Albert Mountain Firetower

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May 21, 1983 - Saturday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Once again the alarm either did not go off, was muffled, or we were just too tired to wake at its beckoning call. Probably the sound was drowned out by the sound of rain battering the corrugated tin roof of the shelter as we woke up to a downpour. The time was 6:58 and it was time to get moving. We ate breakfast and began to pack up. By the time we were finished eating, the rain had mostly stopped, although it is difficult to tell as the drippings from trees over the shelter continue long after the rain has stopped. The day began with a climb of a couple of miles to the summit of Standing Indian Mountain and then downhill for a few miles. Strange how once you go up hill there is always a downhill. All in all - nice trail. Rhododendron tunnels abound, and the luscious green growth of spring appeared all around. We did cross several water flows, some undoubtedly due to the heavy rain this morning. As we crossed one of the more substantial flows, some hikers traveling in the southbound direction stopped to take pictures of Jim and me as we crossed the stream. Haven't they ever seen anyone cross a stream?

We leaned our packs up against the trail sign at Betty's Creek Gap and had a lunch that consisted of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This became my usual trail lunch. Only during my days on the trail do I buy "gourmet" bread. I like to find a bread that is advertised as "Italian". Not real Italian Bread, but good non-the-less. I also like to have red raspberry preserves along with the peanut butter - crunchy of course. Sometimes the meal is topped off with a Snickers bar for dessert. While eating lunch we met some hikers from Florida. Seems as though there are people from all over the country on this trail.

After lunch we had a tough climb up Albert Mountain, especially the last quarter to half a mile. This was practically a rock climb up a steep rock slope before topping out below the Forest Service fire tower. The views of the surrounding southern Appalachian Mountains were spectacular on such a fine day as it had turned out to be.

From the summit of Albert Mountain, we descended a short distance to stop in and check out Big Springs Shelter as well as to get some water at the spring. Someone had left a package of freeze dried maple syrup at the shelter which I immediately snapped up to add to our recently acquired regular flavor instant oatmeal packets. Hey, at least the package was unopened. We pushed on to Rock Spring Shelter for the night. At the end of our first twenty-mile day, and after such a tough climb up Albert Mtn, the shelter was a welcome sight. Today we also heard ruffed grouse drumming and witnessed our first snake along the trail. Whether it was having to endure twenty miles for the entire day or what, the balls of my feet got a little sore by the end of the day.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983
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