AT Thru-Hike Day 14

Wine Springs Campsite (5,334 feet) mile 117.6 to a stealth campsite (4,893 feet) mile 127.4, for a day total of 9.8 miles. We ascended 2,267 feet and descended 2,501 feet.

We are sitting now, awaiting the setting sun. The sky is filled with orange, blue, purple, white and so many colors. There is a grey haze floating along the horizon providing a wonderful sunset!

Stealth Campsite sunset 4.19.21

The day started though, climbing up to Wayah Bald. We hiked down 392 feet to and then back up 392 feet in 2 miles coming to Wayah Bald and the fire tower that is perched on top of the bald. Originally built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, this was the second tower to be erected here.

The final iteration of Wayah Bald Tower

The tower stood 53 feet tall, made out of quarry stone and a wooden shake roof.

The tower opened 2 years later, in 1937, to the public. 1945, after water leaks in the stone work the forest service decided to discontinue use of the tower because of all of the other towers around the area, and in 1947 the top was removed from the tower, for safety reasons. After that, a concrete slab was poured at the top so folks could still enjoy the view the tower provided.

View from Wayah Bald

We continued north and descended 427 of the 2,501 feet for the day. We walked passed Wayah Shelter at mile 120.4 (4,623 feet) and saw our buddy Ken just picking up his gear to throw up on his back and lug around for the day.

It has been said out here, by a guy called Sticks, that a Thru-hike is the longest game of leapfrog one will ever play. He is so true with this statement, Ken, who we haven’t seen in several days, but he was ahead of us and then we passed him, later, as we setup camp, Ken passed us again.

After Wayah Shelter, we continued on, we are still at over 4,000 feet in elevation so the trees still have yet to break their leaves open, they are still brown and things are still dreary up here as we continue to chase spring.

We approached Cold Spring Shelter, mile 125.2 (4,920 feet), it’s a different type of shelter in a sense, it is a shelter that is right in the middle of the trail and the water source is right in front of the shelter. Shelters on the AT are spaced roughly every 8 miles apart, and they are signified by a Blue Blaze on trees, Blue Blazes can be watering holes or they can be Shelters, which always have a watering hole. In Charlotte, there is a brewery themed off of the AT and it is named Blue Blaze Brewery, this is where I meet with other fellow backpackers and hikers every Monday night. 🙂

Two miles past Cold Spring Shelter is Rocky Bald (5,095 feet), it is not a total bald in the sense that is still has some hair, errr, trees on its summit. It is certainly rocky though, and it’s a steep climb to get up to its summit, but it is well worth the effort, leave your pack at the trail intersections. Mt. Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River can be seen from here, so can many other mountains along that Black Mountain range. As you can see in this photo, the rhododendron and mountain laurel have started making their presence known more and more.

View from Rocky Bald

We sat up on this mountain top for a while taking in the handy work of God. Our campsite was just .2 miles north along the AT, it was a small stealth site around 127.5 miles and 4,950 feet in elevation.

We arrived at the campsite to find it a little slanted and a small stream that we could harvest our drinking water from. The stream had just a trickle of flow but with a rhododendron leaf and a rock one can shape the water to go right into the filter.

Tent was pitched and anchored down, two fly was put on, it seems to add warmth, supper was cooked, and eaten, now, i sat to write this while waiting for that sunset.

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