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April 12, 2004

Blue Blazing and Slack Packing..

They slack-packed1 from Tellico Gap back to Winding Stair Gap, and including some side-trails, hiked around 21 miles.

They started at about 8am, and finished at 5pm, with maybe an hour of breaks (eating, talking to people they passed, etc).

April 121221 miles.

Ruth carried the 15 pound pack for about 15 miles out of the 20, Dad said he only carried it the last 5 miles. They blue-blazed2 their way to Siler Bald Shelter3, and logged in.

Doug, the owner of the Haven Motel4 where they're staying, is apparently "quite a storyteller". He also provided our hikers with transportation for their slack-packing, and with rides into town.

Tomorrow, they'll be dropped off with all their gear at Tellico Gap5, and plan to reach Nantahala Outdoor Center6, just after/across the river from the Rufus Morgan Shelter7.

Those of you who are astute readers will notice that there is a tiny section of the trail (between old and new Route 64) that our hikers have not walked. This is again weighed in the discussion about blue-blazing. They didn't know about slack-packing until most of the way through Sunday, their day off - and at that point, a chance for a 20-mile day was too good to pass up. So, what to do - waste another day backtracking to cover that 3.1 miles? They decided not. Another factor: it is 3.1 miles up from Wallace Gap to Winding Stair Gap, and from what we understand, "Winding Stair Gap" is aptly named, they're facing some steep climbs in the next section of the trail. So, all things considered (including the amount they walked in town on Sunday doing all their errands), they decided to pass on that snip of white-blazes.


1 "Slack-packing" - leaving the heavy stuff back at the hotel, getting a ride to a location x miles away, and hiking your way back (or being picked up at the other end).

2 Blue-blazing

3 Siler Bald Shelter

4 The Haven Motel

5 Tellico Gap (3,850 ft.) - 126.2 miles

6 Nantahala Outdoor Center, Nantahala River (~1740 ft.) - 134.1 miles

7 A. Rufus Morgan Shelter

Posted by erin . Monday, 12 Apr 2004 . 10:31 AM, MDT .


  1. erin, this blog is the bomb---i highly nominate it for an award--you are so thorough, and i have been even showing it to people at work, who are amazed...and blue blazes do not sound very much like cheating at all...i mean, you're still walking a whole bunch, and in the same vicinity....so i am glad that they did it...and can we get a butt blister update??

    Posted by noel . Tuesday, 13 Apr 2004 . 06:12 PM, MDT . #