Days 9-15


Dicks Creek Gap to Plum Orchard Shelter

Days miles: 4.5

Total trip miles: 74.1

We left the Holiday Inn in Hiawassee on this morning.  I would definitely recommend staying here if you’re a future thru-hiker.  The Holiday Inn is my jam.  After we left, I met an older hiker named Rod n’ Real on the sidewalk in the middle of nowhere.  I introduced myself as Amy and he said “Amy Long?”  Crazy! He’s been reading my entries in the trail logs at each shelter.

Can you spot the dinosaur?

Can you spot the dinosaur?



Plum Orchard Shelter to Muskrat Creek Shelter

Days miles: 7.3

Total trip miles: 81.4

I went home!  By this I mean I walked to North Carolina.  I hiked at about a 1 mile/hour pace.  I find that I don’t hit my stride until after noon so it was slow going for me.  Because of this I missed out on the group pic at the GA/NC border, but that’s okay.  It rained for about half of the day and got really foggy and creepy.  I couldn’t see much and it was dead silent.  I felt like I was in The Vampire Diaries or Twilight.  Don’t hate.  The rain picked up and my clothes got soaked.  I decided not to wear my rain gear which is a mistake I won’t make again until it gets warmer.  Everyone hung their clothes on lines in the shelter to dry.  It was quite a site.




Jessica and Scout reading on the rainy day

Jessica and Scout reading on the rainy day



Muskrat Creek Shelter to Carter Gap Shelter

Days miles: 12.1

Total trip miles: 93.9

The sun came out in the afternoon and I was able to dry my stuff off from the previous day’s  rain.  The temperatures dropped that night and it was a very very cold night.  There were snow flurries and 20-25 mph gusts of wind.  When I went to get water, I needed help closing and carrying my water bag because I couldn’t feel my fingers.  They just stopped working.  I put on every layer of clothing I had, snuggled in my sleeping bag, wrapped my rain jacket around my waist, and put a trash bag around the middle of my sleeping bag.  I only brought 1 pair of leggings and I couldn’t keep my butt warm no matter how hard I tried.  I was in my sleeping bag for roughly 13 hours and only got 4 hours of sleep on and off throughout the night.


Carter Gap Shelter to Winding Stair Gap

Days miles: 15.9

Total trip miles: 109.8

Getting out of bed after the freezing night was HARD.  Thank goodness I waited until April to start my hike.  I think the cold might have been a deal breaker.  Majestic, Jessica, and Alex mentioned a cheeseburger in Franklin, NC and it was enough to get me going.  The four of us plus Rick and Erika (a couple from California) high tailed it to Hiawassee to avoid another cold night.  I was thinking “It can’t be that bad,” about the Budget Inn in Hiawassee.  It can be that bad, and it was.  The wifi didn’t work and the TV made you feel like there was something wrong with your eyes because it was so blurry.  The bathroom was cracked and dirty everywhere.  Rick and Erika left the Budget Inn for the Microtel and they were pleased with their decision.  We decided on Vito’s pizza for dinner.  They offer shuttles to and from the hotels in the area but according to the map it was only 2 inches away so we walked.  Turns out, 2 inches is more like over a mile.  We passed several sketchy parking lots, and a few stumbling drunks, but my favorite was a guy who pulled his truck over in a shopping center parking lot, opened the door and started peeing right there about 10 feet away from us.  Rick, who was at the restaurant waiting, asked the shuttle driver to pick us up and take us the rest of the way.  Mr. Vito himself picked us up.  Vito’s pizza was awesome.  The food is great, prices are good, the restaurant looks fairly new, and they are very kind to hikers.


Winding Stair Gap to Camp Site

Days miles: 0.9?

Total trip miles: 110.9?

My first nero day on the trail!  It was my favorite day so far.  Majestic, Alex, Jessica, (aka Majestic and his ladies) and I spent most of he day at the Outdoor76 outfitter in Franklin.  We went there for various reasons.  Mostly for foot pains.  My heel got to the point where the pain was unbearable.  I was limping unless I was barefoot.  Jessica had pain in her achilles, and Majestic in the top of his foot.  Outdoor 76 REALLY knows their stuff.  They are hands down the best outfitter I have been to and the staff is well trained in foot issues.  Rob sat and talked with us for 3-4 hours.  It turns out that my left foot is bigger than my right.  This is a shame because my right foot was perfectly happy and I loved those shoes but my left foot was having all kinds of trouble.  Rob told us to take it stupid slow from now on.  After we got set up with our new stuff, we went across the street to a bakery to get sandwiches, and then brought them back to the outfitter and ate and drank at the bar inside.  Yes. There is a bar inside Outdoor76, and everything is clean and new and wooden and glorious and I loved it and I miss it already.  We stayed and drank for another 2 hours before leaving, making it a total of 5-6 hours at the outfitter.  We hitch hiked to Ingles and K-Mart to resupply.  Jessica walked back into the grocery store to find out what was taking me so long.  She found me chatting it up with the locals.  We walked to Burger King to hitch back to the trail.  Naturally we stuck our thumbs out for about 2 minutes before giving up and going into Burger King to eat.  We met a couple inside while we were waiting to order that offered to take us back to the trail after dinner.

New kicks. These are my clean socks believe it or not.

New kicks. These are my clean socks believe it or not.


Having too much fun at Outdoor76

Having too much fun at Outdoor76


Camp Site to Silers Bald Shelter

Days miles: About 3

Total trip miles: 114

Majestic and his ladies hiked on while I stayed and moped around camp.  I couldn’t bring myself to get up and get going.  I thought it was supposed to be in the 60’s and sunny but it was in the 40’s and 50’s and cloudy.  I finally left and reached the shelter. When I got there, I made dinner, cleaned up and went to hang my bear bag.  Someone said, “You’re doing that now? It’s 3:30.”  I thought it was closer to 8:00pm.  Time is weird out here.  Black Beard introduced me to summer sausage and I have got to get some of that with some sharp cheddar and ritz crackers next time I’m in town.  It’s all I think about.  There was a really strange 18 year old kid at the shelter that made me feel uneasy.  I first saw him sitting at the picnic table with a BB gun on the bench next to him. His fingers were black and his eyes kept flitting around not really focusing on anything for too long like he was on drugs.  He would try to talk and lose his train of thought.  He was also out of food which is weird because we were less than 5 miles from town and when anyone would give him food he would throw the trash on the ground.  I don’t know if he was homeless, on drugs, mentally disabled, or what but he was sketchy and I was not havin’ any part of that.  To top it all off he went down by our tents and started shooting the BB gun.  Awesome.


Silers Bald Shelter to Wayah Bald Shelter

Days miles:  I don’t know

Total trip miles: I don’t know.  I ripped the pages that have the mileage for this section out of my guide book to start a fire.

Today was without a doubt my lowest day on the trail so far.  When I woke up, pretty much everyone from the night before was already gone.  I stayed in my tent and finished my book until around 1:00.  The weather was getting me down.  By the time I got out of my tent the only person left at the camp site was a homeless man who stayed there the night before.  Okay, I admit, the situation I put myself in was not ideal.  He was really nice and normal though and did his own thing.  He made a bunch of phone calls to places asking them if they accepted packages.  I felt better knowing that he had possessions that he needed to be shipped places like the rest of us hikers.  I hiked in the rain alone this day.  It was cold, and I was sad that my bubble (the people I’m familiar with and my friends) was ahead of me.  Nobody at the shelter that night was there to make me laugh.  I skipped dinner and was in my sleeping bag by 7:30.  I slept in the shelter with 4 men, 3 of which were snoring.

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