March 14, 1998

3/14/98 Beech Gap campsite

14.3 miles (87.7 total)

What a great day! It was a lot like the second day, started out cold, cloudy, and windy. But after lunch, the sun came out big time. Almost thought of getting out the sunscreen. After leaving Chick in camp, was only planning on doing 10 miles to Standing Indian Shelter. Passed the Georgia-North Carolina border about 9 o’clock today.

The GA/NC state line. One state down, 13 more to go

The climb up from Bly Gap was rough. It didn’t help with the freight-train winds to my left. The weather was pretty miserable all the way to Muskrat Shelter. Had a quick snack and kept going.

More snow on the trail

One kid passed me like I was standing still. I looked up seconds after he passed and he was gone. Met Gary, the weekend hiker, who says if I’d kept going, he would have given me a spoon. Soon after the shelter, the sun started to reassert itself. The day got better and better. I reached the Standing Indian Shelter about 1:30 and decided to push on to Beech Gap, about 4 miles and one mountain away. Up top was such a constant with the sun beating down, my shirt sleeves rolled up and walking through one foot snow drifts. If I’d had time, I would have built a snowman. I ran into Swamp Fox who was just soaking up the sun. He said I missed a great view on top of Standing Indian Mountain.

Seems he was headed for Beech Gap campsite also. Having the tent free’s me up from using the shelters. We had a quick diner and I hung our food bags for the first time. Our only problem might be getting them down. We laughed pretty hard at our own foolishness. Have been trying to get into a more civilized way of camp life but its hard after a long day of hiking. I need to do like Swamp Fox and take more breaks, especially when the weather is this nice (because I know it won’t last). We are proposing that all shelters have a shrine to the AT Goddess so we may humbly ask for her favor.