Day Six: Ups, Downs and Crazy Quail
When I woke up and went to put my socks on, I got a surprise. My socks haven’t been drying inside my tent so I’ve been leaving them out of the tent under the vestibule (and on top of my shoes) to dry. Last night some little critter apparently had his dinner or very early breakfast while perched on my socks. He had eaten a seed pod and left the remaining pod and some seeds on my sock. Oh well! Guess it made a comfy critter perch.
Managed to get out of camp a little earlier today for my second 13 mile day. I had to go straight up Tray Mountain.
Tray Mountain was a tough climb first thing in the morning with 850ft of elevation gain in one and a half miles. Unlike some other summits, it delivered a great view.
I trekked 982ft from there down to steel trap gap in about 2 miles. Though the water source was supposedly .1 miles off trail, my whole group agreed it had to be around .25 miles instead. Still, it was probably the best place to hydrate. In fact, today’s water sources were difficult to space out properly without traveling a half-mile off trail or carrying a ton of water weight up some sizable climbs. I stretched the water reserves pretty good for some of this portion but it worked out. Oh, but don’t worry – apparently we were all get our swag on… No one has been able to adequately explain this “SWAG of the Blue Ridge” area, but it was amusing.
As I was hiking with Rene and Kringle, Kringle ended up pulling ahead and when we caught up to him he was staring into the bushes. Apparently a Quail (Correction: It was most likely a grouse) had flown into the trail straight at him, just as one had done to me a couple days earlier. He admitted to getting scared out of his mind and jumping like a ballerina. Ya, I pretty much did the same thing when it happened to me. It’s a lot of noise all of a sudden and out of nowhere.
Grouse: 2 – Hikers: 0
I think the hardest climb and descent for the day was about 4 miles down trail at Kelly Knob. One mile straight up a 820ft elevation gain and straight back down almost 600ft. I know some people who have hiked longer on the A.T. or elsewhere might not be impressed with the elevation changes, but for a Florida hiker who couldn’t possibly see more than 300ish ft in elevation gain if I hiked the entire Florida Scenic Trail, it’s still a lot of up and down – Especially for only Day 6 on the trail!
I needed a little extra water before the nights stop so we each got about a liter and then hiked to Dicks creek Gap. Ended up staying at the Top of Georgia Hostel where once again a kind soul payed for my hostel bed! I am so blessed!
While I was eating supper, I met southbound thru-hikers “Gap” and Frank and listened to all kinds of funny stories as well as some Trail advice. Might be switching my Sawyer Mini for a Sawyer squeeze after this trip. Also, the Injinji sock liners sound promising but I may not switch my REI sock liners out just yet. Still, the Injinji might prevent any issues between toes, which sounds great.
The perfect end to the night was sipping coffee and watching the sunset over the mountains from the back porch.
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