Day ONE Sunday June 2, 1996
Neels Gap - Cowrock Mt. 4.7 miles

One thing I learned last yr on our hike was to start out SLOW--so I planned only a 4.7 miles for today
Another thing we learned is its not so much the mileage its the ELEVATION GAIN that kicks your butt--

JT n the Sisters Getting on the Trail

Leaning on a tree to get the weight
off for a few minutes!

Neels Gap 3,125'
Bull Gap 3,644'
Levelland mt. 3,942'
Swain Gap 3,450'
TurkeyPen Mt. 3,550'
Rock Spring Top 3,526'
Wolf Laurel Top 3,766'
Baggs Creek 3,591'
Cowrock Mt. 3, 842'

Emma takes 5

  Upon leaving the inn @ 3,125 ft behind we started our climb of Levelland Mt. The first .10 mile took us to 3,644 ft. It didnt take long until we were silently asking ourselves, "why are we doing this?" That is a question that remains unasnwered to this day! Why does a chicken cross the road and all that...

View from the top of Levelland Mt 3,942 ft
Anyways we climbed. The top of Levelland got us to 3,942 ft and we took our frist break on some rocks.

top of Levelland Mt.
Rest Break top of Levelland

Posing by Laurel on Levelland Back on
The trail.

Rest on top of Levelland
Soon a man arrived. He was from VA. and he said he was going to nanthahal and he had just re-supplied for 9 days & he bleieved his pack weight was 50 lbs! He tired to get us to take some food off his hands, we politely refused since we had 4 days of food in our packes and a stash waiting. We lef thim behind, but he soon caught up on a down hill section. He mentioned there were 2 thru hikers behind us.
PICT0577At Corbin Horse Stamp we stopped for lunch. We had passed the VA hiker getting water from a spring with his water pump. Just up from there we had lunch on some logs, or was it rocks, I cant remember im sure it was something
hard and uncomfortable.

Lunch at Corbin Stamp

The VA hiker passed us (why didnt he give his trail name?) and so did the college student thru hikers. We never saw these guys again...they were making a pretty good pace!
We lunched on slim jims and granola bars, trail mix and prunes, and I think Emma had some tuna salad.

Tree support
Tree Rest Break

Near Bags Creek


Since we had only 4.7 mi. to do on our first day we took our time. JT was strarting to get the idea of what the trail was going to be like by this time...

View from Wolf Laurel

Carrying water to camp
We left our lunch spot with only 1.4 miles to go to our planned campsite. There was a problem with water, the campsite had nowater!! SO I knew we had to carry wter from a spirng mentioned in the trail books so at Baggs Ck Cap we took a blue blazed trail down what seemed like FOREVER to get the water. Emma stayed with the packs. The stream was low and the water we got was dirty. We carried the water to our camp 1/2 mile away.

We arrived at Cowrock Mt. and our campsite. A great camp site with a view, and huge rocks just right for a kitchen!! We could actually stand up and cook for a change--There as a nice log for sitting to . Jt and I set our tent up on the grassy edge of the overlook so we could take advantage of the awesome view. The sisters put their tent under the trees on another grassy spot.
TOP OF CROW ROCK.jpgBefore dark we decided to tie the food up in a tree to keep critters away from it. Emma was in chage of bringing a rope for this task and she brought out this bright yellow nylon rope. We tied a stick on one end to toss it over a limb..the dang nylon rope had a backlash and it immediately went into a terrific KNOT..geeze..so we had to spend some time trying to untangle the rope.

Emma's Knot!
Food secured we had a great fire to sit around while we chatted about the day we just had and the one to come! JT, the Beast became the Keeper of the Flame and he did an awesome job...we cleared the entire area of dead fall! Once it got dark enough the lights of a distant town came on in the valley below. Cowrock looks down on Town Creek, the view to the southeast includes Yonah Mt. and to the norht Brasstown Bald.
Trying it on for size
The trees lining the gorge overlook was filled with birds, so we listened while we ate our not so hot camp food. The dirty water had to be strained 4 times to get it clean enough to use. IT was horrible but it was that or nothing!! You take what Mother Nature provides on the trail...and we couldnt spare any for bathing...
JT n I slept pretty good, we had rain overnight but the tent stayed dry! We heard what we thought maybe coyotes in the distance, JT asked if wolves were in these woods, I told him I didnt think so....

JT & Fire

wake up sleepy head its time to HIKE!

....and in the morning the birds sang the morning wake up song, we got up and got busy with trail chores- a breakfast of oatmeal.  We broke camp and headed out for our second day of hiking.