Thu, May 12 2016 - NC AT: Ga to Albert Mtn 3 days (View Original Event Details)|
Early Friday morning we headed out to Albert Mountain to leave our vehicles. On our way we had a slight road block on our planned route. Have no fear the group found another way around it. Norm our shuttle driver was waiting as we arrived. We piled into the van, our packs took up all extra room. Good thing there were only nine of us. Norm dropped us off back in GA near Blue Ridge Gap. We tried to convince him to go farther up the road but it was not do-able for the van. We would have a couple miles up hill on a gravel road before we hit the AT. But first we had to weigh all the packs. Pack weights were as follow heaviest to lightest.
Wynn 43.2 Day 2 - 39.0
Ken 35.0 Day 2 - 34.2
Tricia 34.7 Day 2 - 28.9
Laura 34.5 Day 2 - 30.3
Johnathan 34.2 Day 2 - 34.6
Shawn 33.4 Day 2 - 29.8
Terry 33.4 Day 2 - 29.6
Alex 28.3 Day 2 - 23.7
Jane 23.2 Day 2 - 23.8
We were all excited to hit the NC line. Laura, Ken, Wynn and Tricia had left off at this spot last October on the slackpacking event. Not too far after the NC line we were welcomed by a ridge runner. She agreed to take our photo by the narley tree and in return she filled us with some knowledge of her job and helping keep the trails clean. The group agreed to push on and do a little more miles our fist day we stayed at Standing Indian Shelter which was about 13 miles for the day. We were all very tired the time we had set up camp and had dinner.
Day 2 we took in some spectacular views at the summit of Standing Indian Mountain. We all agreed day 2 was much easier than the first and our packs were all a little lighter. We camped at the Carter Gap Shelter. We arrived early enough to have first pick of the camp spots. A few hours later all the spots filled in. Seemed that everyone had the same idea for a Saturday night. A few girls arrived to camp and said they spotted a bear and 3 wild hogs 2 miles down the trail. They never ended up visiting us at camp…phew!
Day 3 we woke up and the wind was blowing and it was in the low 30s. We all set out on the trail at different times it was too cold to hangout. The plan was to meet at the cars and drop the pack before heading up to Albert mountain. However, Plan B took place after a hiking mishap with a injured hiker. A HUGE THANK YOU to the group for pulling together and getting a plan of action. It could not have been done without these nine people. Seven of the nine people completed the hike to Albert mountain. The trip leaders will be going back to finish the last couple miles at another time…
Could not have asked for better weather or a better group!
As Paul Harvey always said, "Now here's the rest of the story..."
Sunday morning Tricia and I were cruising along a shadowy section of the trail covered with roots and rocks. My brain was fixated on the Longhorn Steak I was having after the final 4 miles of our trip and our destination - Albert Mountain and mile #100 on the AT. With 40 pounds on my back (and my single trekking pole parallel to the ground since I didn't need it...) I turned my right ankle, caught myself with my left foot only to hit a root and be slammed to the ground by the momentum - onto my left elbow and nose. Tricia wrestled my pack off my back and I sat for a bit. The pain was not terrible after the first minutes or so - so I decided to walk it off so my ankle didn't swell. 30 feet down the path I passed out and woke up flat on my face with leaves in my mouth and Tricia trying to get my attention. Apparently my initial blow to the head was worse than I thought. Our group began to catch up with us after that. I can't remember who all did what, but everyone pitched in to:
1. Find another path to the forest service road so the car could get to me closer than 4 miles.
2. Retrieve Ken's truck.
3. Put me in a chair with a sleeping bag on top of me - Ken says I was going into shock...
4. Feed me energy bars and lots to drink.
5. After 30 minutes, slowly walk me out to the truck.
At this point I was feeling pretty good so I insisted that everyone else continue the hike and reach the peak of Albert - which they did. We really were blessed to have a great group - and I was blessed not to land head first on a rock - although I'm told the rock would have lost...
After x-rays and a CT scan back in Atlanta - I only had a small fracture in my elbow that should heal this week with a temporary cast.
In the end, I was reminded of the following:
1. A head injury is always serious - so if you hit it hard - slow down and take it as slow as everyone around you wants you to.
2. With a backpack - 2 trekking poles is a just a great idea - no matter how much you don't like them.
3. Faster is not always better - even when a nice juicy steak is waiting for you.
4. Surrounding yourself with a great group of people is always important - YOU WILL NEED THEM - and they will need you.
Here are some requested links:
Pickle pops for leg cramps
Salt Sticks Fast Chews - Electrolyte tablets