July 2014 AT Section Hike: Winding Stair Gap to the NOC

P1040521Last weekend I met up with a few buddies, and set out for a much-needed weekend outdoors. We had planned to do a 28-ish mile section between Winding Stair Gap and the NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center). Some of us had hiked either all, or some of this section, while others didn’t have any of it. And for one other, it was his second outing on the AT… so, we were all excited to be out there!

Before leaving, of course we all watched the weather forecast for Bryson City & Franklin (NC) to get an idea of the weather conditions we could expect. Fortunately, the forecast made a 180* turn just before we left out… The constant t’storms that were being predicted soon turned to cloudy… then clear! And to make it better, the predicted temperatures were quite good, especially for this time of the year… low 80’s during the day and low to mid 60’s at night!

So, after I got off of work on Thursday, I grabbed some lunch with my family, then headed home, grabbed my (already packed) pack, jumped in the car, and took off! This trip takes me 6 hours to drive, and I will admit, it can be a long drive by myself, which I usually am, but luckily, just an hour and a half in, I was able to meet up with Keith Stone (from Gear Toons). This made the last 4.5 hours a bit more enjoyable!

We arrived at the NOC around 7 pm Thursday night. After going into the General Store and getting our key cards and car tags, we met up with 2 other buddies, Chris & Marcus at the River’s End restaurant. After enjoying a couple of beers (and dinner of course) on the river, we headed up to our bunk house to get settled in for the night.

And last, but not least, Charles (AKA: Hiking Shoes) showed up around 1 am that morning. He gave me a call and I walked out to meet him in the parking area and show him the way to our bunk house.

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The bunk houses were small rooms, with 2 bunks (4 beds) in each room, and cost about $20 a night. Surprisingly, they did have mattresses on the bunks. There are (screened) windows in the bunk houses that can be opened for cross ventilation… that is, if there is any wind blowing. That night there wasn’t, and it was a bit hot and clammy inside our bunk house. When Charles showed up, we decided to rig one of the fans in our room so that we could get some air circulating, but not have it jump all over the place… as seen in the picture above, we did finally get it… and it did help the bunk house conditions!

The next morning, we were all up and ready to leave by 630 am (30 minutes before I had planned!) So, we loaded up in Chris’s truck and began the near hour-long drive to Winding Stair Gap. And of course, on the way we stopped in at a McD’s for a quick breakfast (and bathroom) before getting on the trail. Shortly after, we were at Winding Stair Gap, pulling our packs on and getting ready to hit the trail!

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From there, we took off down the trail! We actually got started at 830 am, a full 30 minutes before I had planned (which is fine by me… the earlier the better!) The weather was great… a few clouds dotted the sky, a cool breeze occasionally blew by, and the temperatures had no yet started to warm up. And as usual, walking down the trail was as expected… mesmerizing! Of course though, we all still talked and joked… but the overall conversation was littered with talk of how beautiful it was in the mountains, and how excited we all were that we were able to make it for the trip…

As I said, we had started out at Winding Stair Gap, and our destination for the day was 11 miles north along the AT, at Wayah Shelter. Being that the days are so long at this time of the year, and the miles were low, we were really in no rush… We winded our way up to balds, through overgrown sections of trail, through a few gaps and by numerous random campsites that all looked so inviting (seriously… each one we came across, I felt like I should take note for the next time I come through…) By the time we made it to Wayah Gap, about 6 miles up the trail, we decided to take advantage of the stone picnic tables, to drop our packs, and have some lunch.

P1040527 P1040528 P1040532 P1040533 P1040535 P1040538 P1040540 P1040542 P1040543 P1040545 P1040546 P1040547 P1040550 P1040551 P1040556 P1040562 P1040564 P1040567 P1040570 P1040571 P1040573 P1040575 P1040578 P1040580 P1040582 P1040584 P1040588 P1040589 P1040604 P1040599 P1040593 P1040595After about a 45 minutes lunch break (something I am not used to getting at work), we started packing back up, and got ready to hit the trail again… After crossing Wayah Gap, we began making our final ascent of the day, about 1100 feet in 2 miles. As we were nearing the top of the climb, we crossed over USFS 69, and stopped at the water source for some of the group to refill their water. As we were standing there, a few vehicles rolled by… and surprisingly, one stopped. He got out and grabbed a few (filtered-bottled) bottles of water from his truck and handed them out! This is one of the very few true times I have received actual Trail Magic… it was refreshing!

