Saturday, October 18, 2014

Appalachian Trail–Tellico to Wayah Gap

Michael and I had been trying to get an AT trip in this fall but had to cancel once because the weather was not being cooperative.  However, on Wednesday the Weather Channel said that Thursday would be beautiful so we headed North to pick up the Appalachian Trail in the spot that Michael and Brian had ended on their last hike.

We were met at Wayah Gap by our shuttle driver, so we left our truck there and were driven to Tellico Gap to start our hike.

About two hours into the trip we finally conceded that the Weather Channel didn’t know what they were talking about as this was the only thing that we could see……

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It stayed cool and wet all during the day with the sun finally coming out at 5:00pm staying around for about 3 minutes!!!

We managed to have a great day of hiking anyway!!!

When we were waiting at Wayah gap there was a truck parked there with two hunters in the front seat and two dogs in the back of the truck.   Then as we started up the trail at Tellico, we met two more dogs, each with their radio GPS systems on their colors.   A bit further and we came on two more hunters with a dog.  When we asked, they told us that they were hunting bear and apparently there was some sort of race going on to see who could bag one first!!

About an hour later, we were met by a sweet dog who took a fancy to us and stayed with us as we walked.   He acted like he was hungry, so Michael finally fed him a handful of Cheese-Nips.   Then he REALLY stayed around!!!

After about 30 minutes, we could hear other dogs baying in the distance and his ears perked up and finally he took off down the mountain….

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We laughed thinking about the other dogs saying “Hey Ralph.  Why do you have Cheese-Nip breath?”!!

We were wondering if there would be any autumn leaves on the trees, but most had already fallen.  There were, however, some beautiful ones on the trail…..

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After walking 8.7 miles, we found a great campsite and started getting ready for the night…..DSC03503

After we got the tent up, Michael went out to find a good branch to hang the bear bag on and I started setting up our home for the evening.   Here I am using the “Insta-flator” to inflate our sleeping pads….

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Once we had our camp set up, Michael started boiling water to reconstitute our dinner for the evening……Chicken Vindaloo….DSC03516

It was yummy and even had a bit of spice to it!!   We figured that every bear in a 5 mile radius could smell it!!!

After dinner, we relaxed around camp.  Since our last trip, I had purchased a camp stool and found it to be really comfortable and MUCH better than sitting on the ground…..

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Michael’s clothes weren’t as warm as mine so he crawled into the sleeping bag…..

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We finally crawled in and closed the tent up about 7:30 and then read for a while before sleeping.   We both slept well and woke up a bit before daybreak.

Michael climbed out first, pulled down the bear bag so that we could get to our food out and started heating water for coffee and tea….

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He allowed me the luxury of having breakfast in bed…..

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It took us about an hour to break camp, load up our packs and hit the trail again, with beautiful sunny weather.

About 20 minutes later we came to the Wayah Gap Observation Tower….

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The tower was cool, but the views were magnificent……

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The low clouds looked like large bodies of water…..

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We continued up the trail, stopping once to filter some water and refill our water bottles…..

DSC03577 There were several cool trees and fungi that we photographed on the way….

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We happily completed the last 3.8 miles, arriving back at Wayah Gap at 11:45….DSC03611

This trip was a bit of a shakedown to see if we were going to be attempt the Himalaya trip that we want to do in May (remember….NO ONE mentions this to my Mom or to Michael’s Mom!!!!).

I didn’t have any trouble with my knees (even with a 20 pound pack) or with sleeping on the ground, so I think that we are ready to book the trip …..SSSOOOOO EXCITING!!!

3 comments:

Sylvia said...

Of course, the Himalayas will be at a *slightly* higher altitude... ;) Glad you had a nice hike; still want to ride in your suitcase!

Karen said...

This is a lovely way to spend a few days. Looks like the weather was kind on the second day. It is beautiful countryside.
Your plans for next year look like they are falling into place very nicely.

Maggi said...

I'm glad that the weather cleared for you on the second day as those views are stunning. Great too that your knees are holding up. I would think that recent events in the Himalayas are even more of a reason not to mention the trip to your mother!

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