Allen Gap to Tanyard Gap on the Appalachian Trail

Allengap to Tanyard Gap group - 2013/03/17

A few weeks ago, Carolina Mountain Club announced two new challenges to celebrate its 90th anniversary.

Walk the major trails that the club maintains: 130 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and/or walk 92 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Lenny who’s on the Board of Appalachian Trail Conservancy wanted to walk the A.T. and we started yesterday.

I had this picture of walking the whole section: Davenport Gap to Spivey Gap in order, south to north. But it’s not going to happen this way.

We want to go on CMC hikes whenever they’re scheduled. Yesterday, we walked Allen Gap to Tanyard Gap, north to south. It was a steep 8.9 miles and 2,100 feet of ascent.

We placed half the cars at Tanyard Gap on US 70, east of Hot Springs. Then we drove north to Allen Gap on US 208 and started walking.

The first thru-hikers of the season appeared just as we started up. It’s like seeing the first bloodroot or first robin. Spring is here. If these folks are north of the Smokies by this time (March 17), they are doing very well.

We had lunch at Spring Mountain Shelter, then passed two headstones close to Hurricane Gap Road.

A.T. headstone - 2013/03/18 When you see artifacts like this in the woods, you know you must be close to the road.

The highlight was climbing Rich Mountain Tower with its outstanding views.A.T. View from Rich Mountain Tower - 2013/03/18

This view above is toward the Smokies.

Why do this?

Lenny and I have walked the whole A.T. and finished in 1998. So why do this again? I am so involved in book events for my MST book that I really feel squeezed.

The most important reason to walk it again is to see the CMC A.T. section again in a different light. Though I’ve walked many A.T. miles with CMC over the 12 years I’ve been here, now I’ll pay attention to the trail heads, artifacts and condition of the trail.

It is only by walking the trails, any trail, that you can protect them. Just talking about them or looking at pictures just doesn’t cut it.


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