Once we had our fill of water, we began pushing the rest of the way to the top. Not long after, we came out to the paved walkway that led up to the stone tower on top of Wayah Bald, and some of the best views that we would have on the trip. As well, there was even a garbage can, and an upscale privy located in the parking area near the tower. Here again, we dropped our packs and just hung out for a while, while munching on some snacks. As well, there were a number of day hikers that we met that were coming up to see the tower, and to take in the view…

P1040607 P1040611 P1040619 P1040624 P1040625 P1040628 P1040630 P1040633 P1040635 P1040636 P1040639 P1040642 P1040643 P1040647 P1040649 P1040650 P1040652 P1040656 P1040662 P1040664 P1040666 P1040668 P1040672 P1040673 P1040674 P1040675 P1040676 P1040679 P1040681 P1040683Finally, we decided that it was time to throw our packs on, and head down to our destination for the night, an 850 foot descent in 0.9 miles. As one could imagine, it went by fast!

Once we arrived at the Wayah Shelter, we began scouting our site to set up our home for the night. Both Charles & Keith were using tents, and Chris, Marcus, and myself were hanging. At that time, there were no others at the shelter, so we all had the pick of the litter. Charles & Keith picked a nice flat area that actually fit both of their shelters, and got to setting up. Chris & Marcus picked a couple of trees to hang from, and I continued to walk around… looking for that perfect spot. Finally, I found that best that I could come up with, and got to hanging my bed for the night too…

P1040688 P1040689 P1040690 P1040692 P1040694 P1040695 P1040696 P1040698 P1040715 P1040716 P1040719 P1040721 P1040724Once we all had our homes arranged, some decided to nap, while others decided to start with camp chores. I decided to collect my water, and then added some water to my Hawk Vittles meal to let it begin rehydrating. After Chris & Marcus collected their water, they started searching for dry wood for a camp fire. Shortly after, another small group hiked in. They began looking for a spot to set up their tents, but to be honest, there wasn’t many good sites around this particular shelter, so we suggested that they set up inside the shelter since no one else was there. They quickly took us up on the suggestion…

As the time began to slip by, we all began to prepare our meals, eat, hang bear bags, and clean ourselves up for the night. Finally, we got the fire going… then spent the rest of the night sitting around the fire until each of us drifted off to our shelters. As well, there were 2 other ladies that came in just as it was getting dark. They were also hanging, so they took a larger area up closer to the AT, and began settling in as well…

P1040700 P1040703 P1040706 P1040711 P1040712 P1040729 P1040730 P1040733That night was great… according to my watch hanging above me on my ridgeline, the temperatures dropped to 58 F. To be honest, I actually had a little chill since I just had a small piece of ccf for bottom insulation. However, by this time, it was almost time to get up and get ready anyway. We had a 16 mile day planned, and wanted to get an early start to make sure we had plenty of time. So, I got up, pulled my bear bag down, sorted out my breakfast, got some water going and began tearing down my shelter.

By the time everyone was up and had eaten and packed, it was almost 745 am… pretty good!

P1040736 P1040739Setting out on the trail was quite similar to the day before. Cool temperatures, but with a bit more wind this morning. The expected temperatures were predicted to be a little warmer this day, and that night, so we savored the cool morning air as long as we could.

Before we left from the NOC, we had met a group that warned us that there was no water sources from Cold Spring Shelter, all the way to the NOC. I had remembered a few good water sources through this section the last time I had been through, but to be safe, we had decided that we would load up with enough water for the rest of the day, that night, and the next morning, at Cold Springs, and then tote it the rest of the way out (11.5 miles).

The hike from Wayah Shelter to Cold Springs didn’t take all that long, being that there wasn’t much uphill for us to climb, not to mention we had a big day ahead of us (this was the first time a few of the members in the group had hiked this far in a day). However, once we got there, we again threw our packs off, sat around the shelter, had a snack… and talked about weighing our packs down with lots of water… But, talking about it wouldn’t get it done… so we soon loaded up, and continued down the trail…

P1040740 P1040742 P1040743 P1040747 P1040748 P1040750 P1040753 P1040757 P1040759 P1040761 P1040763 P1040765We could all feel the extra weight in our packs, but we knew we didn’t have a choice, and besides, the day was still beautiful, and we were expecting some of the best views on the hike later that day! We hiked on.

