[at-l] Cat Ching Up

Felix J AThiker at smithville.net
Tue Jan 3 20:21:16 CST 2012

I made good time to Cold Spring Shelter. Again, it was too 
cold to stop anywhere. It was 15 degrees at the shelter, 
according to one of the college students that were taking up 
far more than their share of the room. I ate a quick snack
on the table next to the shelter, and was on my way. It 
didn't snow or rain any on this day, but it never did get 
above 20º. I ate lunch inside the restroom at Wayah Bald. 
There were lots of dayhikers out on this day. As I neared 
Winding Stair
Gap, I made a deal with myself that if somebody was at the 
parking lot and they offered me a ride, I'd take it. I was 
thinking it was time for another series of showers. Before I 
even got to the road, a woman offered me a night at her house.
(Well, her husbandido was standing there, too). "Do you have 
a shower?"...

They took me to a town somewhere far from the trail. I think 
the place they lived was called 'The Highlands'.  I just 
know it seemed like I was a long way from the Trail.  They 
were very pleasant folks. After we got to their house and I 
was carrying my gear in, the woman had gotten some towels 
out (for the shower) and as she handed it to me she said "Do 
you have shampoo?" That was one of the funniest questions I 
got asked on the whole hike.

The woman's nephew was starting a northbound thru-hike on 
New Year's Day. She said he didn't really know what he was 
doing and wondered if I could go through his gear for him.  
He showed up the next morning (12/31) and I went through his 
gear. and, did he ever have some gear. He was carrying, with 
him, 13 MREs. Yes, 13 MREs!  and, 2 forks, 2 knives, 2 
spoons, a whisk, an egg turner, a gun...and, more stuff.  I 
helped pare down his weight as much as I could. But, I ended 
up telling him to hike the 30 miles or so to Neel's Gap and 
let Jeff go through his pack at that point.

The all took me back to Winding Stair Gap and dropped me off 
on a crisp, cold New Year's Eve morning.  It was well past 
dark when I got to Carter Gap
Shelter. There was a Marine on leave there. He had a great 
fire going. I
stopped for a snack and warmed myself by the fire. He was 
amazed when I
put my snack bag away and strapped my pack on. "Where you 
going?" I told
him I had to get to the next shelter. "That's 7 miles." 
"Yeah, I know.
Happy New Year to ya." I said as I walked away. It was an 
incredible feeling to be comfortable, to feel good, walking 
away from a shelter after dark with 7 miles to go. Very 

I had a blast hiking up Standing Indian Mountain. It was a 
night and I was listening to a great college football game. 
(The folks
who put me up the night before were at this game in Atlanta. 
Clemson played somebody...but, I don't know whom.) It was 
about 10 when I got in bed for the last
time. I woke up at 11:30 to a group of flashlights shining 
in the
shelter at me. When they saw me, they turned and left. I 
never saw them
again. I'm guessing it was a group going up to the summit 
for the New
Year's countdown. This was the first New Year's that I was 
asleep at
Midnight since the early 70's. I didn't mind. Btw, it was 
cold and there
was snow on the ground.

Felix J. McGillicuddy
ME-->GA '98
"Your Move"
ALT '03 KT '03

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