Day 14 to Present

Hello all. After meeting with my father, I made it to Silers Bald shelter for a 16 mile day. The following day I made it to Clingmans Dome and then past to a shelter called Ice Spring Shelter. During my hike that day I fell and hurt my back. I had some familiar pains go down my leg. I made the decision to come off the trail early for spring break to recuperate and then see my kids. I will be back on trail towards the end of March to make my push to Katahadin.image

Day 13 and 14 – Into the Smoky Mountains

Not much to report except that cell phone service is bad so updates will be most likely irregular.

Jeb camped with his father at Mollies Ridge Shelter at mile 177 on day 13.

Day 14, his father went back to Fontana Dam while Jeb went onward for a 17.7 mile day. He is currently at Silers Bald Shelter at mile 194. Almost to 200 miles! Today he was walking through old snow drifts and melting snow causing a river on the trail. It also rained all day.

Tomorrow, I will be shipping another resupply box to Hot Springs, NC since the AT literally passes by the post office. He should get there by the end of the week.

Days 11 & 12 – Onwards to Fontana Dam

Day 11 Video – Cheoah Bald

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I stayed at the Nantahala outdoor center the night of the 17th. At 0530 I made the push to Brown Fork Gap  shelter for a 17.8 mile day.  I awoke and was on the trail again this morning by 0600 and made it to Fontana Dam by noon for a 12 mile day. I am taking a short day so I can meet my father and hike with him tomorrow into the first part of the Smokies. I was able to get a ride to Fontana village earlier to get my food drop from HH6 (thank you babe), and have a quick but tasty meal at the hotel. I’m currently camped out above the lake for the evening.

Day 10 – Push to the NOC

Hello everyone. I left Wayah Bald shelter this morning at 0530 and was plunged into more snow. The storm let off at about 0200 earlier so everything was fresh and the trees were laden. I made the 17 miles in just under 8 hours to the Nantahala Outdoor Center. My shoe had a blowout and I fell 3 times. I am now showered and just finished repairing my shoe. I’ll head out again in the morning to make the long climb out of the River valley.

Check out my Day 10 video. Gorgeous view!

Don’t leave Merrells next to the fire too long.
Glue + more glue = fixed shoe (at least until HH6 sends me new ones lol)
More snow
More snow
Still smiling
Still smiling
Frozen trees
Frozen trees

Day 9 – Wayah Bald

Day 9 Video – More Snow!

Jeb had a 18.3 mile day and is stopping at Wayah Shelter for the night. He should reach the NOC in Bryson City tomorrow.

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My update from the home front is that the powdered butter, milk, and cheese came in the mail. Eating “Pasta Sides” without butter is kind of a crime, so luckily I found these Hoosier Hill Farm products on Amazon.com. They all had almost perfect reviews. Hoping this helps his meals become a bit more bearable. If you are interested in the food he carries with him, check out the food page.

Hoosier Hill Farms premium powdered products.
Hoosier Hill Farms premium powdered products.

Also, his cards came in. I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Follow Me
Follow Me

Day 8 – Albert Mountain

For those who have had to climb this beast, myself included, you know this isn’t an easy task. Add ice/sleet/snow to the mix and you have a particularly hard day ahead of you. Jeb was able to make it from Standing Indian Shelter to Long Branch Shelter for a total of 16.2 miles today.  He’s currently at mile 102.5 of the AT.

From Betty Creek Gap at 4,300 ft elevation to Albert Mountain at 5,250 ft elevation is a little over 3.4 miles. However, that last little 0.3 mile push is where you get over 460 ft elevation gain (1.5x the length of a football field roughly). Anyway, it’s pretty much rock climbing at this point.

When you get to the top, it’s worth it. This is a picture I took at the top of Albert Mountain in August 2012. Maybe he will send me a snow covered picture soon.

albert mountain

Day 7 – Happy Valentine’s Day

After a hot (and rather large) breakfast at Shoney’s in Franklin, NC, we headed back to Dick’s Creek Gap (mile 69.6 from Springer). The temperature was around 23 degrees when we dropped him off. He was all smiles with his full stomach and extra cold gear.

Yes, that's a smile. Dick's Creek Gap (69.6 mi from Springer)
Yes, that’s a smile.
Dick’s Creek Gap (69.6 mi from Springer)

Around 2:00 pm he sent these two photos of the still snow covered mountains with more snow on the way possibly tonight and tomorrow.

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GA/NC line (78.5 mi from Springer)
GA/NC line (78.5 mi from Springer)

He reported the temperature was in the teens above 4,000 feet. He passed Muscrat Creek Shelter and was pushing ahead to make it to Standing Indian Shelter (86.3 mi from Springer) by the end of the day to make a decent 16.7 mile day.

Hopefully, the worst of this upcoming weather will miss him. He’s right in the western corner of NC, slightly north of GA.

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Quick gear update

Hello all.  Since starting the trail I have had to adapt some of my gear to better suit the current weather situation. I have added a Sea to Summit Reactor extreme bag liner which claims to add 25 degrees to the bag. I’m not sure on that but it definitely helps some. I replaced my down sweater with my good old trusty Columbia down jacket, and have added neoprene socks to the mix and will be hiking in those and my Vapor gloves only from now on.  I purchased some Northface outer mittens that are waterproof as well.  I will be departing from Dicks Creek Gap later this morning after I get a good hot breakfast and say goodbye to the family.

