AT Day 010: Monday April 17,  2023

Mile 110.4+ 21.3 miles/xx km
Total Distance Hiked: 131.7 miles/212.5 kilometres

Moore Creek – Swinging Dick Gap – Panther Gap – Silver Bold shelter – Silver Bold Mt – Wayah Gap – Wine Spring Bold – Wayah Bold – Wayah Shelter- Licklog Gap – Burningtown Gap – Cold Springs Shelter – Cold Spring Gap – Rocky Bold – Tellico Gap – Wesser Bald –

A: 5490ft /xx m –  D: 5200ft/xx m

It was a cold night camped by the creek. We were woken well before sunrise by the twittering of birds and the sound of  rushing stream. Pretty peaceful start to the day. The weather  this week is predicted to be fine and sunny until the weekend so with a spring in our step we got going just before sunrise.   For me the morning starts full of joy and promise of a wonderful day ahead.  Especially once you see the sunrise, the light reflected through the bright green of the new foilage is absolutely delightful.  

This morning as we left our campsite at Moore Creek  climbing up out of the valley towards the very curiously named Swinging Dick Gap, we were passed by a hiker. We thought it was a hiker  except he was carrying only a hydration vest and a couple of handheld  bottles.  Finally 10 days in and we were being passed. I said ‘good morning, how you going’?  His reply was ‘hope to make it to Maine’. Alrighty….maybe a fastest known time attempt?   I hope he makes it. Maybe the name of the gap was an omen for the morning ahead.

There was a brisk with a cold wind blowing as we went through Swinging Dick Gap.  It made us move at quite a pace because it was so cold.  Surprisingly cold especially since we could see the sun illuminating the trees around us.  We were expecting it to be a little bit warmer but we’ll warm up as we move.
About an hour into our hike this morning we came past a side trail coming out from a shelter. We went past a couple who were just beginning their morning. They stepped aside, we went past them said good morning.  As we continued to move along one of the party just decided that he was going to attach himself to us with a rubber, band like a limpet Not a reasonable distance apart but right in Hammers heels It was so annoying but anyway we hiked on. At the top of the climb we stopped hoping he would drop off and wait for his friends.  They arrived, he say you go ahead you’re faster. He then continued to shadow us down the mountain, right on Hammers heels. The sound of gunfire was reverberating up the valley…Hammer and I were talking about it but the Limpet clung on without engaging in conversation.  After about a mile of beeing silently shadowed I stopped and asked him if he wanted to go ahead,  ‘oh no, he replied…wtf. So we stopped forcing him to go by. We then waited for his two friends to go by as well, before stopping for a reset in a sunny spot.  Not quite sure what to make of it. But it affected my equilibrium….there’s lots of space out here for everybody.. no need to tailgate unless you want to make conversation. In which case you’re quite welcomed.

After this reset we hiked on our own enjoying the serenity.  I was pleased we we were on our own as the walk up Wayah Bald was straight up , not overly long just taxing. You really need to do it at your pace.  We were surprised to reach the top and find a paved road, trash cans and a memorial shelter with  stunning  360° views from the top. I got to have a quick peak at the Boston marathon race. Still early but it looked like Kipchoge was off pace.

We continued on down the mountain as it was still too early to stop for lunch. A cold wind followed us off the mountain. So far North Carolina has been a little bit peakier then Georgia with a neverending series of closely set gaps and balds which the trail traverses.
We stopped for lunch at Licklog Gap, another lyrical name. The cool breeze meant a shorter then usual break.
As we returned to trail another hiker was passing. We’d met him briefly earlier. So we hiked with him for a while. His name was Matt, no trail name yet. He is a recently  retired US Army soldier. When Hammer asked if the Army taught him much about hiking? He replied no…the Army taught him how to suffer but not how to hike with a pack. This he learnt while on trail over the past few weeks.  He seem to have his gear pretty well dialed.
As he was going to the next shelter we said goodbye and carried on. A long afternoon descending knowing that will be a long ascent before we can make camp for the day.

Saying goodbye to Matt. Hope to meet up again along the way.

The late afternoon seemed to fly and before too long we found a fantastic dispersed campspot. We camped alone high on a ridge. Life is good.