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We eventually made it to Wesser Bald, which has another lookout tower, but with unobstructed 360 views. Once we made it there, we spread out in the shade beneath the tower. Some of us began pulling out our snacks/lunches, while others ran up the tower in awe…  The views were as good as they get…

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After taking in the views, having some lunch, and even catching some well deserved Zz’s… we pushed on. From here it was only about another 6 miles to our planned shelter for the night, and all down hill at that.

Once we arrived at the Wesser Bald Shelter, 0.8 miles away, and 500+ feet below the lookout tower, we made 2 discoveries. First, there had been plenty of water along the way up to this point (as I had remembered it), and that Charles had lost both his visor, and more importantly, his cell phone (not to mention, found a pair of Ray-Bans). He debated retracing his steps, but then decided against it. As well, we decided to dump our water, but then figured, why? We had carried it this far… and from here on out, it was all down hill…

On the way down, we did as most hikers do… we began talking about food… and beer. Shortly after, we recalled the fact that a beer fest was going to be happening that day at the NOC… only 0.8 miles from our final planed destination for the night, the A. Rufus Morgan Shelter. Along the way, we debated staying at the shelter, or heading in and having a beer and pizza… Finally, we decided that we would see how things were at the shelter, then decide. As well, if we pushed on, we could keep our eyes peeled for an even closer camp spot near the NOC… this way we could head out for beer and pizza, then hike back in and set up camp for the night…

P1040820 P1040824Once we arrived at the shelter, we found a number of young kids there, with 4 or 5 large tents set up. Between this and the thought of pizza and beer, our decision was easy… we kept going!

(And keep in mind, this now turned our 16 mile day into almost a 17 mile day… I’m proud of those in the group for pounding out such a long day! We all held up like champs!)

The trail from the shelter to the NOC is quick and easy. A bit up and down for a bit, but then, it is all cutbacks, along the side of a steep mountain. As we were dumped out back at the NOC, it was clear that the closest camp site back the way we had come was at the shelter. So, we decided that after we ate, we would just look for a campsite to spend the night at. With this, we quickly made our way across the street and put our name on the waiting list at the Rivers End restaurant!

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After we filled our bellies with warm, awesome pizza, and a few great beers, we set off to look for a campsite. It was then that we realized how busy this area was on a weekend, at this time of year… there was nothing. Eventually we found ourself fairly close to the small city of Robbinsville, so we decided to stop in at a hotel to see about getting a room for the night. It was at this time that we found out that all the rooms in the city were booked due to some bikers event, except for 3 at a B&B, which the prices had been jacked way up on…

By this time, it was almost 9pm. Looking at my GPS, I saw that the Fontana Hilton was only about 20 minutes away… so after a quick suggestion to the rest of the group, we took off!

By the time we got to the Fontana Dam, we needed our headlamps to walk from the parking area to the famous shelter. It didn’t take us long though. Once there, we got settled in for the night and laid down… however, they night wasn’t near as favorable as the night before. The air inside the shelter was still, and hot. I (and the others I am sure) laid there in nothing but my boxers, and still, I was sweating. It was miserable… To be honest, I am not sure quite how I managed to fall asleep, but I eventually did…

The next morning, we woke early, and quickly began packing up. Being that a few of the others with us had never been here before, we had to go down to the dam and hang out for a moment… Afterwards, we climbed in our vehicles, and headed home…

P1040839 P1040840 P1040843 P1040846 P1040848 P1040850 P1040856 P1040857 P1040860 P1040861So, until next time, thanks for taking the time to stop by!

~Stick~

UPDATE: Click HERE to go to my Picasa Albums to view the photo’s without the ads showing up on the pictures.

 

 

 

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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53 Responses to July 2014 AT Section Hike: Winding Stair Gap to the NOC

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I’m planning a similar hike this summer. Did you leave a car at the Winding Stair Gap? How was parking?

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    • Stick says:

      Jonathon,

      We all rode in Chris’s truck, which yes, he did leave at Winding Stair. There is plenty of room for parking. As for safety, it seems to always be a wash… There are very likely stories of break in’s at any parking area, however, I can say that I have never experienced any tampering with my (or those in my group’s) vehicles so far, including this stay. My suggestion there is to make sure you clean your vehicle out. Don’t leave anything that would look tempting to anyone sitting out. If you have to leave anything, leave it in the trunk (if in a car) or out of sight from passer-by’s. Some say they just leave their vehicles unlocked that way window’s won’t be broken out… that is up to you… I never have.

      Anyway, hope this helps, and good luck with your hike!

