Sunday, April 3, 2022
Tray Mountain Shelter (MM 58.2) - Dick's Creek Gap (MM 69.2)
NOTE: We are currently hiking through the homelands of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ (Tsalaguwetiyi/Cherokee) people. While some remained, most of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ were forcibly removed from these lands by white settlers, beginning with the Spanish in 1539 and culminating in 1850 with the United States' program of ethnic cleansing called the Trail of Tears. ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ people continue to live here and are actively working on reclaiming sacred sites and stolen land. You can learn more about the ᏣᎳᎩᏱ ᏕᏣᏓᏂᎸᎩ / Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians by visiting: https://ebci.com/
We left Tray Mountain Shelter around 9:00 AM and hiked out with Driftwood, whom we met briefly on Blood Mountain. As we chatted, we learned that Driftwood served in the Marine Corps and then in the Peace Corps and is out here on an adventure to see what he sees.
Trek hiked ahead for a bit and came to John’s Spring at Sassafras Gap and listed as a water source only 0.1 miles away but down a trail. It was a heck of a climb back out! Unfortunately, we didn’t snap a photo of the spring, but it was terrific. Roots straddled the spring on either side, which came straight out from under this gigantic tree. Along the spring stream, mosses of several species lined the way, over rocks and decaying logs, and the stream bed was twinkling with mica and smooth stones. As Trek began to hike back up, he met Someday, named because "she's going to hike the trail Someday." Blisters and Driftwood caught up, and we all had a quick snack. We'd see Someday again later one when we stopped for lunch at Addis Gap.
One of the most complex parts of today’s hike was climbing Kelly’s Knob. Trek cursed when he noticed it was on the agenda for today, remembering it not-so-fondly from his 2016 thru-hike. Phoebe, another thru-hiker, wholeheartedly agreed. After a steep incline, which caused us to separate from Driftwood for a bit, we came to the first false summit. After many peanut M&Ms and protein bars, we continued up and up until the next false summit. But before long, we were finally there - at the top of our climb to some lovely views at 4276’. A few of us sat and ate some food. Trek stupidly started a conversation about Permethrin (he and Blisters are very against its use) and decided to leave before it got too heated.
After, Trek went ahead and got to Dick’s Creek around 4:00 PM. Neither he nor Blisters saw each other for the remainder of the day until Blisters arrived at Dick’s Creek Gap about 45 minutes later. When Trek arrived, he wondered how they would get into town. Trail angel by the name of Smokey Bear walked over just then. He offered me a lemon-lime soda, some cheese-flavored corn puff snacks, and a ride into Hiawassee! I explained I was awaiting my partner. Would that be okay? Sure! he said; he’d be happy to wait. After Blisters came out from the trail, Driftwood was not far behind him. Smokey offered to take us all into town. Trek and Blisters had booked a room at the Hiawassee Budget Inn for two nights as Blisters’ blisters came back. Smokey brought us all into the Budget Inn, and they had one more room for Driftwood. We gave Smokey some thank-you cash for gas, as expensive as it is.
In for the night. It looks like we might have some exciting weather later this week.