Late last Thursday night I met my buddy Craig at Dick’s Creek Gap. We threw up a couple of hammocks, had a couple of beers and talked amongst each other until we decided we were cold enough to climb into our hanging beds. The next morning as we got up and were packing our things away, JJ from JERMM’s Outside showed up. Once we all had our gear together we all jumped in Craig’s car and took off…
We stopped in Hiawasse, grabbed a quick breakfast at McDonald’s, then headed towards Indian Springs campground (USFS71 is closed until April1st). From there, we slung our packs on, grabbed our trekking poles and began our hike along the Kimsey Creek Trail.
The Kimsey Creek Trail is a 4 mile trail that stretches from the Standing Indian Campgrounds to the Appalachian Trail at Deep Gap/USFS71. The beginning of the Kimsey Creek Trail has been said to be a little confusing, so before leaving, I had printed off a hand-drawn map that Ron Haven has made available. Despite the map, we still found ourselves wondering around a bit, but in the end, we got back on track and all was well.
The Kimsey Creek trail is a really pretty trail. As suggested, it follows Kimsey Creek for the most part of it, so water is in abundance. There were a number of small falls along the hike, including a very pretty side-by-side fall (see the video below). There were sections of the trail that seemed to actually go through a stream, as well as a few stream crossings. We also came across occasional patches of snow along the trail, which I thought was awesome! Of course though, it was not enough snow to make hiking difficult, but enough to make everything look pretty.
A couple of hours later we arrived at Deep Gap. Before heading south along the AT we decided to stop and have some lunch. (As a side note, there are dumpsters there, so this is a great place to empty some trash that hikers have been carrying.)
After we finished eating our lunch, we began our hike up the AT. As was expected, we began meeting a number of thru-hikers once on the AT, as well as a few section, weekend and day hikers. Our plans were to stay at Muskrat Creek Shelter that night, however, JJ had mentioned that she would like to head up to Bly Gap for the night. Once we made it the short, 4 miles along the AT we arrived at the shelter, where we found an already full shelter. Those there were also talking about a number of other hikers that were expected to be there for the night, so it wasn’t a hard decision for us to decide to simply refill our water, then head another 3 miles down the trail to Bly Gap.
Bly Gap is just north of the GA/NC border, and is famous for the twisted, gnarled tree (as seen in the first photo as well as the photo directly below). There are a number of sites to set-up camp here at the gap, which had already began filling up by other hikers. So, we quickly picked our own slab of ground (or air-space in Craig’s case) and began setting up our homes for the night.
Once we had gotten settled in a bit, we all began cooking our meals, watching the other hikers, and just talking amongst ourselves about all things backpacking/hiking… I used the Fanatic Solo cook kit (which was supplied to me by David Gardner of GOLD Gear Lite) to boil water for a hot tea and my dinner. Soon after, night began to creep in, which resulted in a sky filled with stars…beautiful. I sat there under the stars and finished up my meal (the All American Burger Wrap from Packit Gourmet)… Once finished, I cleaned everything up, then Craig and I threw a bear line, and hung our food. After this, we stayed up for a while longer, planning other hikes!
The next morning was just as beautiful as the night, maybe just a little cooler, but this was ok because the sun was shining and would soon warm it up a bit more than I wanted. I laid inside my bag for a while, just enjoying being where I was, snuggled up in my sleeping bag and warm. And of course, being under a polycro tarp (also supplied to me from David Gardner from GOLD Gear) I was able to see everything going on around me, which made staying in my warm, cozy bed while interacting with everyone even easier.
However, I couldn’t stay snuggled up forever, so after a bit I got up, got dressed and started heating more water for my breakfast. After breakfast we all began tearing down our shelters and packing back up. While doing so, JJ spotted a gnome that one of the thru hikers in the camp was carrying, so we went and checked it out…
After signing the gnome, we finished packing up and took a few more pictures before heading out.
Just around a few turns after leaving Bly Gap, we came to the official GA/NC border. I had been after this spot since me and my wife’s first hike. It was our plans to hike to the border then, however, we weren’t able to make it due to my wife getting quite sick. Since then, I have done other small sections trying to finish the state up (as well as doing a few sections over…and over). But on this day, I met it… however, it was not yet quite fulfilled. I had to finish hiking the few miles into Dick’s Creek Gap to actually finish the state of GA up…
After hiking past the state line, we started heading up again, and into a bit more snow. For the most part, much of the snow had melted, but in some of the higher areas we came across some deep drifts that were still lingering. However, I enjoyed it all. It wasn’t enough to soak my feet, or to really make hiking difficult, although, there were a few areas that were slick considering the ascent. As well, we came across a very large snow ball in the middle of the trail…
Again, Craig and I had planned to stop in at Plumorchard Gap Shelter for our second night, however, while hiking, we decided to hike on past it to a random campsite, hoping to avoid a crowded shelter. But, once we got to the blue blaze trail that led to the shelter, we decided to stop and have some lunch. As well, Craig and I headed down towards the shelter and refilled our water bottles. After doing so, we all sat under a large tree at the trail head and ate our lunch, and again, met a number of people…
After eating, Craig and I headed on up the trail and was planning to meet up with JJ at the camp site that Craig and I would stay at that night. After a few more miles we arrived at the camp site. Once walking into the camp site, I wasn’t to thrilled with the sites as they were sloped, and the ground was really rocky. So, after some discussion, we decided that we would wait on JJ to arrive, and then we would all just hike the last mile out and call it a hike. Shortly after, JJ arrived, and we finished our hike…
Once I arrived back at Dick’s Creek Gap, I had officially completed the GA section of the AT! So, now I am looking at chipping away at NC…although, I already have a large section of it completed too! 🙂
So, all-in-all, it was a really great trip. No one got hurt, except for one of Craig’s LT4 poles… But the weather was excellent the whole time, although, I would have been ok if it had been a little cooler still. I finally got to meet up with JJ for a hike (which is always cool meeting the other bloggers), not to mention all the other hikers out on the trail, whether it was for the day, the weekend, the month or an entire thru hike. I finished up a state, and made some plans for more hikes with Craig… So, I am writing this hike off as a success!
Anyway, here is the videos that I shot from the hike:
As well, here is a link to all the photos I took while on the hike:
And be sure to check out this trip from JJ’s perspective here:
So, thanks for stopping by everyone!