So me and Scooby Doo are taking our friends on a hike for their first time. They are completely new to backpacking, they’ve skied and been in the mountains but never camping and serious miles so this is going to be a tough trip for them, we already know it, we are going to be hiking the Big hump section of the A.T. We are going to be camping on the trail two nights and hiking three days.
Its clear skies from the Yellow Gap Trailhead, on the Over Mountain Victory Trail we started our first day, our friends have everything they need for a great trip, now it is time for them to challenge themselves and hopefully enjoy it. We are hiking to Doll Flats Campsite, roughly 6 to 8 miles from Over Mountain Shelter (OMS), Our water site should be flowing and we should have no trouble gathering water and staying hydrated.
By the time we got to Big Hump, it fell down hill pain settled in, our friends going into the state of no return, they struggled the whole way to the top. I felt terrible but I knew they would keep going. As a trip leader for work I had some tricks to relax them and push them forward to make it further. Taking breaks with intervals suggested by Scooby was the best option, after that the hike was way better they still hated the pain but it was bearable for them.
We are finally at camp, once we got off hump mtn, I booked it I really couldn’t take it anymore, going so slow when I know I can fly down the mountain. I got to camp 30 minutes earlier than they did, as I wait for my friends I checked the water source(good) found my camp-spot and started cutting stakes out of some wood, oh yea forgot to mention, I FORGOT MY D*M STAKES! Oh my god I hate when I forget something, it was literally the only thing I forgot for the trip. I made do with some great wooden stakes for the trip even saved one.
Group is together and dinner is served, we have Knorr sides, and oatmeal the newbies wanted oatmeal I didn’t complain. After dinner I said I was off to bed time to read. I got about a chapter in and we had a sick hiker ready to puck we told him to go to the meadow outside of the campsite, the whole time I was thinking not good, especially the first night. As he was out in the meadow I talked to Scooby about what to do, we came to many solutions but made the best one to keep going, the entire time I’m thinking about the water but he didn’t drink any before the situation happened so we ruled that out at the beginning. The result was pure shock to my friend, to much stress to the body, I felt terrible again, so much pain I didn’t know just hiking caused, most of my hikes I lead for work are no where near this bad. They were in serious pain and anxiety related to, to much stress. My first hike ever had a mistaken 17 miles in between one of my days so I know the pain they are in, all I know is the human mind can alter quickly. They powered through in agony, I’m very proud of them.
Day 2 was so much better, started off the morning pretty good, they were happy with the sleep they got, but still nervous because of the previous day. We did our best to reassure them again they can do it.
Finally making it to the campsite outside of big hump going sobo we had lunch and refuelled. The group is doing great with our intervals and we are making good time. The whole time we are walking threw clouds big hump, lil hump were flowing with clouds. The breeze of the fresh air was incredible, Smoky mountains the whole way. I enjoyed day 2 the most, we got to camp by 5 and did 6 miles in 5 hours, great for the newbies. Over Mtn. is always a great place to camp, incredible pictures of the valley!
Rain sucks, but I sure do love being blessed with gorgeous water sites, my heart jumps with joy when I see a gallon a minute. Ill drop everything and start filtering for the night. But unfortunately Over mtn was almost dry, the rin we had didn’t do enough for the streams, and on top of that someone put trash in the water area all in the puddles and made me worry about the water site and how clean it really. Pack it out people it’s healthier for the areas we love!
It’s nighttime and we are getting ready to go to sleep, my jack is almost empty and my book is almost done.
The trail is a monster to those who can’t tame it! Fears, old stories, fairytales, create fasle influences we should ignore.
My friends are overall enjoying the trip, feelings about the rain, hard climbs up steep mountains, food they make, living conditions, the fear of the wild. The fear of false influences can ruin a hike, if I learn anything on this trip it is be positive, give good vibes, and hope for the best!
The one thing I remember telling them that I knew was going to happen, was they will love this trip after they finish and want to take another one soon. It sure happened I’ve been hearing how much they loved the trip besides the pain, I died inside it was great seeing the impact of the trail to my friends. They now know how I feel and why I do it so much!
On Big Hump
The trail to Over Mountain Shelter
Trail outside Big Hump going North toward Doll Flats
Me and Scooby Doo
Over Mtn. Shelter