Fielding 004: Expansion

Standing Indian Shelter to Winding Stair Gap : April 18 – 20, 2018 for 23.5 miles

These days marked a transition for me, from hiking to where my trail friends were camped to hiking the miles I wanted to hike for that day and trusting that I’d find a new community. I was not disappointed.

After leaving Standing Indian Shelter, a hiker named Low Gear soon began to overtake me, and although we knew each other, we had never tried to hike together. It turned out that she was an excellent person to hike with.

Although she was determined to maintain her solo hiker status (a point which I truly understand and respect) she was fun to talk to and the miles flew by. We began to also have multiple encounters with another hiker named Pacifier who had been posting videos of her hike to YouTube since March. The three of us ended up camping together at Carter Gap Shelter and would spend the next two days after that hiking out to Winding Stair Gap.

I am immensely grateful for the companionship that both women offered. My other friends had hiked on ahead of us, and I would see them again when we came off the trail in Franklin, NC. But for those last three days on the trail before coming off, I was glad to get to know Pacifier and Low Gear better, and to hike with people instead of alone.

Day 13 – Wednesday, April 18 – Standing Indian Shelter to Carter Gap Shelter (7.6 miles, 93.3 miles from Springer)

I’m guessing this is a view from Standing Indian Mountain
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Enjoying a moment with my feet in the creek; the umbrella is why they call me Mary Poppins.
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My trail friend, Low Gear, ready to keep on moving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Low Gear, getting ready to eat some dinner at Carter Gap Shelter

Day 14 – Thursday, April 19 – Carter Gap Shelter to Long Branch Shelter (8.7 miles, 102 miles from Springer)

On this day, when we left Carter Gap Shelter, Pacifier hiked with us. We all traveled at the same pace and took breaks together.

The view from Ridgepole Mountain was extraordinary; we stopped for a long while and enjoyed the sunlight and had a snack.

 

 

 

 

 

The view from Ridgepole Mountain
Pacifier and I enjoying a rest on Ridgepole Mountain
The tremendous achievement of the day turned out to be climbing the steep rock trail to the summit of Albert Mountain.
The view from Albert Mountain
Words cannot describe how stunning it is on top of this mountain!
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Rock types were mingled together on top of Albert Mountain
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Here’s a screenshot of my Guthook app showing me at 100 miles exactly, and also with 1% battery life remaining on my phone.
Pacifier and I had to park our tents close together at Long Branch Shelter
This is how it was every night on the trail. I would zip into my bag before it grew dark and on cold nights, only my eyes and nose were visible. Mostly I stayed warm but I would need to re-inflate my down mattress three to four times a night. It was incredibly warm, but defective.

 

Day 15 – Friday, April 20 – Long Branch Shelter to Winding Stair Gap (7.2 miles, 109.2 miles from Springer)

The last vista before coming off the trail in Franklin, NC
Everywhere there was evidence of fires, perhaps from two years ago though I am not sure.
Low Gear, Pacifier, and me at the trail head, waiting for Pacifier’s family to arrive with her truck. She ended up treating us to lunch in Franklin and delivering us to the hotel.

On April 21st I came off the trail to catch up on some work and see my family. Hopefully it won’t be long before I return to hiking and am able to catch up with my friends on the trail.

2 thoughts on “Fielding 004: Expansion

  1. You are so amazing! What a great experience and thank you for sharing it. Just wanted to drop a note and tell you the purple “ferny” flower is betany! One of my favorites. Hike on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I gave up trying to figure out what the flower was, but it is indeed beautiful! I am hoping to get back on the trail soon, and probably hike through our home area. Would love to hike with you sometime:)

      Like

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