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May 24, Tuesday (2000 miles to go)

Got up, took another shower, and went to the restaurant for 2 eggs, 2 pancakes, and 2 sausage patties. Probably could have eaten twice that much, it tasted so good. Packed up and left Wesser. Nice place to hang out, but we were on a mission. A mission that did not allow for any slackers. Today we were headed for somewhere along the trail near Stekoa Gap.

I may have called back home before I left Wesser even though the records do not show a call, but mom denoted May 24 when I requested to have sent to me one pair of liner socks and one pair of wool socks, a box of Moleskin, my blue Shawnee Mountaineers T-shirt (on the back it read "Rock Climbers have Aluminum Nuts"), one stick of dad's homemade Summer Sausage, ramen noodles of any flavor, two envelopes of dry Lipton's Soup, M & M's, and some insurance papers that needed my signature. She sent the package to Hot Springs, North Carolina the following day, May 25, 1983.

The first shelter out of Wesser was Sassafras Gap Shelter, only 6.8 miles out. Not hardly enough miles for the day. The next shelter after Sassafras Gap was Cable Gap shelter. This shelter was 21.5 miles out of Wesser. Considering we had just dropped down, down, down, out of the Nantahalas to the river below, it was now time to climb up, up, up to the mountains ahead. Cable Gap Shelter was too far out for today.

Sassafras Gap shelter would have been a good place to stay considering the effort needed to do all that uphill climbing, but we elected to move on to Cheoah Bald for lunch in order to take in the view while we ate and rested. The view was terrific. The day's weather had turned out to be wonderful, mostly clear and pleasant. After lounging in the warm sun for a while we pushed on toward Stekoah Gap, or somewhere in the vicinity for camp tonight. Knowing that the climb up out of Stekoah Gap was also a good climb, and the guide mentioned nothing about water on the ridge, we picked up some water for the night while in Stekoah Gap found in a ravine to the left down an old fire road. We headed on up the ridge not knowing where we would camp, or how much farther we could travel before pooping out. We ascended the ridge for about three quarters of a mile, and then descended a half mile into Sweetwater Gap. During the climb Jim began to get tired so we found a spot along the crest where we pitched our tents right in the middle of the trail. The footpath was the only "level" spot along the narrow ridge. We prepared our supper of Mac & Cheese and Raspberry yogurt pudding, cookies and koolaid. Could not exactly see the sunset, but it was beautiful, especially after setting - orange sky and purple mountains. Now I know where the song gets the lyrics "purple mountains majesty." Temperature in the fifties at sunset with a clear sky, hopefully it will stay that way. Started seeing Yellow Trilliums today. On to Fontana Dam tomorrow.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983
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