The Journey Begins

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Information about The Journey Begins

Published on July 6, 2009

Author: everno


Appalachian Trail Hike Fontana Dam, NC to Springer Mt, GA - 171 miles June 11-30th 2009 Tracy Carney

Day 1 - June 11 Dianne McCormick, , Reilly (the golden ), and I(Tracy Carney) stayed in Standing Bear Hostel, in the Smokey Mountains, our first night.

Day 2 – June 12 We were shuttled to Fontana Dam, NC for a 6 day, 5 night hike. We got on the trail at noon and hiked 6.9 miles our first day. The goal for this first part of the journey was to hike 56 miles to our car waiting at Winding Gap, NC.

Day 3 – June 13th Our trio hiked 11.6 miles in NC, from Yellow Creek Gap (2,980’) through Stecoah Gap, (3,165’) and camped at Locust Cove Gap. I met two of my new friends here: Bayer Back and Body and Band-aids!

Day 4 - June 14 Sunday morning we worshipped on top of Cheoah Bald (5,062’), my highest climb so far. What an awesome place to praise God! The AT went over the Nantahala River, there was an Outdoor Center with rafting and a restaurant. Yum! We hiked 11.3 miles .

Day 5- June 15 We climbed 2 mountains from (1723’) to the Wesser Bald observation deck (4,627’);then from Tellico Gap (3,850’) to Copper Ridge Bald (5,080’). We camped on top of a mountain, used our cell phones to call home and took a bath in a freezing stream. Awesome!

Day 6 &7 June 16 - 17 We hiked 5 miles on the 6th to the Wayah Shelter. We relaxed and visited with a grandfather and grandson hiking team. On the 17th we hiked to a stone fire tower at Wayah Bald (5,342’). After hiking 11 miles to Winding Gap , our car awaited us. Our first 56 miles was completed!

Day 8 & 9 June 18 -19 The second part of our trip involved shuttling to Dick’s Creek, GA and hiking north to Winding Gap, NC (40.2 miles). On the 18th we hiked 11.8 miles and crossed from GA into NC . My favorite place was the summit of Standing Indian Mt, NC (5,498’), we arrived there during our 12.5 mile hike on the 19th.

Day 10 & 11 June 20 -21 We started the day by climbing Albert Mt (5,250’), to a fire tower. We hiked 12.1 miles. Later in the day we had a slight accident when we tried to hang the bear bag; just a bruised foot . The only soaking rain we experienced was the morning of the 21st ; but, we only had 3.8 miles to reach the car. The 2nd part of our journey… finished!

Day 12 & 13 June 22 - 23 We drove to Dick’s Creek, GA and began hiking south to Neel Gap, GA, 36.8 miles away. No, we did not see the governor of SC but heard he was hiking the AT. We hiked 11 miles and stayed at Tray Mt Shelter (4,430”). The 23rd we hiked 10 miles and Dianne got up-close and personal with our first snake!

Day 14 & 15 June 24 -25 Chattahoochee Gap , GA was where we started on the 24th. The trail was good; but, the ticks were horrible! We were picking them off the dog and each other. We decided to do a “Reilly Charge” meaning we would push ourselves and hike the 15.8 miles to Neel Gap. Dianne pulled 87 ticks off Reilly. We took a zero day on the 25th and got some R&R and more tick protection for Reilly. 3rd Section Finished!!

Day 16 & 17 June 26-27 June 26th we climbed Blood Mt the highest peak in GA.(4,461’). It was breathtaking! We hiked 9.6 miles and camped on Big Cedar Mt.. The 27th seemed like a day of endless climbs. I didn’t know my eyelids could sweat! We hiked 13.3 miles. The weather was hot but the views from the mountain summits made it worth it all!

Day 18 & 19 June 28-29 We started the 28th with anticipation ,we were going to summit Springer Mt ,GA - the start of the AT. The climb there was beautiful, waterfalls, pine trees and rhododendrons. We camped at Black Gap Shelter and hiked the 8.8 miles of the approach trail to Amicalola Falls State Park on the 29th. Our 171 mile journey was complete.

Day 20 -June 30 As we drove home on the 30th God gave us a rainbow to view from our car window. It was a reminder to me of His faithfulness and protection. I want to thank Dianne McCormick, my hiking mentor, my friend and sister in Christ, without her I would never have had this opportunity. To Reilly (the golden), you’re my trail buddy and my protector.

I would also like to thank my husband , Tom and my family for their ongoing love and support. To my friends and church family, thank you for your prayers. To Irelyn and her sisters, you are my source of great joy! To all who donated or will donate to the “Onward with Irelyn” fund I pray you might be blessed for having a heart to give. There is a saying, “to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” Thank you for being a part of Irelyn’s world. Love, Tracy Carney

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