Hike #4 - Deep Gap to Wayah Gap

Friday, April 13, 2012 - I know I have mentioned this before, but the "preparation" part of these hikes is typically the most important part of the entire hike.  Initially I was going to be joined on this hike by my younger brother, David, and also a couple of "college buddies" (Kurt and Pat).  I was looking forward to the company while out of the trail, but it was not meant to be.  They all bailed on me for various reasons in the week leading up to this hike.  No worries though, this hasn't been the first solo hike and it surely will not be the last.  After all... I have the voices in my head to keep me company.

Since I was going solo, I needed to arrange for a reliable shuttle driver to pick me up from my car at Wayah Gap and drive me to my starting point of Deep Gap.  Where do you find one of these shuttle drivers at such short notice?  Well, I had met a fellow insurance agent named Kevin Corbin at one of my agent meetings earlier in the year and remembered that he was from Franklin, NC which was a town very near my hike.  I made a quick call to Kevin and explained my situation.  As it turned out, Kevin is a county commissioner and one of his fellow county commissioners is a guy named Ron Haven.  Ron just happens to own the Budget Inn of Franklin (famous place for hikers to stay) as well as the glorious Budget Inn of Hiawassee that I stayed at in my previous hike.  Ron quickly set me up with a shuttle driver named Kathy.  I contacted Kathy and all was set for my next hike.

Friday April 13, 2012 - I know... I know.... planning a hike in the remote wilderness for Friday the 13th is not most folk's idea of a good time, but I was itching to get back on the trail after my winter hiatus and that just happened to be the best time for me to go.  So, I made my preparations, checked the local radio stations for any mention of escaped convicts and headed out.

I planned to meet my shuttle driver, Kathy, at Wayah Gap around 11:00 a.m. which would give us plenty of time to drive to Deep Gap and let me hit the trail by Noon.  After a quick pit stop at the Franklin Walmart I drove up to Wayah Gap where Kathy was waiting for me.  As for shuttle drivers, she met all of my AT hiking criteria...she was on time, knew where to go and didn't drive off a cliff while getting there.