      ~Stick~

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  2. Melissa says:

    Hi, I’ve just stumbled upon your blog. This is the exact section that I was thinking about doing. My husband used to hike a lot years ago but I am a beginner. We’re in good shape (marathoners) so I’m hoping we can do this in 3 days. What camera do you use on the trail? Thanks for all your suggestions.

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    • Stick says:

      Melissa,

      Sorry for the late reply… As for being able to do it, being a marathoner, even as a beginner, you would likely have the stamina and endurance to be able to do this section in 3 days. There were a few little climbs, but nothing that I can recall off the top of my head that was just crushing, especially if you are heading north. If you head south, you will begin with a big climb out of the NOC. Heading north is the way to go though… that way you can finish with a burger from the restaurant! 🙂

      As for the camera, it is a Panasonic Lumix GF2. I love it, including the stock prime lens, but it would be nice to have the option to zoom in and out, and some stabilization… my videos can be a bit shaky…

      Hope this helps, and good luck on your hike! 🙂

      ~Stick~

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    • Melissa says:

      Thank you very much Stick for the reply. I’ve really enjoyed reading around in your blog.
      I love the videos!

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  3. Keith L says:

    So im guessing taking 3 days to do this section would be a good start for 2 people who have never hiked any of the AT. We live close to Hickory so it woild only take us about 2.5 hrs to get there.
    Awesome pictures.

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    • Stick says:

      Keith,

      I would say for starters, planning 3 days would be a good option. Then, you could take it as you feel comfortable while actually out there. I would suggest to either stage cars at both ends if possible, or if only one car, drive to the end point and get a shuttle to your start. This way you could hike back to your car at your own pace.

      Hope this helps, and that you enjoy your hike!

      ~Stick~

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  4. Keith L says:

    i know this was last year, but it only took you a 2 day hike to complete. Did the guy ground camping us a small cot.

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    • Stick says:

      Keith,

      No, we generally use a lightweight sleeping pad (we are fans of the NeoAir series) and a sleeping bag. I couldn’t imagine carrying a small cot backpacking… maybe for car camping, but not backpacking…

      ~Stick~

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  5. Ben says:

    Hi Stick,

    I’m coming down from Canada to hike this section in August with some friends. Just wondering how clearly marked the pipes for drinking water are? I see a few pictures you have of them but wasn’t sure if you had to search for them or if they are right at the trails edge. Are there many streams where you can access water or is it mostly via these pipes?

    Thanks.

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    • Stick says:

      Ben,

      Yes, you will need to grab some sort of maps to know where to find water on the trail. And no, it is not always right on the edge of the trail, in some places along the trail water is as far as 0.5 miles (or more – but usually not) off the trail. However, many times (especially if the water is flowing good whenever you are out) there is water flowing right across the trail.

      I would suggest to order one of AWOL’s guide books. This book will inform you as to where the larger, more dependable water sources are along the trail. Another option is the MapDana Elevation profile maps (available at AntiGravity Gear, among other places). These can be had for about $5 each, weigh 0.2 oz and is printed on waterproof/tearproof paper. They are pretty accurate, but to be fair, I have never used any map that has everything perfect. Also, about 2 weeks before leaving for your hike, I would also suggest going to WhiteBlaze.com and posting a thread in the General area and ask for general trail info for the section you will be doing. This will get you the most accurate, up to date info, which you can cross check with your map of choice.

      Hope this helps some, and enjoy your hike!

      ~Stick~

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  6. Fen says:

    Hi Stick,

    Thanks for the great write-up. A few friends of mine and I will be hitting this section in a few weeks. Did you need to get backcountry permits, and if so, where did you get them? I am having a heck of a time getting in contact with the right people. Thanks!

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  7. Pingback: 2014 Montbell Down Hugger 800 #3 Sleeping Bag Review | Stick's Blog

  8. Pingback: Exped SynMat UL7 Sleeping Pad Review | Stick's Blog

  9. steve says:

    You hiked fron NOC to Fontana Dam in 20 minutes?????

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  10. Stick,
    I know Chris & Marcus from a previous employment & professional associations…good guys. I was in medical device sales a year ago and would go by their clinic for the past 10yrs. If I had known they were into backpacking & hiking, I’m sure we would’ve carried our conversations more into that direction as most of us hikers usually do…
    I don’t go to Gadsden anymore and have started a new job, so the chances of me running into them again are slim. Tell them Jeff (formerly of Dynasplint) said hey the next time you are on the trail with them.
    -JBEN

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks for stopping by Jeff, and I will tell them you said hi! And who knows, maybe we can all meet up for a hike sometime! 🙂

      ~Stick~

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  11. Daniel says:

    Could you tell me what kind of tent one of your partners is using? The gray one in a few of the pictures. And if you know what it is, have any thoughts on it? Looking for a tent and would like one that I can use my trekking poles as support.

