Days 3 – 7: The Start of Something New

Last time we connected, it was finishing up my dinner and about to head to bed on the AT!

Day 3: Soaking Wet to a Dry Bed!

Woke up to sprinkles on the tent then a direct downpour as we were packing up! The day consisted of long pushes in rain patches & took breaks the few times the rain did. Passed the time listening to my “pump it up” playlist from the CDT and was nice to keep morale up in the rain! Just another average day on the AT, at least that’s all I’ve heard! Walked through a torrential downpour for another few miles until we hit Unicoi Gap!

Sprout & I huddled under the info board with a roof as we decided what to do. There was thunder & lightning so continuing to the next pass was not a safe option. It was either camp in a puddle at the parking lot or hitch to town and pay the price of staying in town. As we both begin to shiver, we both decide we should call around for a ride to Hiawassee. 17 miles hiked today was good enough for us!

The lovely lady at the Green Dragon Hostel was, unfortunately, full but got us in contact with her friend who would take us for the night! Her friend, Grace picked us up from Unicoi Gap to bring us back to Hiawassee.

If we stay with this lady again tomorrow night, we would be able to slackpack the miles between Unicoi and the next gap, Dick’s Creek Gap! Slackpacking for the few that may not know, it’s essentially day hiking, but all the rest of your necessities for the thru-hike are waiting for you on the other side or at the end of the day.

Day 4: Slackpack to Dick’s Creek Gap

Up bright & early to get this slack pack done! A few people at this point have told us we should do this section “the other way” as the elevation profile is much easier. I think it’s a lot of elevation no matter the direction.  The forecast had a lot of rain in it, which wasn’t the most motivating, but a lighter pack sure does!

Got dropped back off at Unicoi Gap relatively early and got a good push of miles out before my first shoes-off break! Even if it’s taking my shoes off for 5 minutes, it always leaves me more energized after a break!

Not too long after this, we walked into our first rainstorm of the day, which was surprisingly short & sweet! Didn’t soak me, but did just enough to annoy me! Took another break once the rain stopped & we didn’t get any more rain until the last 3 miles of the day!

One last push to a warm shower, a phone call to my loved ones, and any treat I so desire! Resupplied food for the next stretch and even got a microwaveable dinner in hopes of a food coma! Posted my first blog and I was off to bed! Another successful day with 16 miles hiked!

Day 5: Dick’s to Carter Gap Shelter

Even earlier in the morning but excited for the milestones today has in store for us! Grace drove us to the gap with the weather gloomy all around us & honestly had me dreading the day! Lucked out with no rain on all 8 miles to North Carolina! Can you believe we are already crossing a state border? Compared to other trails this early milestone was a confidence booster and much needed! Now where’s that sign?! We need to get a picture!

First Sign! Georgia / North Carolina Border!

Strategized & checked in with each other at the border sign. We know more rain is coming, yet a physical shelter for the night is either real close, less than 5 miles, or a good push away more than 10 miles.

Take a guess which one we chose… The one that requires a good push! One of the many reasons why I love hiking with Sprout is that girl pushes!

As we hiked in & out of moderate to severe downpours, we eventually made our way to the shelter. We were too hopeful there would be room for us at the Carter shelter. The shelter was not only full but also occupied by 7 more tents scattered around it! Guess two more tents are being added to the mix! It’s time for dinner and bed, we hiked 24 miles today!

Day 6: Carter Shelter to Winding Stair Gap

Woke up to a big pocket of rain looming over us, as the supposed evening showers had now become morning showers. Lucked out with a pocket of light showers to quickly pack up and start to mosey to our first stop… Albert Mountain Lookout Tower for the 100-mile AT marker!

100 miles into the AT! Crazy how a few sticks can mean so much!

If we wanted to be super duper accurate we hit that milestone 8 miles ago, as we’ve done the approach trail to Springer Mountain. The approach trail from Amicalola Falls to Springer

Mountain are not counted in the “official AT” miles.

Met back up with Sprout at Wallace Gap (the last gap before the one we wanted) to strategize our ride back to town. Do we think we can make the shuttle in time? To catch the last scheduled shuttle we would have an hour and a half to hike 3.4 miles to the road.  

Can we do it?    Only one way to find out…



I was feeling good physically as I felt myself charging down the trail! I wanted that cheap shuttle to get us into town as we had time-sensitive tasks to complete. Even with us both pushing hard, we were “late” by 10 minutes.

Standing there a tad defeated, a small white shuttle bus pulls right up to us, and conveniently takes us to the mother of all resupplied stores, Walmart. Little did either of us know that time was ticking against us…

Food was all condensed in the parking lot, we were off to ship food ahead! Hustled up the road only to realize the times online, weren’t consistent. This place is closed and we are now screwed!

Well, crap. We both proceeded to sit on the porch in utter shock and disappointment. The post office was going to be closed by the time we got into town that’s why we were shooting straight for this gear store!

With a quick search & very good luck fortunately found a UPS store just across the way closing in 20 minutes! I’ve never seen us hustle so fast and with arms full of groceries! We were helped by the kindest gentleman from the UPS store. Packed up our food, shipped ahead & headache is over with.

We headed across the street to the McDonald’s to decompress and figure out how we’re gonna get back to the trail soon, another storm is brewing! It didn’t take long to find an AT shuttle that would bring us back to the trail!

Backpacks back on & away we go! Only one more mile north then we’re done for the day! Got to camp, took our time setting up and as I went to crawl into bed, it started down pouring! Down pouring harder than I’ve ever been rained on in a tent to date! Can’t forget to mention the thunder and lightning that followed! It was the craziest, yet thrilling experience thus far! Total for the day, 17 miles; go us!

Day 7: Puddles & Sneaky Snakes

Woke up with a puddle under my tent, yet lucked out to pack up in a drizzle! You begin to appreciate the little differences in precipitation out here. The gloomy clouds surrounding us weren’t the best indicator of our day ahead.

Had good weather in the sense of no rain, but overcast pretty much all day! Made the day feel like forever!

Just another day winding through the fog.

Met up with Sprout later on at a tent site that was a halfway point for daily miles. We usually check in with each other, see how we’re doing, and make sure we’re on the same page for our camp spot. Topped off our water with the company of a few other hikers and we were back to it!

Not even a half mile down the trail, a rattlesnake was crossing the trail. I saw the snake before the snake saw me. I tried to inch closer to try and walk around it, but I just froze on the trail. I’m not sure who was more scared of who, me or the snake.

We both stood there born trying to deter each other. The rather snake coiled in a ball rattling at me and my immediate instinct was to book it down trail the other way. Well, not a solid instinct but an instinct nonetheless!

To my luck, one of the gentlemen from the water spot was not too far behind me and was a snake lover! Perfect, perfect, perfect! My scared reptile friend has been moved off-trail & we can resume hiking!

Getting less than a mile from the shelter, I started reading more comments on FarOut (trail map app). The comments all say the shelter doesn’t sleep more than 6 people and there are very limited tent sites that are essentially mud patches. There are great grassy tent sites 0.4 miles south of the cabin under some trees with a great view. I decided to set up camp there and wait for Sprout. She got there and decided to push on to the cabin, as I was unsuccessful at finding the water source near camp. She gave me her water before she left & we will either reconnect in the morning or at the NOC tomorrow!

Either way, I’m tired, hiked 20 miles today & it’s time for some rest.

Until next time, happy trails! 🙂

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Comments 1

  • Linda J Elliot : May 16th

    Go Maddie…..


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