Friday Hikers: AT – Chestoa to Curley Maple Gap Shelter, April 1

Bob Harvey reporting

The hike of April 1 was on the Appalachian Trail  from Chestoa to Curley Maple Gap Shelter and return, a total of 8.2 miles.

The temperature was a little brisk to begin with, but once we started the strenuous climb out of Jones Branch valley there was much shedding of outer layers.  At the upper end of the hike, around elevation 2800 feet, we began finding a dusting of snow on the leaves and ground, but it didn’t last long after the sun came out.

Lunch was at the newly-rebuilt Curley Maple Gap Shelter, a vastly improved version of what used to be there.  When we arrived, the shelter was filled almost to overflow by a jolly bunch of northbound through hikers, this being the time of the year that they pass through our territory.  But, there was additional outside seating in the vicinity and we had a great lunch — until we started getting cold again.  It was then time to go.

On the return trip we passed even more through hikers, some of whom didn’t mind stopping to chat for a minute or two.  After the hike we tried to guess how many we’d seen, and the numbers varied widely, but maybe sixteen would be close enough.

Jones Branch may have been running full, but it was crystal clear, something that a number of us commented on.  We had one ford to make of the creek and possibly a few of us got a foot in the water, one of the feet being mine; but we mainly made it across without incident.

The hikers were Olin Babb, Kathy Case, Anne Cosby, George Dickert, Judith Foster, Phil Gibson, Bob Harvey, Carol Idol, Chuck Mather, Larry Miller, Susie Seiler and Jerry Sluder.