March 28, 2000

Mountain Mommas, NC 15 Miles Hiked Today 235 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

Snow on Mount Guyot (GSMNP) Snowfall! But I'll get to that in a minute. Last night we thru-hikers went to sleep (or tried) at our usual time, 7:00, but these spring-breakers just had to stay up until 9:30 bullshitting and cooking marshmallows. Are we ATers old or what? Then in the middle of the night the person sleeping right next to me freaks out and starts slapping at himself, zipping and unzipping his bag, and saying "damn it". I don't know if there was a mouse or what, but it was funny!

So, I got up this morning to find the clouds had mostly cleared out, meaning the temperature had also dropped, meaning frozen clothes. Parts of two shirts, my jacket, and pants were frozen solid. Usually if it is going to be raining again, we wear wet clothes in order to keep one set dry, but luckily it looked clearer so I wore dry clothes. I'm not big into 30 degree clothing. I started out just after 7:00 and about and hour later it started to snow. At times it was very pretty and at others a howling blast of horizontal white. Often the trail follows the ridge atop mountains, so the wind screams over the top as it has nowhere to go when it hits lower down. After an hour it quit. The cool part was hearing limbs snap around you as the wind broke the frozen weak ones from the trees.

It ain't all forestAfter cruising over to the east side of the range and dropping in elevation quickly, the weather and scenery changed abruptly. It got warmer, less windy, and the flora changed back to hardwoods and rhododendrons. Boring! But it was all downhill about 4,000 feet to Davenport Gap where I took a side road to here, Mountain Momma's.  MM's is a backwoods, redneck North Carolina AT thru-hiker kinda place. A bunk in a shack or trailer and a shower is $10. There is a little country store, grill (burgers, chicken strips, breakfast, etc.), and an evening card game. The grill closes at 5:00 so the card game can get started. Out front are a bunch of old cars, trucks, metal cigarette signs, a tractor, part of a trailer (for storage), a pay phone, and an old black dog. It is quite the place, way of the beaten path, but great for those of us who reek and want a burger and ice cream (my dinner). The shower was much needed also.

Mountain Momma'sOne thing I forgot the other day was that I finally caught up to "Sarge." Sarge is a 68 year old retired veteran. What makes him unique is that A) he thru-hiked in '97 and B) is black. I mention the second point because he is the only black person, heck, minority I have seen on the trail. Rumor has it that he never carries water and tries to bum it off others and sometimes has flashbacks to Korea and Vietnam in the shelter. I never witnessed either. He was a nice guy from what I saw of our afternoon and night in the shelter. So much for rumors.

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