Appalachian Trail Section Hike - 24.4 miles
26 June to 28 June, 2020
North Carolina: Deep Gap to Winding Stair Gap
NOBO Hike. Solo.
This is a fun hike, and easy enough if you need to knock out a nice chunk of the AT over a weekend. This hike can be accomplished in two days. I chose two and a half days just so I could spend two nights sleeping on the trail.
On Friday afternoon I caught a ride from one of the local shuttle drivers, who lives in Franklin, NC, from Winding Stair Gap to Deep Gap. I hiked 2.4 miles to Standing Indian Mt, stopping at the shelter along the way to load up on water. I was unlucky. A cloud remained on top of the mountain that evening and the next morning.
Saturday morning I enjoyed my coffee inside of my tent as a result of the cold wet wind on top of Standing Indian Mt. I was then required to pack up everything in those wet conditions.
Once I descended from Standing Indian Mt. and was out of the wind, the hike became pleasant even though I had no views as a result of the weather. I ended up doing 14.8 miles on this day, a personal best as far as distance goes. I began at 7:30am and arrived at Long Branch Shelter by 3:15pm.
The only real challenge on day two was the final ascent up Albert Mt. This ascent is well known, so I was mentally prepared for it. To be honest, I've been through tougher ascents. I saw a lot of hikers doing this hike SOBO. I believe NOBO is the easier option, despite that final ascent up Albert. Yes, the ascent up Albert was tough. But doable and short.
The majority of day two was flat to down, with only a few ascents. This is why I was able to knock out 14.8 miles in just under 9 hours, including a few breaks along the way.
I arrived at Long Branch Shelter minutes before another rain shower. I'll call that "trail magic" from mother nature. The shower was brief, allowing me to enjoy a pleasant evening after a long day of hiking. There were at least 14 other hikers in and around the shelter. Tents everywhere.
I was able to get another early start on day three, stepping off just before 7:30am. With only 7.2 miles to go, and again mostly downhill, my aim was to arrive at Winding Stair Gap by 11am. The only surprise of the day was the final ascent just beyond Rock Gap. It was a bit of a challenge, and unexpected. The final downhill was gentle and quick. I managed to arrive at Winding Stair Gap by 10:30am.
In summary, this was a great hike. I would definitely do this one again. Hopefully with better weather the next time!