Finding Our Rhythm
Just Another Day
This morning a young meteorologist claims it is supposed to start raining at noon and continue nonstop for 12 hours. This camp is unusually lively compared to our previous mornings. Instead of individual groups going about their business this one has the sounds of one troup getting multiple people engaged with the morning happenings. It is a nice change although I find myself doing more watching than being engaged.
As it happens, rain does fall every now and then. It finally gets to the point where I put my gaiters on to keep my shoes and socks as dry as possible. The rain jacket goes on and the rain abruptly stops. Mother Nature is playing her cruel game.
Ridge Runners Care
The young lady who checked us in at Amicalola Falls is present as we pass by a parking area. She remembers us and asks about our hike. She is what is known as a Ridge Runner. They are sort of ambassadors to the whole thruhiking experience. Park Rangers without the firearms. Present at most of the early shelters and parking areas so far; providing information and gathering it as well.
When she learns of our early ills she produces a pad of paper and jots down who we are, what our symptoms were, and the prior stops along our route. From the information pieced together within the notepad it sounds like the overpopulated Lance Creek had a good chance of being the source of whatever was ailing everybody. Multiple reports of sick hikers a stop or two after stopping at Lance continue to arise. We feel lucky to have weathered the storm and continue on.
This Day Won’t End
This hike seems long. It was supposed to be over 7 miles and I still have just under 3 to go. Nancy Drew couldn’t solve the case of her missing headphones so she is using mine. I question her knowledge of 5S methodology. My hope is that both sets of headphones make it to our next stop. I smile knowing she took weight off of me and put it on herself.
The hike isn’t to taxing even though it continues to seem a little long. Cool weather dominates the day. The up and downs are minor compared to the mountains of the last few days. We stop to hydrate and then Becky is off. I am sitting in the woods in Georgia just listening to the few dead leaves rumble around on the ground that have not been cemented down with regular doses of dew and rain. Between their soothing splendor are glimpses of civilization; a plane overhead or a motorcycle throttling down on the hilly roads.
Three hikers pass me. I better go. I have yet to catch anyone and pass them going in my direction. Becky is thinking her trail name should be Turtle. As I continue to type this, two silver haired ladies pass by. Maybe my trail name should be Immobile. I take my last drink of 1000mg vitamin C infused water. It is hideous and doesn’t taste like orange juice at all. I know it is good for me so I choke it down and off I go.
I make quick work of the remaining hike. As I approach the shelter Becky, Elena, and Phillipp tell me to quit coming forward. The privy is not functional and there is a large contingent of guys who we know to have been sick the last few days. We are going to a different campsite about a mile farther.
Alex, another guy from last nights camp, has already headed there also. He is capturing videos and uploading them to YouTube under the name ASH. Some others from the previous nights camp are there also. The additional mile is not so bad. We set up the tent and eat. I’m surprised a one serving lasagna satisfies me. Becky has some kind of orange chicken that smells great but I don’t get a taste. It is supposed to rain tonight so hopefully we wake up to dry belongings.
A Rose By Any Other Name
The last five to break camp this morning is Becky, myself, Alex, and as always, Elena and Bison. Bison is the trail name bestowed to Phillipp. Part of his camp gear includes a shower curtain from IKEA that sports a large bison outline with rain drops all over it. Becky and I head out while the other three stick together. Their plan is to go into Helen GA tonight but we are more focused on getting closer to our food drop at Hiawassee GA.
Almost to the end of the days hike and we meet Rose. Rose goes by the trail name Betty Crocker. Betty earned the name by making all of her own food for the trip. She is having a tough day with her knees and feet. A friend is picking her up at the next parking area and taking her into Helen GA for the night. The trail has also taken its toll on us. The last few miles were more rocky hillside than soothing foot bath. Rose convinces us to go with her after making sure her friend has the room in his car.
Trail Magic When You Don’t Need It
Our 8 miles are up and we run into our first trail magic. Becky and I make it down the last part of the steep path ahead of Rose. Her friend, Jeff, is already there. Jeff is standing with some other people beside a pickup parked a little to close to the road. Some former thruhikers have chips, sandwiches, cookies and drinks. I only grab a soda and some cookies since we have decided to go into Helen GA for the night.
Shortly after reaching the parking lot our tramily of Elena, Bison, and Alex show up. They passed Rose and enjoy the trail magic while Becky and I wait for our fourth to complete our ride into Helen. Elena, Bison, and Alex grab a ride from a gentleman that Jeff points out is there to do just that very thing. I am not sure if the man is doing it for free as a trail angel or looking for payment as a simple shuttle driver. It is already 7pm-ish and we won’t see each other anymore tonight.
Rose and Jeff give us a ride into Helen GA. Think Gattlinburg with zoning laws that require anything within the city limits to be painted white with dark brown trimmings and named after something German.
We go out to eat and the pretzel appetizer is huge. And soft. And warm. Carbolicious. Becky and I split a salad for the main entre. We probably drink two gallons of unsweetened tea. Afterwards, we hit the laundromat. Guys vs girls in spades while we wait for the wash and then the dryer. Obviously, we try to give it to them but when we can’t take anymore bags without going back a hundred Jeff and I put the game away. Maybe next time ladies.
It is midnight and a quiet hotel bed is calling our name. We didn’t choose the thug life, it chose us!
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