Appalachian Trail Section Hike – Trip 3
Deep Gap (Mile 85) to Winding Stair Gap (Mile 110)
March of 2020
The Captain and I ventured out in early March as he had a three-day weekend off of school. The weather was a bit chilly, but made for good hiking weather.
It was an interesting time of the year because we were just ahead of the ‘bubble’. The bubble refers to the group of hikers who set out to thru hike the entire trail starting in Georgia. They start in early March. Since we were at Mile 85, we were about a week ahead of them.
We spent most of the day hiking with a thru hiker who was probably in his 60s. We’d pass him, then he’d pass us. This went on for several hours.
One time we passed him and noticed he had a nasty cut on his arm. He didn’t seem too concerned about it, but he was bleeding everywhere. I convinced him to let us patch him up. It was the second time I really had to dig into my first aid kit. The first time was to help a poor girl with her blisters on our very first trip.
That is one thing that most people don’t realize about hiking the trail. The trail isn’t an individual activity. There is a community on the trail that takes care of each other. I was very glad I was able to help out in both situations.
We made a major investment this year with our tent. We purchased a ZPacks three-man tent and this was our first trip taking it out. I did so for three primary reasons.
First, our Big Agnus two-man tent wasn’t quite big enough for the two of us. We needed more space.
Second, I like how the ZPacks tent has doors on each side. I felt a big claustrophobic with having only one entry/exit in our previous tent. I also like how you can roll up the doors during the summer to get some air flow in the tent.
Finally, you can’t beat the weight. The tent weighs practically nothing. This is even more important when hiking with a kid as I was carrying more weight than a person typically carries.
To learn more about my thoughts on the tents I own – check out my review on each: TENTS.
On our first day we knocked out 12 miles. They were probably the best of our adventure so far. The Captain being several months older made a big difference. He was an absolute champ and joked about changing his trail name to The Beast.
That night we pitched our tent on a slight decline. There were a lot of hikers at the campsite where we planned on staying, and we got the last pick of campsites. We should have kept going. It was a big mistake pitching our tent on a decline, even thought it was slight. We kept sliding down all night which made for an uncomfortable night.
Pro Tip – Make sure you pitch your tent on level ground if you want to have a good night’s sleep.
The next morning The Captain wasn’t really hungry and fought me about eating breakfast. Eventually, I gave up and we got going. This was another big mistake as the first five miles of our day were pretty much straight uphill. The Captain had low energy and it was a slog all morning.
Pro Tip – Always refuel your body in the morning to prepare for the day’s hike.
Just before the 100 mile point was Albert Mountain. At the top of Albert Mountain is a fire tower that you can partially climb. The views were spectacular. Below is a video I found on YouTube that shows the views:
We then proceeded down the trail and hit the 100 mile mark. Someone used sticks in the trail to mark the milestone. It was a happy moment. Only 21 more “100 mile markers” to go!
On our previous trip, a trail angel left trail magic for hikers. I was able to score an MRE and it was awesome. The Captain remembered this and wanted to do the same.
So we bought a giant box of candy bars and put them in a plastic box at Winding Stair Gap near where we left our car. We left a notebook in there for hikers to leave The Captain a note.
As we finished day two and got back to the car we anticipated what we would find. The Captain thought there were would be a few candy bars left. I was hoping that someone left him a note.
We got there and all the candy bars were gone and we had about 20 nice notes from hikers. That absolutely made his day. We’ll continue to do this going forward.
All-in-all it was a good, quick trip. 25 more miles completed. We are very fortunate that we are close enough to the trail to drive on long weekends. These miles will be much harder to get when we are in the northeast.
The plan is to hike for a few days over Memorial Day weekend; and then take a full week in June. I am sure we will get at least one other weekend in this summer as well. By the end of 2020 we should be near the 300 mile point…