On Saturday, Lenny, Janet Martin and I walked another section of the Appalachian Trail for the Carolina Mountain Club 90 in 90 hiking challenge. Devils Fork Gap to Sams Gap is very familiar to us. It is a classic CMC hike. We also maintain the first 2.5 miles beginning at Devils Fork Gap and going north. This section is 8.5 miles with 2,800 feet of ascent.
Unlike the sections that we’ve been doing and will continue to do, this shuttle was simple. First we placed a car at Sams Gap, off of I-26. Then we drove through Flag Pond and up to Devils Fork Gap. Finally we start walking.
The trail starts off in a meadow, then down to Rector Laurel Road. Then it starts climbing. You might think that there’s nothing special about this section – apart from the fact that we maintain it.
But wait! A two-grave cemetery is right on the trail. Now you know that the descendants who place plastic flowers aren’t going to walk. But if you look off the trail a little, you’ll see an ATV road. That’s probably how they get to the cemetery.
A great waterfall follows. I’m never been able to find the name of this waterfall. Maybe it doesn’t have one.
The trail reaches Sugarloaf Gap, a flat field with an (illegal) fire ring. Up, up, up to great views across I-26 into Tennessee. Once past Rice Gap, the trail passes Hogback Shelter and then climbs back up to 4,500 feet and comes down to Sams Gap.
Yesterday, the flowers were amazing. Fields of white trilliums, squirrel corn (in the picture), Dutchmen’s britches and still some spring beauties.
Spring has been long in coming but now the flowers are at their peak.