    Thanks for the write-up! Did an briefly overlapping hike in the spring starting at Wayah Gap and going South to Albert Mtn FIre Tower. Beautiful Area!

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    • Stick says:

      Daniel,

      The 2 tents in the pictures are the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo and a Tarptent Stratosphere 1. They are both fine tents, but I don’t think that they would be for me. Mostly because of the weight and the fact that I would prefer cuben canopies over sil. It is lighter, just as tough (if not tougher) and doesn’t stretch when cold or wet. Also, you don’t get the “misting” effect with cuben like you do with sil…

      As for designs, they are both good designs I think. The Lunar Solo would be easier to pitch, but you would have more overhead with the Stratosphere. The Lunar Solo would likely do better in super windy conditions, and likely handle snow a little better than the Stratosphere. Also, something that I am not a fan of is the floating bathtub floors in them… I prefer to have something that stakes down. This way the floor doesn’t go sliding off in the night and put a bit of undue stress on the mesh walls where they attach to the canopy.

      Hope this helps some!

      ~Stick~

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  12. Andrew Covino says:

    I remember this section. It seems like it was so long ago. I took 2 days off in NOC to nurse a knee injury.

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  13. C_nugget says:

    Always nice to read your posts. Quite the mileage. Maybe one day I’ll see some AT in person. Sounds like a solid pair of pants. Curious if you noticed a difference in your hiking in relation to weight loss? More speed/endurance/comfort or same as always? Thanks for posting. It’s all awesome.

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  14. Stick,

    I love this section of the AT! Have you ever done the Art Loeb in the Shining Rock Wilderness? I live (and Hike) in WNC and it’s one of my favorites. It’s only 31 miles, but boy is it tough. Takes one by Cold Mt., and 4 other peaks over 6000′. Thanks for the blog!

    JCP

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    • Stick says:

      JCP,

      I have not done the Art Loeb, but have heard good things about it, so one day would like to get out there!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  15. Jeff says:

    Hi Stick. Thanks for the trip report. I’m curious how you liked the shirt you wore. Comfortable? Roomy enough? Did it dry quickly?

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    • Stick says:

      Jeff,

      I think it is towards the end of the third video, but I did talk about how I liked my clothing. As for the shirt, I have no reason not to like it ATM, but not sold as in it is the best shirt in the world. There are some vents under the pits that are nice, and being button up is easy to vent anyway. It dries quickly, when given the chance, and of course a little breeze will help too.

      Hope this helps some!

      ~Stick~

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  16. Great report Stick! After my GA section hike in June I have been trying to plan a weekend trip to continue hiking up into NC and this section seems to be perfect. I hiked SOBO from Deep Gap NC to Amicalola.

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    • Stick says:

      Jeff,

      Thanks for stopping by! This is a nice section because of the views from the Wayah Stone Tower, and of course at the Wesser tower. There are some other views in between too. Of course, stopping in at the NOC for lunch, dinner (or even breakfast) and a beer is great too!

      Happy hiking!

      ~Stick~

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  17. David Byrge says:

    Hey man, nice write up! Thanks for taking us along!

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  18. Stick…thanks for the video and wonderful pictures. It brings the woods into my home. A trick for ingrown toenails my Grandmother taught me years ago. Take a file and file across the top of the toenail in the middle until it almost breaks through. Then your toenail will grow up from the sides to the middle and relieve the pressure on the sides of the nail.

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks Steve for stopping by, and for the suggestion. I had also read about doing this (Google is great huh?) and tried it once, but it made me cringe filing on my nail like that… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  19. Joslyn says:

    Amazing trip and great report! I keep thinking I need to fly back for one of these sometime. 🙂

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  20. Ian says:

    Hey Stick. I noticed in your video on youtube that you have been having issues with ingrown toenails. I myself have had issues with ingrown toenails (in fact I had the nail bed removed on my left toe). What I have found works the best is taking the cotton off the end of a qtip and stuffing it under the area that the nail is hitting the skin. I then place a piece of gauze over it and wrap it with medical tape. I change it out every night and if it’s really infected apply a cortisone cream to it. I was able to get mine under control this last time in under a month. Hope this helps….oh and I’m not a doctor… i just play one on TV

