's peak can see it has a fire tower, visible through the still bare trees.

At the base, begin climb near a roadway heading up as well, but then the paths diverge and am left to face a steep incline of rock. There are some stairs, and other sections crawling up rock, or grabbing on to small trees to provide assistance while pulling yourself up. This is the steepest part of the AT to this point.

It took me 18 minutes to get to the peak, and Katie, Joey, Jeep and one other are there already. Climbed up tower 2/3s of the way to take in the amazing view.

Stayed around for a few, then continued toward Long Branch shelter, which is new, for lunch. Find the shelter itself is too far off trail, so sat by a stream nearby and snacked on tortilla and hummus, trail mix, plus more cranberries. Not having enough good food starting to impact performance during remainder of hike. Definitely slowing down as hike wears on.

First to arrive at Rock Gap shelter, and who comes up 20 minutes later but Trudger. Achin follows about another 20 minutes, and the shelter fills up by 4.

The night is probably the first night with a "bad" snorer.  Trail etiquette is if you snore, you should avoid shelters (so others can sleep). I'll let this topic rest for later.

Up tomorrow with Achin and Trudger to take shuttle for Franklin, NC with Trudger, dealing with injuries, sadly talking about stopping.


  1. Breathe Right strips should be available at all shelters, sounds like. UGH!

  2. Off topic, but this is the only way I know how to say...Happy Birthday, cuz!!


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