07/12/2008- AT from Snickers Gap to
Sam Moore Shelter, VA Backpacking Trip

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This backpacking trip occured during the weekend of July 12 and 13, 2008. Participants were Bill Isham, Chris Isham, Tom Stevenson, Jim Casserly and myself.

Saturday, July 12, 2008- Jim C, Bill I, Chris I and myself met at the Five Guys in Winchester, VA at 12 noon and had a good lunch. We then drove to the trailhead at Snickers Gap and started the hike at around 1:30PM. We made a quick stop at the Bears Den Hostel so I could show it to Bill, Chris and Jim. It was only 3.6 miles to the Sam Moore Shelter, our intended goal. This will be easy, I thought. I had forgotten that this stretch of the AT was along 'The Roller Coaster'. 13.5 miles that had 10 ascents and 10 descents. We would be going over 4 of them in the 3.6 miles that we had to get to the shelter. The trail was rocky and crappy. The weather was hot, high 80's-low 90's. All of these factors combined to make this the toughest 3.6 miles that I had ever hiked. Tom Stevenson arrived later in the afternoon and joined us at around the 2.5 mile mark.

We all arrived at the Sam Moore Shelter by 5:30PM. We were tired! There were 3 other section hikers at the shelter that were from MD. All very friendly. One of them had a dog named Ben. He was very friendly. So we ate dinner and swapped some talk. Jim C had been to Africa earlier in the year and showed us some pictures from the trip. We all retired early since we were bushed. I got a chance to try out my new tent. It is different but I think that it will work fine. The night was warm and somewhat breezy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008- We all got up at first light, ate and were on the trail by 7:30AM. I suggested bushwacking to one of the parallel roads to the trail and taking them back. But no one else wanted to. So we again endured the 3.6 miles and 4 big ascents and descents back to our vehicles and went home.

This was a tough hike. The trail conditions were some of the worst that I have seen along the AT. I think that the only way that I will be back to this area is to see the neat overlook near Bears Den Hostel. I also may backpack in about a mile or so to the first stream crossing to camp. But I don't think that I will be hiking 'The Roller Coaster' again. It was a tough hike. However, I feel that a tough hiking day is better than any day at work!

Mike C



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