And I’m off on my adventure! (2/26, 2/27)
2/26 (Day 1): Hotel -> Stover Creek shelter, 2.8 miles
Louis and I left Virginia on Saturday afternoon and drove half the way to the start in Georgia. On Sunday we drove down the rest of the way and parked Louis’ car a bit north so he could hike the first week with me.
We took a shuttle from Louis’s car to the start. It was driven by an animated man named Ron. Ron gives Gatorade and hand warmers to all hikers, and he packs out their trash. We had planned on a later start on Sunday since we had to finish the drive. When we got there with Ron, the other couple he was picking up got stuck in traffic, so we waited around for a bit.
The drive to Springer Mountain was a windy dirt road and we stopped every so often to stash water and talk to hikers. We got to the base of Springer Mountain around 5:00 pm with the sun quickly setting, so we said our thank yous and goodbyes and scrambled up the 0.9 miles to the summit, took our pictures, and jogged back down. From there it was another 2.8 miles to the campsite which had plenty of hikers huddled around a big campfire.
We set up the tent successfully (thankfully since it’s only been set up in our backyard and we were under the watchful eye of other hikers. I don’t want my trail name to be, “girl who’s bad at setting up a tent”).
Can’t wait to see what new adventure is around the corner.
2/27 (Day 2): Stover Creek shelter -> Gooch Mountain shelter, 13.0 miles
We had a little rough start to the day because it got into the 30’s overnight. Louis and I were both shivering all night and were glad to wake up alive with all of our digits and toes attached in the morning. I’m calling that a win. We got going without breakfast so we could start moving and warm up.
Under the advice of our shuttle driver yesterday, we did a short blue-blaze side trail to see a waterfall. It was impressive and a nice start to the day.
The forecast was calling for rain, but we were ready with all of our rain gear. Mother Nature was not going to surprise us on this front! When it started lightly sprinkling at a warm and toasty 60 degrees we laughed it off. We felt like pros. We did the three “butt kickers” and summited Sassafras mountain slowly but successfully, and felt proud that we accomplished a popular place for thru hikers to drop out. We witnessed one person calling it quits at the base of Sassafras.
Our elation didn’t last long, because we started summiting Justus mountain and the beautiful sprinkling of pitter patter on the leaves around us turned into angry, hard rain with wind so strong our cinched down rain hoods were coming off. We were getting nervous with the bitter, bone chilling cold but were having a hard time communicating our nervousness to each other because of the deafening wind.
After what felt like an eternity, but in reality was probably only 15 minutes, we turned the corner and found 4 people huddled under the jutted out side of a cliff around a gorgeous, warm fire. The cherry on top, not that the situation needed one, was one of them had a dog. We stayed around the fire under the wind died down, and had an appreciated uneventful jaunt to the top of Justus mountain.
We had a few wonderful down hills to finish before we arrived at Gooch shelter for the night. The forecast calls for 40’s-50’s tonight which means a more comfortable sleep and no fear of imminent death (as long as there are no bears!).
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I love reading these! I work a very demanding desk job with long hours and it’s like a little vacation reading everyone’s blogs. This is a great site. It’s so fun to follow everyone’s progress. Good luck–I’m routing for all of you.
One day it will be me I hope!