Laughter Creek to Low Gap

March 24

14 miles
Laughter Creek to Low Gap

Hikers Today: Luke, Matthew, Bear Bag, Jack, Baltimore Jack, Dude, Ski, Sunshine McHappyface, Tal, Josh and Steven

Day 004
Another exciting day, let me tell you about it. Blood Mountain was straight out of Lord of the Rings (that comparison will come up a lot). It was raining slightly and the fog was very thick. The shelter looked eerie hidden in the fog. The descent was adventurous since it was all boulder and steep. At the bottom was a glorious sight – Neel’s Gap! It’s an outfitter (camping gear facility) with cabins, showers, laundry. I skipped those and instead resupplied, made phone calls and ate an awesome hamburger… and pounded two Mellow Yellows. It was rejuvenating and sad at the same time.

{Pen running low} Dammit – I need one of those astronaut pens. Can’t write upside down. I was leaving the group I met and hiked with the first few days. They were all staying to clean and rest. It’s funny how fast the stories circulate even in the mountains. Something happens and at the end of the day, everyone has heard, even at different camps/shelters.(Like when Z’s dog got bit. Still haven’t heard of what happened though.) The story today was some dude got dropped off by his dad at Neels’ Gap to stay and I guess hike the trail but he didn’t get past Neel’s Gap. Apparently the guests were drinking and this kid is mouthing off and pulling out weapons out of his bag. (The cops found numchuck’s, brass knucles, multiple knives.) Finally he got in an altercation with on of them and was sent to jail… or further up the trail… not sure. Hiked a long way (11 miles) by myself today. Enjoy the videos.

Here’s one of the creatures I believe I hear outside my tent at night:

~Joe Kick Ass

Woody Gap to Neels Gap

March 23

Middle of the Day, Easy-ish

Day 003
About halfway through the day right now, stopped atop Big Cedar Mountain to write. Majestic view, can see dozens of mountain tops and for many miles. It’s another clear day, sunny upper 60s, it could be 70 degrees. Don’t know.

Started out slow today, Wolf Man was thinking of quitting when I caught up to him so I walked with him. Then Stud joined and we helped him slack pack. Hopefully he powers on. Took some pics with Stud and Shane. Stud gave me her tripod bendy think that attaches to the bottom of the camera. When I left them I snuck $10 in her bag. Five minutes later she caught up running to give it back.

There were a lot of hikers picnicking at Woody Gap, hung out there a while. Called Travis for a weather update – few more nice days then chances of rain into possible thunderstorm Saturday. “Z” showed up with his dog, Dagne. He made a quick hitch into town but lost his water bottles? So I gave him my Klean Kanteen with the duct tape on. I still have my camel back and can get another bottle in Neels Gap.

Hours later ~ 4 p.m.
“Z” caught me and gave the bottle back, Huck Finn gave him one too. Walked with ‘Many Names’ for most of the rest of the day. She was fun to talk to and made the miles go quickly. We ran into Dagne (Z’s dog) who was running back the way we came. Turns out Dagne got bit by a black snake and Z was trying to get her back. Last I heard he was still chasing her.

~Joe Kick Ass

Joe Kick Ass Is Born

MARCH 21, 2009

15.4 miles
8 hours, many breaks
Hawk Mountain Shelter

Day 001
So maybe went a little far for the first day. Met a lot of people, some interesting and some annoying. Took breaks and hung out with the interesting ones and faked cramps with the annoying ones. Trail names: Robo, Ramble On, Z, Boof?, Rock, Wild Bill, Truckin. Names TBD: Sam, Hayden, Dave, Danny, Rodger

At the summit of Springer Mountain. Rodger, who works for the forest service, was taking census for all North-bounders (NOBOs). He was a SOBO back in the day which by the looks was 1914. He loved his job.

This shelter I’m camped at is buzzing with hikers. Probably 30 which is way more than the site can handle but everyone is bottle necked at the beginning. I found a tent site, as did 20-some others while the first to arrive took the shelter. Maybe they weren’t the first but the first ones that wanted the shelter. I’m sure I will experience one soon but for now I’ll skip the mice and sleeping bag to bag with 12 smelly people. Hawk Mountain Shelter is near Camp Frank D. Merrill which is a training facility for the Army Rangers. They use this area for training and have been spotted all times of the day and night. It’s about 8 p.m. and they’re firing some kind of large ammunition. Oh yay, I came up with a trail name. I’m now known as Joe Kick Ass.

~Joe Kick Ass