Thursday, August 4, 2011 - I made a strategic and wise decision for this particular hike. Rather than lug a 35 lb. pack up and down tremendously steep mountains in the hot August heat, I decided to "slackpack" the two-day 32 mile hike that would take me from where I last left the trail at Unicoi Gap all the way into North Carolina to an area known as Deep Gap. What made my anticipation for this hike even greater is that my good friend, Bruce Bullock, agreed to join me. It is always nice to share time on the trail with others, but having one of my life long friends join me for two days of hiking was exceptionally nice.
To say that these hikes require planning is a bit of an understatement. Let me explain the plan for this particular trip... Bruce, who lives in Pinehurst, would drive to Clemmons and pick me up around Noon on Thursday. From there we would drive about 4 hours towards Franklin, NC and attempt to locate a gravel side road (U.S. Forest Service Road 71) outside of Franklin that would take us to a parking area next to the AT called Deep Gap. Hopefully the "shuttle" that I had previously arranged with a guy named Gene would be there at 5:00 p.m. to drive us into Hiawassee, GA where we would spend Thursday night. Friday morning, Gene would hopefully arrive and take us to Unicoi Gap where we would begin our Friday hike. We would then hike 16.6 miles on Friday to Dick's Creek Gap where Gene would once again pick us up around 4:30 p.m. and take us back to our hotel in Hiawassee. Saturday morning we would get another shuttle ride (this time from a lady name Joyce) back to Dick's Creek Gap where we would hike the ramaining 15.8 miles back to our car at Deep Gap. Hopefully we would arrive back at our car around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and if our car was still there we would then drive home.
How can anything go wrong with a detailed plan like that?