Day One: 4.9 Outcasts Total Miles: 2220.5
Spivey Gap to No Business Knob Shelter
Day Two: 10.5
No Business Knob Shelter to Curley Maple Gap Shelter
Day Three: 7.9
Curley Maple Gap Shelter to Deep Gap
Day Four: 8.0
Deep Gap to Iron Mt. Gap
Total Miles: 31.3
As usual, we like to start out with a little excitement. When we got to Iron Mountain Gap there was no AT signs like we have had at all the other Gaps. There was snow and ice. We drove just a little further to make sure we were at the top, then turned around in a driveway. Well, when we backed back into the road an eighteen wheeler tanker truck come around the corner above us heading our way fast. Marco and I both hit the accelerator of the truck trying to get out of his way. Actually he was the driver, but it was a tight minute for sure.
We used hikershuttles.com and had Tom meet us at Iron Mountain Gap to take us back to Spivey Gap to begin the hike. We started out at Spivey Gap which is 331 miles from Springer Mt., the start of the Appalachian Trail. It didn't take us long to hike into the snow. This time it was only about 3 inches deep and no drifts. We hiked on to No Business Knob Shelter for the night. Of course we did not stay in the shelter, but swung in our hammocks near by.
We decided to get an early start today and try to make it to the next shelter before the storm came in which was supposed to be around noon. We stopped in Erwin at Uncle Johnny's for lunch at his picnic table out side under cover. From there we crossed the Nolichucky River and headed on to the Curley Maple Gap Shelter. It had still not started raining. Lora gave us an update that the weather was still coming. Marco entertained us with trying to hang the bear bag inside the shelter. We did stay in this shelter. It started raining around 2:30am.
It decided to rain on us on and off all day today. It gave us the chance to try out some new gear. Troy had some water proof mittens and a Frog Tog rain hat. We also had our Frog Tog coats and pants. The new equipment worked OK.
We could see nothing at the Beauty Spot which is a large bald on top of the mountain. When we got to Deep Gap the wind was blowing so hard it almost took us off the trail. Unfortunately, this was also our camping spot for the night. There was no way we could stay here which later we found out was over 50 mile an hour wind. We hiked back South until we found us a place to make camp. We ended up camping in a cloud which later did a quick freeze and dropped down in the twenties. We did get to see a deer as we found a spring down the hill from us.
We got up and had to pack frozen solid gear up. We were breaking ice as we put our tarps in our backpacks. We started out with the steep climb up Unaka Mountain. The snow was frozen over and we walked mostly on top of it. There is a Christmas tree decorated at the top in memory of a young boy. Probably died of cancer. The top of the mountain is covered in a large thick pine forest which is beautiful in ice and snow. On the way down the mountain we saw our first hiker of the trip.
We stopped at Cherry Gap shelter for lunch and then we saw a mouse playing at a campsite before the next mountain. On the way up the next mountain we saw two more backpackers that had just started out on a backpack going South.
We got to the truck and headed to our traditional breakfast at Waffle House.