Saturday, March 2, 2013

Appalachian Trail 2013 - Glassmine Gap to the NOC

    Two weeks ago I had the fortunate pleasure of joining an adventure back to the Appalachian Trail.  A friend of a friend is working on section hiking the AT and had planned a hike from Glassmine Gap to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). The 36 mile stretch (including the Long Branch Trail - approx. 2 miles to get onto the AT) was to be completed in 3 days with mileages of 12, 18 and 6 MPD.
     We headed to Wesser, NC on Thursday night to stay at the NOC's bunk house.    Our bunkhouse had 2 sets of bunk beds, a bench and a cozy heater which seemed to keep the place a little warmer than I had expected. Arriving around 9 pm we were eager to get out of the car and the cold and get a good nights sleep before heading out the next morning.
     Our shuttle driver arrived on schedule at 8am Friday without a hitch. Unfortunately this time of year the NOC is a little short staffed and do not provide shuttles, but they did provide a couple alternate options for other providers.  I contacted "To The Top and Beyond" Shuttle Service and was very pleased with Kathy's punctuality.
     It seemed to take quite a bit of time to get to the trail head.  The back roads were winding and slow, but it did provide some very good scenery.  At one point we followed a very large river that looked quite breathtaking with the low laying fog that had settled on its surface.
     We were on the trail by around 10:30.
     I will let the video speak for the rest of the journey, but I would like to make one special point to thank Apple who provided some excellent "Trail Magic" when it was needed most.  After hiking in the snow all morning and afternoon and knowing I would be sitting in a cold shelter waiting for my hiking partners to arrive, finding a nice warm place to rest and fuel up couldn't have been better.  This gentleman donates 2 weeks of his time every year to providing assistance, food and kindness to travelers on the AT looking to fulfill their lifelong dreams.  Just goes to show that there still are some people out there who are genuinely good people who do for others without expecting anything in return.  Thank you again Apple!!!! You made our day!!!
"Apple" from Cincinnati, OH
     Until the next Adventure....

Happy Trails!!