Section 21 (AT in a Day)

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Section Chief: Chris O'Connell '13

Winding Stair Gap / US Rt.64 in Franklin, NC to Springer Mtn. Summit - 107.6 miles

Winding Stair Gap US-64 to Mooney Gap USFS-83 - 11.3 miles

Hiker: Danny Llewallyn

The hike went well. I started out at 6:45 AM in the dark at Winding Stair Gap and made it to Mooney Gap at Noon. The highlight of the trip was the tower on Albert Mountain. I tried to get a shot of me and the DOC sign showing the view and fall colors up there, but it was clipped. I've attached another on I took from the tower along with one I took at Mooney Gap. If you are going to put one into a document, I guess I'd rather have the one with my picture in it. I started back from Mooney Gap at 12:05 PM and made it back to Winding Stair Gap at 5:45 PM. That was about a 23 mile hike. It was supposed to rain yesterday, but I got into very little. It was a great day for hiking.


Mooney Gap USFS-83 to Deep Gap USFS-71 - 13.1 miles

Hiker: Dan Ellithorp

My AT in a day hike went well, although it started in low clouds and drizzle, the clouds lifted and I had good conditions and great views. I enjoyed sharing the challenge of the AT in a day with several hikers I encountered on my section. The AT is an amazing resource that remains both isolated but available for us city dwellers to escape and recharge our batteries. It is testimony to countless volunteer hours that the trail both exists and is in the great condition I experienced.


Deep Gap USFS 71 to Dick's Creek Gap US-76 - 15.7 miles

Hikers: Sarah Millham '85, Tom Horton '85

We didn’t expect views, and we didn’t get views, but what we did get was a truly beautiful trip through the hardwood forest. The canopy was high, just starting to take on the colors of fall, and thick enough to allow us to leave our raincoats in the pack. We periodically passed through tunnels in the dense mat of 15 foot rhododendron understory. We had never seen that in all our New England hiking, and found it sort of magical. Elevation rose and fell without really killing us either way. Sometimes we walked along the ridge, and at other times across very steep side slopes. The trend was down and we lost a bit over 2000 feet in elevation start to finish.

The forest cover never broke, the clouds never broke, and luckily neither did either of us. Buried deep, but still there, is that kernel planted back in the days of the Ski Team’s Sunday hikes, and the unmistakable urge was to set a fast pace and maintain it. We made good time; perhaps not stopping often enough to admire or take enough pictures, but we had a wonderful and memorable day. All the while we were noticing how the fog accentuated the color of the dogwood foliage, and marveling at the majesty of the multi-story forest and the open nature of the trail, we were thinking of all the other people out on the trail in common cause, some of whom we call friends, some of whom we don’t know, and Dan, who we didn’t know before, but now consider a friend. It was also a time to remember how lucky we were to spend all that time out in the woods training with the Ski Team, working on Freshman Trips, or just plain hiking during our time at Dartmouth.


Dick's Creek Gap US-76 to Tray Gap - 12.2 miles

Hiker: Justin Balsam

Tray Gap south to Unicoi Gap, GA-75 - 4.4 miles

Hikers: Melissa Ludwig, Rick Reed, Lon Cross



Rt.17/Rt.75/Unicoi Turnpike to Rt.348/Hogpen Gap - 13.8 miles

Hiker: Jim Pinkerton '59

Overcast, temperature in the 60s, scattered showers, trail wet (must get new shoes or boots), fog at Hogpen Gap, departed at 8:15 am, arrived at 3:27 pm; trail was in excellent condition; the shelter at Blue Mountain looked new; perfect!


Rt.348/Hogpen Gap to Rt.11/Rt.129/Gainsville Hwy/Neels Gap - 6.4 miles

Hiker: Peter Kilmarx '83, Elizabeth Swedo '06

Peter: I hiked with my dog Sally 6.8 miles from Hog Pen Gap to Neels Gap in Georgia. She's a Basenji - a Congolese pygmy hunting dog. We had temps in the 60s and cloudy skies with light rain at the end. A beautiful section of trail. Well graded, nice views to south from ledges along the way. I've been hiking along the AT all my life as a child with my parents and almost the whole length of the Long Trail in Vermont a week every summer as a teenager. The Trail used to pass by our farm in Lyme Center by Holt's Ledge. The AT in a Day was a wonderful way to feel a part of the college, the Outing Club, and the Trail. The attitude of going rain or shine and without a firm plan to get back to my car brought me back to my youth and the can-do spirit of adventure summed up by "It may be cold, but at least it's raining!"


Elizabeth: We had quite an adventure hiking the trail, and getting to it! We drove up from Atlanta Saturday morning, with the intention of dropping one car off at the end and taking one back to the trailhead. We left half of our party at Hog Pen (in the rain) and took off in our little city cars down a tiny, gravel road, where we were forced to ford not one but two creeks. Having survived the world's strangest street, we finally made it to the Walasi-Yi center, where we met incredibly nice AT experts who guided us back to Neel's Gap via paved roads. The hike itself was tons of fun -- a good balance of up and down. The mountains were bathed in a cloak of mist, giving the hike a rainforest-esque feel and the temperature was perfect for hiking. We only got lost once, in a section of trail where every other tree had lichen in the shape of a perfect white rectangle. It was wonderful to end at Neel's Gap and the Walasi-Yi center -- there was a Native American wedding going on at the center and we were guided back to civilization by the sound of music and children laughing, and the distant flames of tiki torches. A wonderful way to spend a Saturday -- I felt reconnected to Dartmouth and so lucky to be part of such a great undertaking!


Rt.11/Rt.129/Gainsville Hwy/Neels Gap to Cooper Gap Rd.-

Hiker: Charlie Pineo '69

Cooper Gap to Springer Mtn.- 11.8 miles

Hiker: Robert Wooster '65, Jalieh Milani