Day 10 – Who’s Gonna Make It?

Day 10

Start: Poplar Stamp Gap

End: Unicoi Gap

Miles Hiked: 8.5

Total Miles on AT: 52.7


We won the award for last campers at the campsite again. Our fellow campers were early risers, plus we were passed by a number of other hikers as we were having breakfast and getting ready to go. However, we only had 8.3 miles into town, so it was no biggie.

The day started gradually. My morning thoughts rotated around some of the conversations we’d had with a few other hikers. So many of them seem to already come in with the mindset that they’re not going to make it.

The reasons range from time constraints to a lack of overall commitment to the full experience to even them not believing they can do the whole thing. People say, “I don’t know, maybe I’ll hike for a few months and then go abroad with the rest of my money,” or “I’ll see how far I get.” Maybe some people say they might not make it to save face if they decide to quit. Meanwhile, they harbor the secret desire to make it all the way.

In some way this shocks me because it seems like such a massive undertaking and sacrifice only to not fully commit to it. Why start if you’re not hoping to make it? I understand that some people section hike while others just want to be able to say they tried.

I guess it’s just a stark contrast to the hikers I met on the CDT. Since many of them had completed thrus before, they entered the hike with the attitude that they could and would complete the CDT.

From my perspective, the experience of the trail wouldn’t be complete without hiking the whole thing. I never strongly considered quitting the CDT (although I did fantasize about it sometimes), nor did I really hear people talk about it unless they were injured. But I guess this trail’s a little different. Everyone comes in with their own motivations and expectations. As is popularly said, hike your own hike.

Anyway, back to the trail.

We had a few climbs today, but nothing strenuous. We kept leap-frogging three hikers – one guy really wanted to talk. It’s funny, there are just those hikers out here who love to talk and crave that human connection. This is the perfect trail for that. 

And he wasn’t the only one. We met another guy who told us the whole story of his trail name, where he was going, and where he had been, unprompted. I love running into people who want to tell their whole story. As someone who’s not a talker, I thoroughly enjoy listening to a good story.

The descent into Unicoi Gap was long but not completely terrible. My knee got tired near the end, when all of the rocks appeared and forced me to bend my knee over and over and over again.

But, eventually we made it. I guess the hike today wasn’t too remarkable. My thoughts occupied most of my mindspace. In Hiawassee, we stayed at a beautiful AirBnb and had dinner at a restaurant with a beautiful view of the lake.

Now, I’m looking forward to putting my feet up for the rest of the night and planning out what I want to accomplish during our zero day.


And that’s day 10.


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Comments 1

  • Chris : Apr 25th

    I just wanted to say, that I’m enjoying your blog and writing style. It’s one of the ones I now look forward to reading. 🙂


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