January 3-4, 2015
The idyllic definition of camping invokes the image of roaring campfires, sunny days, and glorious vistas. But, sometimes the best camping trips are not what we suppose, but what is presented by nature.
My friend Johnny and I hiked on the AT from Spivey’s Gap south to Sam’s Gap. Spivey’s Gap is located on US 19W at 3,200 feet. We steadily ascended switchbacks for two (2) miles and came out at High Rocks at 4,280 feet. Fog and cloud cover began to enshroud us and the rain started to pick up slightly. From High Rocks the trail undulates slightly with the highlight being Little Bald. While the views were not present, my mind transitioned to the treasures of the trail: the mushrooms, the moss, the trees, the mist swirling. The day held a very Tolkien-like feel. On top of Little Bald and on the next ridge the wind picked up to gusts of 20-30 miles per hour, pelting rain on our packs and bodies.
After 5.7 miles we reached Bald Mountain Shelter. Given the sour conditions and forecast of high winds and rain in the night, Johnny and I decided to spend the night in the shelter.
During the night the wind roared and the rain pounded the roof of the shelter. By morning, the rain abated and we hiked the one (1) mile to Big Bald at 5,516 feet. The feel was as hiking on a Scottish moor with the wind, coldness, and open fields.
The descent was steady over the next seven miles through beautiful woods to Sam’s Gap.
Total mileage is 13.4 miles.