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Georgia Wilderness Society
Appalachian Trail Hike 2012

Rock Gap to Wesser/Nantahala Outdoor Center
Well another 30 miles down for the AT trips. We set off
with 6 brave old souls. Curt, Irene, Joe, Everett,
Margaret (Old Girl) and me (Shirl,Old Girl). We started out
at Deep Gap, heading to Wesser, our first long 30 mile trip
in North Carolina. The weather was perfect all weekend, not
one drop of rain and no sweltering heat, just perfect.

Joe and I waited at Deep Gap while Margaret went to fetch
the other fellow hikers. While we waited, we ate the souper
douper sandwiches that Joe brought. About the time the
others arrived, we met two hikers that were going up to
Virginia, one guy was from Texas and the other was from
Winston Salem NC. While we were hiking, we met our first
Ginseng Hunter. He was nice enough to talk to us and showed
us some ginseng. He said that it cost $40.00 for a permit to
pick a lb. of the root and he could sell it for $250.00 a
lb. No wonder this root is sought after. I also know it is
beginning to be over harvested. That is why they have it
protected and you have to get permits.

We made it to our
first shelter at Siler Bald, after about 7 miles. We all set
up camp, ate and hit the sack...long day for some of us.
Friday morning-doing another 7 miles to the next shelter.

Trail was long and continuous up hills, but really nice
weather. Stayed at Wayah Shelter that night. We had a small
fire thanks to Curt and Irene. Hung up all the food, so I
thought, until the next morning and realized I had forgotten
Margaret's, and the mice let me know the mistake I made.
Realized that on section hiking you're allowed to make
mistakes, but if this were a through hike, could be a mistake
that could be bad if food was low and it took a while to
replenish. Section hiking is for learning. Friday night was
the last night of summer. You could hear the wind blowing
all night like it was pushing summer out of the way, to make
way for fall. Hard to sleep in all that wind, but next
morning fall arrived and ten miles were ahead of us.

Sat.- trying to get a head start on the day. Still only
ended up leaving 30 mins earlier and we had ten miles to go.
Weather still great...nice cool breeze, all the fall flowers
like golden rod, blue asters, New Jersey Tea were in bloom.

Met our first thru-hiker from PA. He talked to us for a
minute.  His trail name was Togo. Started in June, was headed
to Springer, fast hiker. He said he was a retired Navy Pilot
and schedule time for the trail, since he was now a self
employed contract pilot. One thing I would ask people on the 
trail was if they were thru-hikers, section hikers or day
hikers, also what they did before hiking that allowed them
to hike the trail. Some where self employed, out of
school (doing the trail before they got into the working
world), or work was slow, so they took time to live their
dream. Also that day I meet my first mushroom hunter. He was
out hunting Hen of the Woods mushrooms. Did ask him if he
was an old mushroom hunter or a
bold one. He stated he use to be bold but now he was just
an old one.

One thing I learned on the trail--you can ask
people, either hikers or locals, things and they don't mind
talking to you. The trail slows you down enough to let you
get to know people. Made it to our shelter, Wesser Bald.
Long day, one person on the hike said it would be a fairly
easy hike. No, it was long, continuous ups and rooty downs,
slow going, but we all did it.

Sun.- last day and only about 5-6 miles to go before we got
to Wesser and enjoyed our hamburgers and pizza and Sherpa
with coffee and cokes. Alot of beautiful scenery. Especially
at the Jump-Up. It was a climb, but sometimes the best
things you get to enjoy are the toughest. It was great being
as high as the birds. Something else I learned on the trail--
when you're out there, you try to get back to the basics of
life, you enjoy the simple pleasures around you. The people
you meet may come from different walks of life, but when
you're on the trail, you seem to all be the same, you're no
older than they are and no higher in society, you're just out 
there 'cause it's a dream you have when you are young or
older. You're just doing it. Hopefully you see it through or
at least can say, you tried.

Well, until next spring. Happy Trails. From Two Old Girls and thanks again for those that
come along even though we sometimes wonder why we do it.

Just like having a baby, after the pain is forgotten, you're at it again.