What can go wrong?

The ground sparkles here in the Georgia mountains. Concentrate on the shiny parts of the soil. So pretty today. Not like that moment in the pouring icy rain when I stood alone atop Springer Mountain, and with shaking frozen hands removed the register from it’s rock drawer and signed my name.

No matter what else happens, I have climbed to Springer. I.have climbed there the hard way. Now please understand, that every person’s journey is hard in different ways. I know that. My hard way is my own.

I arrived at Amicalola Falls at 9:30 a.m. on a sunny Friday. I’d not had any sleep in 26 hours, so of course I began my hike at the 604 step staircase around the falls. Several signs are posted informing people that the staircase was built with inmate labor. About halfway up, I decided that this particular construction project was the Chain Gang’s revenge on the law abiding.

My next move was the trail to the Len Foote Hike Inn.  Why the Inn?  Because I’d prepaid.  That way I could not back out.  I ended up stumbling into the Hike Inn at nearly eight at night.  TEN HOURS after I started at the falls.

The next night I made Black Gap on the Approach Trail where I met Teal.  Now,  Miss Teal is a two year old Pit Bull who owns a section hiker named Ben.  When I found out that my sleep system was inadequate, Teal slept with me to keep me warm.

The rain started at four in the morning.  That was my Springer day.  After two nights freezing with a dog me and a wubbie (thanks Ted from Daytona), I had had enough.  I met Luke the Drifter on my way down Springer and he drove me to Dahlongega where I bought a mummy bag.

Miles later, sore in body, mind and spirit, I am sitting at Mountain Crossings Walasi-yi at Neels Gap.  I have a bunk for the night.  I’m under a tree full of old boots called the Tree of Soles.

The hike gets better every day.  My breathing improves.  My knees seem to be okay.  I am meeting absolutely every one because every one passes me.  At my slow rate,  I will reach Katadin in 714 days.  I may have to stop twice and get work but the walk north continues.

lead image courtesy TranceMist

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