Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Appalachian Trail

I love the outdoors and I love to camp, so when my son transitioned from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts last month and they told us that the next planned trip for the Boys was a Backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail I was all in. I spent a ton of money getting the required gear for the trip and I borrowed the rest.

ApTrail going in

We hit the trial at Spivey Gap near Erwin Tennesse around 1:30 Saturday afternoon. As you can see on the following picture, we are at 3252 feet above sea level, it is 4.7 miles to our campsite which is at 5000 some odd feet. The total trip to the Nolichucky River will be 11 miles.

ApTrail the begining

While I carried about a 30 pound backpack my son Davey here had a nearly 20 pount sack himself. Other than blistered heals from less than perfect boots he didn't complain about that one time.

ApTrail Davey

See that mountain sticking up there in the middle? That's about where camp is. Only 4 miles to go.

ApTrail destination

Borrowed backpack and tent loaded with all the goodies I picked up for the trip I made my way up the trail along with 11 other adults and 17 Boy Scouts.

ApTrail me

Once at the top we pitched our tents and it was time for supper. Military MRE's were the night's meals.

ApTrail camp at 5500

The scenery from the top was nothing short of spectacular. This was just one of many breathtaking views.

ApTrail up high

Sunday morning and it's time to make the trek down the mountain.

"How far do we have to go?", must have been my son's thought at this instance.

ApTrail how far

This was the view after hiking for two hours toward our destination. See that bridge crossing the river in the lower central part of the picture? That's where we are going.

ApTrail the bridge

So we kept going and going and going. We kept getting passed by the Thru-Hikers who were on their trek from Georgia to Maine, hiking the whole trail start to finish. Thats more than 2,000 miles. They were going to be on the trail for 6 months.

It took is from 9:30 am until about 12:40pm to make it the 5-point-something miles to the bottom.

ApTrail following

But the views on the way down made it well worth it. This is about 1500 feet above the Nolichucky River.

ApTrail don't look down

The trail to the bottom followed the ridge of this mountain from the right side of the picture to the left, going down all the way to the bottom.

ApTrail Mountain

The End!!! Davey and I and the other 27 hikers made it to the bottom. It wasn't easy and as far as I am concerned this may have been the toughest campout that Davey will have to do for Scouts short of repeating it for a longer duration.

ApTrail The End 2

The trip home was quiet.

ApTrail Sleepy

This was a great trip. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Anyone up for a trip to the trail this weekend?


Billy Jones said...

A few years ago Okay, about 15 years ago I spent two weeks on a trail restoration crew for the ATC working on the trail in the very area you show here.

Hardest and most fun work I ever did. We were snowed on in July and August, flooded out several nights in a row, (I'm glad I packed-in wool blankets as down bags are useless when wet) and while I ate almost 6000 calories a day I lost over 10 pounds.

gsonewser said...

I'm so jealous. My son is a 12 year old scout and I went camping with his troop last weekend. It wasn't a SCOUT campout at all. Your trip is more of what I remember scouts being like.

Thanks for the photos. It was exciting living the hike through your scenes.

Unknown said...

You should have lived the hike through the blisters on my heels!:) OUCH!!!

gsonewser said...

No thanks. The photos don't cause nearly the pain. Plus, they don't pop and get my socks messy!!!!!