Sassafras Gap to Yellow Creek Mountain Road

My posts are out of order here – sorry about that. This one covers the day before I started the Smokies…
Things were moving slowly at the Sassafras Gap Shelter on Friday morning. Pig Pen and I were the only ones starting to pack up by 8:00. I needed to wait until the shelter cleared out a bit to look for my phone so I got my gear packed up and had some extra breakfast of a Pemmican bar (my usual breakfast) and Pop Tarts (a bonus that I had purchased at Aquone). After a while Piddlin’, who had slept next to Pig Pen said, “Walker, is your phone black and in a Ziploc?” I thanked him profusely for finding it! Now that I had everything I was ready to hit the trail.
The ice had melted overnight at Sassafras Gap but as I climbed higher the ice was back on the trees. I was able to make good time, though, and when I got to Stecoah Gap I caught up to Pig Pen who was talking to a man who was waiting for some section hikers. I realized that I could make it to Fontana by dinner time so I called The Hike Inn, where I had a reservation for Saturday night, to see if they had a room available Friday night. Nancy, co/owner of The Hike Inn with her husband Jeff, said that Jeff could pick me up at Yellow Creek Mountain Road at 3:30.
So I hustled toward the rendezvous point and caught up to Pig Pen who had stopped to talk to some southbound hikers. He was in a hurry to get to Fontana and I needed to hurry too so we kept a blistering pace for the next two hours. We got to Yellow Creek Mountain Road at 2:30 so I set out some things to dry in the sun and Pig Pen took off for Fontana.
Jeff arrived at 3:15 so I gathered my gear and hopped into his car. At the Hike Inn Nancy took my dirty clothes to wash them and I took a shower and took out all my gear to inspect it.
At 5:00 Nancy brought me my laundry and said that the shuttle to Robbinsville, the closest town, would leave in a few minutes. So I got dressed and joined the other hiker-guests in the car to go to the Mexican restaurant and the Ingles grocery store in Robbinsville. I ate a Mexican dinner with Clark Kent and Wander Woman – it wasn’t nearly as good as Don Tequila in Lexington and to make matters worse Robbinsville is in the only dry county in North Carolina, so no margarita!
The Hike Inn is a nice little ’50’s style motel (imagine The Bates Motel) and my room was clean and just what I needed to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Jeff stopped by to invite me to the porch for the Smokies brief. He had a lot of good info about park regulations, bears, wild boars, lightening, and other important topics for thru-hikers. He finished up, answered our questions and we went off to bed.
Tomorrow the Smokies!




About The Man in My Shoes

Since retiring in 2012 I am enjoying the freedom of being able to make my own decisions about how I spend my time and am taking advantage of the opportunities that I have to spend more time with my family, explore, learn, and pursue my dreams and goals. I look forward to writing about these pursuits and hope you enjoy reading about them.
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8 Responses to Sassafras Gap to Yellow Creek Mountain Road

  1. Lisa says:

    I just got caught up with your walk Tim. I am impressed! The phrase you used: ” blistering speed” really gave me an image and sensation of past blisters. I hope you didn’t get any! Best of luck with the rest of your adventure.

  2. You write you hiked at a ‘blistering’ pace…did you get a blister?

  3. Your adventure never dulls. It’s really great the number of former trekkies – let me know what you call them – you’ve encountered that go to such lengths to set up trail magic. Makes me want to live near the trail.

  4. Brian Horseman says:

    Hi Walker, this is Pig Pen’s dad. He has really enjoyed hiking with you and he forwarded the link to your blog to me today. Awesome blog! Looks like you are doing great and having a great time. I know Dan has enjoyed your company. He is trying to get me to come out and join him and I am thinking of doing it in mid May after some commitments are over. Hope your hike continues to be great!

    Brian Horseman

    • Brian, I think your son is great and have learned a lot from him. Last night’s lesson in camp craft was about knots. He has talked a lot about you and he really wants you to join him on the trail soon – maybe in Erwin. I hope you do. I know you would enjoy it and it would be a great thing to do with your son.

  5. Annette says:

    It’s great that you have such good hiking comrades and getting nice feedback from your blog. Lots of folks I know are reading and commenting to me about it: amazing, good writing, brave, etc., etc. You know I’m lovin’ it. Jim commented on your blog, but I haven’t seen it. Have you? I’ll see him this weekend and check it out.

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