April 6, 1998

4/6/98 Whistling Gap

13.1 miles (324.6 total)

This daylight savings time has me all confused. I’m so used to being out of camp by 8 AM, that now I keep feeling I’m late when I leave by 9 AM. But it does give us more light in the evening.

The trail wound it's way around North Carolina farms
Another wonderful day on the trail

Today’s walk was very different from yesterday’s. Sunday had us mostly on the south side of the ridges and peaks with more stream crossings than I can count. Today was on the north, little or no water, but evidence of yesterday’s ice. The hike was a steady uphill, getting steeper as we approached Big Bald. At a height of 5516’, it gave us a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. While a bunch of people stayed for lunch, I took a few quick pictures and headed down because it was pretty breezy up there. Met another section hiker, Hickory, who was just starting today and headed for Harper’s Ferry.

A little windy on top of Big Bald

Bald Mountain Shelter was just a mile past the summit. The privy here has been the worst I’ve ever seen. Mountain Man refused to use it and dug a cat-hole. Saw Piper, who I met briefly at the Hot Springs Hiker Hostel. He got his name because he plays the flute. But for this trip he’s carrying a wooden oncorina. In his hands, it sounds great. Would be cool to get some pointers from him, but he’s moving slowly with a group that includes Tucker and a few other guys I didn’t meet. Decided to push on for a 12 mile day. Ended up at Whistling Gap. Three weekenders are camped out here also, but we’ve kept pretty separate. Mountain Man, Ghandi and Ol’Crawdad are trying to catch Veto and EWOS by doing a 20 miler. There’s no way my feet or back can do that now. Maybe after insoles, maybe a new pack and some easier terrain. I’m just trying to maximize my stay in Erwin Wednesday.

Well, dinner is over and I’m starting to feel alone. Other than that night in Gooch Gap my first week, I’ve always camped with someone, whether tenting or at the shelters. It was hard to stop at 12 miles while all my friends went on. Not sure how many I’ll catch. Tomorrow will probably be another one alone. It’s real easy to get pulled into someone else’s agenda. As the saying goes "hike your own hike." Besides, there are still others behind me like Roscoe, Naked Dog, Mighty Wind and a bunch of others I’ve only just met. Since the sun is awhile from setting, I just might do a few postcards and make a to-do list for Erwin.