1: Tellico Gap to Wayah 

The morning started out rough. My alarm was set to silent, so Dad woke me up five minutes before we were supposed to leave. I rushed to get ready, then weighed my pack. It’s either 40lbs and I’ve gained no weight over Christmas or it’s 30lbs and I’ve gained some weight over Christmas. It’s hard to tell. It was 5am and I had to do math.

We hit the road and made our way to Springer Mountain. The entire drive was just time for me to question myself. Was I really prepared for this hike? Probably not. I’d forgotten my watch at home and that really bothered me. What else had I forgotten? As soon as we hit the forest service road and started climbing up, though, I caught a glimpse of the mountains. I grinned. I’d figure it all out; this was where I wanted to be.

We left my car, threw my bag and poles in Dad’s car, and headed off to North Carolina.


It was about 2.5 hours to Tellico Gap, and once we got there, Dad hiked a good bit of the trail with me.


We had a great overlook at Rocky Bald, then hiked a little bit further, almost to Copper Ridge. Dad hiked almost 3 miles with me.

When he turned around to leave, though, it was that same feeling I got when he dropped me off at military camp when I was 15. Funny how things don’t really change. I turned around and kept walking.

And kept walking. About a mile and a half from the shelter is when I started to wonder what I’d gotten myself into. There’s always that moment. I had it when I went back to school for engineering. But you have to weigh what it would cost to undo the decision, and at that point, I had either 1.4 miles to the shelter or 7.2 miles to a road where there probably wouldn’t be any cars, so I figured it was easier to just hike for 11 days at this point.

I haven’t cried yet, but y’all know how much I love to cry, so I’ll keep you posted on when it happens.
MVP of the day: Snickers

Mouse count: 1 dead one

2 thoughts on “1: Tellico Gap to Wayah 

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