March 10, 1998

3/10/98 Deep Gap Shelter

12.6 miles (63.3 total)

Kevin (Monkey Boy) spent a long time last night to talking to Paul (Duke). Paul just wasn’t having fun mentally or physically. So he decided to call it quits. Kevin and his brother, Tim (Prince of Darkness) divided up the group gear Paul had been carrying. I think Tim was taking it hard since he and Paul were classmates and had done a lot of the planning together. This morning, after a good nights sleep, we prepared to leave. Paul just sat on the bed of the hotel room, not sure what he was going to do now that he wasn’t hiking. I was torn between my enthusiasm for the hike and the heart-felt sadness that one of us was leaving the trail. I couldn’t imagine what would go through my head if I was to quit. I wished him luck in whatever he did.

Takin' a break

Even though the temperature was cold, the rain had stopped. It came to me that Brother’s Johnson would be a better trail name for Tim and Kevin. They liked the sound of it. We got our lift out of town and back to the trail. We finally got some sun, at least intermittently. The best part of the day was Tray Mountain. We saw it from below, a white, cloud covered peak. We have discovered that the highest peak we can see, is probably the one we go over next.

A cold view off Tray Mountain

When we got the top, the sun was bright and we could see all the frost-covered trees just lit up. It almost looked like someone had painted them all. Several times hiking up, we met other hikers that told of freezing wind gusting up at the shelter. When we got there, in just the time it took to sign the register, we froze our hands. We finally decided not to ever camp on top of peaks this early in the year. It was a long day but these young guys can stride loooooong!

We made Deep Gap Shelter by 3 o’clock. A very nice timber-frame shelter. But it was cold! A wonderful dinner of spaghetti with cheesecake for all. Frodo was an older hiker that had gotten 1500 miles last year before his knee got bad, had surgery and is out to try it again. Someone had accidentally taken his tent stakes, so he was going to Hiawassee to at least get some large nails. Tim, Kevin and I compared notes and promised to keep in touch.

Brother's Johnson outside Deep Gap shelter