The first 16 miles of the
Appalachian Trail

WWWW 2006 Trip
Day 3
May 5, 2006
Friday morning I slept in a little while and when I woke up MadCow was already packed
and ready to go so she headed out (she was the fastest hiker in the group).  The rest
of us took our time eating breakfast and packing up.  This day Lynn decided not to hike
so she rode along with Swallowtail while the rest of us hiked a lot of up and down
trail.  The trail first went steeply uphill and then skirted around Hawk Mountain then
went down to Hightower Gap.  Then it was up again and then down to Horse Gap.  Then
at the end of the day we went up again to the top of Sassafras Mountain then down to
Cooper Gap.  Altogether this day we did about 6 miles.

At each Gap Swallowtail and Lynn arrived by vehicle right when we did by foot so it
was perfect timing!  By doing this they could also carry our packs, if we wanted just to
hike a section or two without them, and they also had water for us at each Gap.  
MadCow carried her pack the entire trip, Dyan and I carried our packs the entire way
except for Horse to Cooper, and BettyK and JaneC decided to hike sans pack most of
the way.

At Hightower Gap we ran into a couple who were planning on going as far on the AT as
they could… but the problem was they started out with incredibly heavy packs.  The
packs were at least 20 years old and were heavy external frames that were packed
full.  Swallowtail gave them a ride down to the hiker hostel in Dahlonega so they could
go through their gear and get rid of some and they were very grateful.

At Horse Gap we ate lunch with a couple of friendly guys.  It started to sprinkle while
we were here so we decided to not camp on top of Sassafras, fearing even worse
weather.  We instead hiked up and over Sassafras to Cooper Gap where Swallowtail
and Lynn were waiting for us.   They had set up a tarp for us in case it was pouring
when we arrived!  It wasn’t, fortunately, but later as we were cooking dinner it
decided to rain, so we all gathered beneath the tarp.  Jane had a crossword puzzle
that we managed to complete, working together as a group.  It was a lot of fun and we
giggled a lot...  Especially when Dyan answered “Hippo!â€� to the clue “A Nile
Reptile.â€�  We teased her mercilessly even though she said she didn’t hear the â
€œreptileâ€� part.  We also laughed at Swallowtail when she tied her hat down to
protect her ears from the cold air.  The black and white hat then resembled that of a
flying nun!  So we called her the Flying None, referring to the fact that she wasn’t
doing any hiking (yet).

That night it didn’t rain much more, but it was windy.  I enjoyed listening to the
wind in the trees.
Part 3 - Days 4 & 5

DyanTX's Photos
JaneC's Photos
Back to Part One - Days 1 & 2
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Red Salamander
Aster Family
May Apple
Wild Geranium
Taking a break at a trail junction
There was a lot of columbine growing on
Sassafras Mountain
The first time I'd ever seen these flowers
and the photo turned out blurry :(
DyanTX makes her way up the steep
trail to Sassafras in the rain
Sweet Betsy Trillium
Blue Star (also called Willow Amsonia)
Dogbane Family
All that work and there's not much of a view from Sassafras
It's hard to get lost on the AT - it's blazed the entire way
Wood Betony
Snapdragon Family
We had heard that there was a copperhead hanging out on
Sassafras near a big rock...  Never did see it!
My tent setup at Cooper Gap
Swallowtail and Lynn
JaneC, BettyK, and DyanTX
MadCow huddles under her poncho
It got cold this evening, I was glad I had brought a
fleece jacket after all!
? Mint Family