Day 5 and 6

I made it to Dicks creek gap yesterday at noon and was able to check into the Top of Georgia Hostel. It snowed again on Friday all day.  Upon arrival at the hostel I ate a pizza and did laundry.  I met some cool new people and caught up on some needed sleep.  HH6 came by the hostel today and got me. We are having some family time before she has to depart for home in the morning.  The snow is expected to continue into next week but I am better prepared thanks to my right hand lady. She brought me neoprene socks and a full resupply that should get me to the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina.  Thank you to everyone who is following me here and thanks for the words of encouragement.

Here is my Day 4 Video.

Day 4 – Staying Warm

The weather improved enough for Jeb to make a little better mileage – 15.4 for the day. He is currently at mile 58.6 sitting at Tray Mountain Shelter. Hoping the weather holds out for him a few more days until I see him Saturday.

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However, this is what the weather is supposed to look like come Monday..

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Yay!

Day 3 – More Snow

His words:

“It’s ******* cold. I would’ve died without that liner last night but I was still cold. Started at 5:15 am and the snow has been knee high off and on all day. Super windy. I’ve made it 12 miles so far, but sitting at Low Gap Shelter trying to warm up and eat lunch…”

Low Gap Location: 34°46’36.7″N 83°49’29.5″W

“I got my sleeping pad and bag pulled out. My socks are all wet and all frozen. I’m trying to dry a pair now that’s wrapped around my waist as I lay here. I legit thought I was gunna get frost bite on my feet and hands. If this weather is supposed to continue I need to stay here for the night to dry my stuff as best as I can and then make a 2 day 26 mile push to Dicks creek gap…. it’s so cold up here that I’m having trouble generating enough heat while trying not to get frost bite”

So there you have it.. Day 3.

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Day 1 – So It Begins

Just wanted to update you on Jeb’s day 1 progress just in case he doesn’t get around to it due to sketchy service.

Mileage:
19.5 from Springer Mountain to Gooch Gap (34.652176, -84.031966)

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Currently he’s close to Suches, GA which has a low temp of 20 degrees tonight. High tomorrow of 28 degrees with snow flurries. Since he’s in the mountains the temperatures can vary greatly.

I’ve finished packing his first two drop boxes and will be taking them to the PO tomorrow. Here is what a 4 day supply looks like.

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Packing Up

Final pack weight including water and 3 days worth of food is 25 lbs.

Check out my gear list YouTube video and subscribe:
Appalachian Trail Gear List 2016

Here is a list of what I am carrying along with photos:

  • Osprey Exos 58 
  • Big Agnes Boot Jack 24 deg. Sleeping Bag contained within a Sea to Summit silnylon bag
  • Henry Shires Tarp Tent Pro Trail w/ 7 aluminum stakes
  • Sleeping mat foam to sit on
  • Sea to Summit silnylon pack cover
  • Army polartec 3/4 zip shirt
  • Jetboil Zip Personal Cooking System
  • Vargo Titanium spork
  • Polartec Beanie
  • North Face Gloves
  • REI Flash Long Sleeping Pad in Osprey 3L stuff sack
  • Sea to Summit Pillow
  • Brooks Wind Jacket inside Sea to Summit silnylon bag
  • Sea to Summit Daypack

 

  • Down Sweater
  • Balega no-show Blister-free socks
  • Smartwool heavy socks (sleeping)
  • Underarmour Cold Gear Tights
  • Food in green Sea to Summit 8L bag
  • Photive Volt backup battery, cable, etc
  • “Hiker wallet”
  • Marmot Precip Rain Jacket

 

 

 

  • Recon Wrap, watch
  • Oakley M-frame Sunglasses
  • Standard issue Dysfunctional Veteran ball cap
  • 2 Gatorade bottles
  • Pack Towel, hygiene kit in 1L Sea to Summit bag
  • Balega socks, North Face sleeveless shirt, PT shorts

 

 

 

  • Merrell Vapor Gloves
  • Merrell Trail Gloves
  • Black Diamond Carbon Cork trekking poles
  • Both shoes have Lock Laces

Not shown:

  • 1 Sawyer Squeeze, 1 2L Platypus bladder, 1L Platypus bladder, 1 back flow plunger

Food Prep

The time has come, so HH6 has been harassing me about food prep, dates, and locations. She’s the organizer. I just like to fly by the seat of my pants. However, getting food drops will take a little stress off of me (when I get on the trail anyway), so that’s what we worked on today.

Between now and March 8, I will receive 4 supply drops. Each supply drop will contain 4 days worth of food.  Each box contains the following:

  • Food Prep4 Pasta or Potato (Pasta Sides, etc)
  • 4 Meat (Spam Snacks, Spam, Tyson Chicken, Tuna, Hillshire Farms Summer Sausage, Turkey Snacks)
  • 8 Instant Oatmeal
  • 4 Carnation Instant Breakfast
  • 2 Ramon Noodles
  • 1 Snack Size Ziploc Raisins
  • 1 Snack Size Ziploc Dried Bananas
  • 1 Snack Size Ziploc Granola
  • 4 Snickers
  • 2 Honey Buns
  • 4 Tortillas
  • 4 Jif Chocolate Silk Whips or Nutella
  • Powdered Drink Mix
  • Gum
  • 1 Travel Size Wet Wipes
  • Anything she can think of I might like to eat