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    • Stick says:

      Ian,

      Yeah, I have read of others doing that with the qtips too. I usually just dig them out and cut them off. It usually takes about 2 weeks to heal back though, with little to no pain. Then it is usually good for a couple of months, and then I have to do it again… The problem started about half a year ago when I stumped my toe pretty good on a hike… the toenail fell off, and when it grew back it became ingrown… One day I will just have to go and get it fixed right I guess… 🙂

      ~Stick~

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  21. Gerry Brucia says:

    Nice trip report, Stick. I like the idea of setting up your tarp but all on one side so you have good views and plenty of air but it is basically all set up in case of rain. Also, I too enjoy Hawk Vittles meals and was wondering about your pre-soaking them. Do you do that to reduce your fuel consumption? I always just add boiling water and let sit in a cozy for 20+ minutes. Chad, I always get good ideas from your blogs. Thanks. Gerry

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    • Stick says:

      Gerry,

      On the rare occasion that I use freestanding, double wall tents, I do the same thing with the fly… I will attach it to one side, then throw it over so we have the views and air flow, but can throw it back over quickly in case we need to. (Although, it has been a few years since I have used a freestanding, double wall shelter… except for when I am with the kids).

      As for the meal… this was the first time I tried cooking a HV meal in the pot. Also, I figured why not go ahead and add the ingredients to water so it can begin rehydrating. Honestly, I didn’t do it to reduce fuel consumption as much as try to make sure everything was completely rehydrated. I will admit, even with the HV meals, there are still occasional bites of something that did not fully rehydrate. This time it worked out pretty good though, as there was only 1 bite with a noodle that did not fully rehydrate!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

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  22. John says:

    REALLY not enjoying the add banners at the bottom of your photos. I’ve really enjoyed your blob in the past, but this quickly got so annoying that I stopped reading the post. I hope you will reconsider this method of monetizing your blog.

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    • Stick says:

      John,

      I admit, I know what you mean. Unfortunately, with WordPress, this is the only way for me to monetize my blog at all (they do not allow any other source of revenue since it is a free platform… unless I wanted to change over to WP.org… and while I would like to… honestly, it would be more than I want to do at this point). When I first enabled the monetization, those ridiculous ads were not on the photos, but in the past month or so (maybe more) they have changed that. I am hoping that they change that sometime though… As little as I do make, it is helpful so I don’t plan to stop it at this point. (Also, just so ya know… it usually takes up to 3 months, or more, for me to even hit the $100 thresh hold before they pay anything…)

      I do know that on my phone (android) the ads are not there, and if I am not mistaken, I don’t think they show up on tablets either… I could be wrong though…

      Anyway, sorry for the annoyance, but thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

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    • John says:

      Understood…you like what you like, and you do what you gots to do 🙂

      It sucks that you only have one choice re: monetization…one that seriously annoys (some) readers. I never thought you were making serious bank on the blog, and have no problem with you trying to recoup something from your efforts (this is ‘Merica and all). I hope that I am in the minority on this issue.

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  23. Chris says:

    Thanks again for taking us along! This is part of an awesome loop if you connect the AT with the Bartam Trail (orange Blazes). Wayah Bald to Cheoah Bald.

    And thanks for the Roan Highland suggestion. Will be doing Sam’s Gap to 19E.

    PS – I love that you always do “what you like”. It’s what makes your videos and write ups original and your photos too.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Chris,

      That is a great idea! I looked right at that, but never thought about making a loop out of it… I will keep that in mind though!

      And that is great to hear that you will be doing the Roan Highlands. It is a great section as well… I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! 🙂

      And thanks for the kind words, I appreciate them.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  24. Jim says:

    why do all your photos have that annoying vignetting?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jim,

      That is my doing… I guess it’s just what I like… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • thejaydub says:

      I agree Jim – the pictures are great but the vignetting is too much.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Sorry guys… I will keep that in mind the next time… but I can’t promise much… me likes what me likes… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • stu says:

      and the ad banners on every one. Really? Makes the blog unreadable IMO.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Stu,

      I wish I had more control over the banners, but unfortunately I don’t, save completely turning them all off. However, I have noticed that the ads only show up on the first few… scrolling through the post (at least on my computer) about 80% (or a little more) of the photo’s do not have the banners. As well, there is a link at the bottom of the page that takes you to a Picasa page where you can view them as a slideshow. Some of my other readers have done this and have enjoyed it quite a bit.

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

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