Cold Springs Gap & Bear Creek

Anna Marie is finally at the end of her QUEST!

(for a 4th! MAP!!!)

Things didn't start out too well today...AM & Pat were to meet Lamar at the tunnel at 10 but by 10:30 AM wanted to leave.... Of course Pat said we need to wait for Lamar... AM said..."WHY?" Well as we were headed into town to try to call...Lamar finally arrived...Car trouble and traffic...the car was smoking but we left for the hike anyway...Lamar assured us it was insured!

 

Bill, the boat fellow was still patiently waiting for us..Thanks goodness...A great ride across Fontana to drop off the early birds...Pat stayed with Bill and helped him look for fish...he was trolling and actually caught a couple of nice ones.

Bill dropped me (Pat) off just in time to walk in and meet Lamar & Anna Marie on Hazel Creek road...Luckily I didn't have to carry their packs too far...Clever of me! We had a fantastic day...It was hard to do much worrying about the awful trail the was awaiting us in the am...The day was too nice to let tomorrow's troubles creep in. 




Upon arrriving at campsite #83...we met a fellow who was staying
all by himself...FOR A WEEK!   I really like #83...but it wouldn't be a place I would want to spend a whole week...especially alone... 
Had a great campfire and early to bed...Hard day tomorrow!

Up very early...wanted to be able to take lots of breaks going up Cold Springs (Effen...ing) Gap! 
Actually as it turned out we were very lucky...the rain held off until we were almost at the top...and I only managed to fall once... in
the mud...not on the rocks...and there were sooo... many rocks...

Right after we reached the top...the skies opened up and we slogged our way across Welch Ridge and started down Bear Creek...As we approached our destination for the night...campsite #75...the storm was still raging...  
so I suggested that we might be smart to just keep on walking rather than try to stop and set up in the downpour...everyone agreed and we continued on to #74...without a permit...but pretty sure the Park service would agree that this was an emergency...Noone was at either site...and there was a picnic table and better cover at #74...The rain took a break just long enough for us to set up our tents and a tarp...under which we hunkered down for the rest of the evening...
                                                                      

Anna Marie celebrated the end of her journey by burning her poor beat up map...
I carried in a celebration cake-let and we all sang "Congratulations To You"  and I did my best to read and sing the song I had written for her for this auspicious occasion...  
See it below...(Sung to the tune of Davy Crockett)

Out to Bryson City by 10:30 for breakfast the next morning...

Great Trip...Great friends!

 


Verses added to my hiking song for Anna Marie!

 

Went up the Rough Fork trail one day…was almost to the ridge…
Spied Anna Marie step out onto… what looked to be a bridge
I shouted out Haall--oh!”…unaware of her plight
She jumped---straight---(up-in-the-air) disappearing (right-out-of-sight)… 

Smoky...Smoky Mountains...calling out to me.... 

Hooked up with her again… on a Thursday club trek…
Said she’d help me finish my trails…and she didn’t forget..
Re-arranged
their August  schedule… so that we could traverse…
All the hard-to-reach…creek-crossing trails…that really were the worst!

Smoky...Smoky Mountains...calling out to me.... 

She only spent a year  apiece on each of her first two maps..
But then the third, “ Surgery Map”…caused a big  relapse….
When she started marking her 4th… Way back then in ’98…
She never did anticipate…her friends
attrition rate!

Smoky...Smoky Mountains...calling out to me... 

Prosthetic knees---and brand new spine… we still couldn’t hold her back…
She just kept on a-wandering…off the beaten track...
 “Nevermore---nevermore…  is the new mantra she will chant…
And we’ll tie her down and lock her up if she ever should re-cant….

Smoky...Smoky Mountains...calling out to me....

9-Hundred…… Milers “Mapquest
Searching for  9 double “O”

Gotta finish off that map…We’re all crazy people don’t you know…!!!