Getting discouraged

•May 1, 2013 • 3 Comments

A couple of very tough days. With sore knees from climbing down to the Nantahala Outdoor Center, I climbed 6 miles and 3000′ out of it yesterday and a killer climb at the end of the day today. As I was struggling up it was the idea that “man, I have to climb something called ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ after I get up THIS bear of a climb, and my water is lower than I’d like for that. In the end , that was Jacob’s ladder- a trail up a very rounded and steep peak.

So, with another short day – saw more blooming trillium today than I’ve ever seen before and maybe a baby bear, maybe something else climbing a tree.

Oh – and trail magic at the highway – water, and apple, and a cookie from some women sitting at the picnic area waiting for their birder hubbies – one couple was from NH and come down here every spring.

Also got the first good look at the Smokies while I was up high. They are indeed higher and more intimidating.

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Rain, and some great views

•April 29, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I got stuck at the Aquone Hostel for two days because it was pouring buckets. Great Hostel to be stuck at! The food was good, accommodations
were great and it was very clean. Meatloaf one night porkchops the next – they .were both great.

So today I had about an 8 mile walk to the Nantahalla outdoor center. There were nice views on the way and I had a hiking partner for a while – Steve- I think I have a picture of him. It’s not often you’re at a great view with someone to shoot the pic.

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In a week or so, maybe I won’t need to overpack food

•April 25, 2013 • 1 Comment

It occurred to I’m still thinking in terms of 5-6 mile days. We did six miles up today – total climb of about a thousand feet though, so it was pretty easy. But we took the 11:00 shuttle put of town and started about 12:30. We can get in 12 mile days for two days to get to Nantahala Outdoor Ctr. I have five days of food. Ouch!

Tonight is going to be cold. I hope I’m warm enough!

Maps to follow along

•April 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

If anyone want to follow my walk with maps, rough ones are at http://appalachiantrail.com/maps.html

Trail legs – getting closer

•April 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’m starting to feel as though I might be getting them. It isn’t a matter of hiking faster. It’s really about getting up at first light and walking longer. There is almost an hour of extra light from when I started the trail now, so I’ve been getting up as soon as it is light enough to get camp stuff done. Today I was on the trail right after 8:00. There wasn’t too much uphill today – about 2.5 miles our of nine total, so I made good time to Winding Stair Gap. The “gaps” are really the mountain passes – the high point of the road, but the low point of the trail. It can be a ways into town – today it was about 13 miles to Franklin, which is why hotel owners run shuttles for hikers. Our shuttle driver today owns two hotels in town and shuttles hikers to Walmart, the post office and the outfitters. He corralled a hiker into loaning him a guitar and entertained us with a Johnny Cash tune. Pretty good, too. Supposed to be cool the next few days with some rain coming 3 days from now. I guess my rain gear will be tested. I don’t mind hiking when it’s in the forties. It’s way warmer than when I was training this winter!

Franklin, NC

•April 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Okay I’m going to try dictating. First many thanks to Marge Hallyburton and her husband John for giving me the opportunity to drive their car back down and for actually driving to Hiawassee and taking me right back to where I got off. I think they deserve the title of trail angels extraordinaire.

I was a little bit nervous about getting back on the trail. The first day I basically hiked the hike I did when I came off the trail which was basically from the gap that I got off him to Muskrat Creek shelter it was pretty chilly too and I was a little chilly but I wasn’t cold cold. If you recall the reason I got off the trail was that there was snow and ice on the trail and the next day’s hike was taking me up over 5000 feet over Standing Indian mountain. It was almost too warm to climate the day I climbed it!

So far I’ve had pretty good weather although it is supposed to rain tonight and when I was altitude today coming down into him winding stair gap the winds were picking up from the cold front moving in but I never did get any rain. II think it’s supposed to start tonight.

So the first day’s hike was about 6 miles yesterday I hiked 12 and that included a 5000 foot mountain it was a really tough climb in the afternoon. Oh the day before that I went from muskrat Creek shelter to a gap I’ve been looking for the name of it – Beech Gap. It was about 8 miles so I basically did six, eight, twelve and then today I did 9 miles into town. I feel good but I do have a blister on one toe and a hotspot on my the same foot.

Some pics from the last few days:

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Jet stream maps

•April 19, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Jet streams are rivers of air that separate northern and southern air masses. Weather systems and fronts do the same, but the jet stream does the same thing without a lot of the complexity of surface fronts. A common level of the atmosphere to look at the jet stream is 500 millibars, the point half way through the atmosphere.

Here’s the 500 mb map for March 20, the day Paula decided to come home until spring arrived in North Carolina.

500 mb map for March 20, 2013.

This shows cold air at the 500 mb level (about 15,000 feet) above the USA. On the GA/NC boundary, the air temperature there is about -22°C or -8°F. That should mean the ground level will be about 25°F, pretty cold!

Here it is for the day Paula went back to the south.

April 17, 2013 500 mb map.

While the kink in the west is part of a cold storm in the mountain states, it’s much warmer along the southern Appalachian Trail. Now the air over the GA/NC boundary is about 10°C warmer, 18°F, and far more comfortable on the ground.