Georgia On Our Minds

Day 154

We had a restful night at Gooder Grove Hostel. It was nice sleeping in and having a lazy morning. We set out to find some breakfast in town. The morning was cool but we could feel the warm air coming in. We had a nice southern breakfast (complete with biscuits and gravy) at a small place in town. We even saw some of Zen’s (hostel owner) family members with whom we shared Thanksgiving dinner. They wished us well and it was nice to experience the small-town interactions.

Zen dropped us off mid-morning on trail. We have a short day planned because of the storm coming in later this evening. It’s strange this is our last resupply, last hostel, last town, last nero…

We are tracking a few more weather systems, one tonight and another hitting midweek.  Looking ahead we should have a clear day to summit Springer Mountain in a few days.

The Long Branch Shelter is nice and will keep us dry tonight. We stayed in the loft area while a couple friends on their first ever backpacking experience had the bottom floor. We made a fire and had a nice time sharing hiking advice with the two friends.

Wild Style showed up later and sat with us by the fire. He shared news from hiker Thanksgiving in Hot Springs. Trip, whom we met way back in Massachusetts, is unfortunately off trail due to illness. He also confirmed there is a large SOBO bubble that will be coming through a couple weeks later but there aren’t too many SOBOs right behind us. He is planning to wait for some of the others to catch up so he can hike the final summit with them. Springer is definitely on all our minds now.

Day 155

Heavy rain came in overnight and luckily the shelter was sturdy and did not leak. Everyone hung around in the morning as the rain tapered off.  We enjoyed having a later start as we are just trying to enjoy every moment on trail as it’s our last week.

We set out and enjoyed the warmer temperatures. The terrain was nice and easy.  We reached the Albert Mountain fire tower.  This signifies that there are now less miles 100 miles to Springer (mile 2,094.3). We couldn’t help but think back to Maine when we hit our first 100 miles. It seems like so long ago.

We rolled over some small mountains and enjoyed the nice views. Then passed 2100 miles and were hit again by nostalgic feelings of our early days on trail playing the “remember when” game.

We enjoyed some more views from Standing Indian. We appreciate the clear views provided to us by the leafless trees.

We reached the shelter and enjoyed our time making dinner on our little camp stove knowing it would not be long before these everyday experiences became a distant memory.

Day 156

We had a colder night but we’re still trying to be thankful for every moment out here. The days and miles seem to be slipping away.

We cruised over the rolling hills and gentle switch backs then we crossed our final state line…Georgia. We reflected on all our states on trail: ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, NY, NJ, PA, MD, WV, VA, TN, NC, GA.

From the start we’ve been saying, “We’re hiking to Georgia!” Now we are finally in Georgia and the realization to actually have hiked over 2000 miles from ME to GA is unreal. We always had to take it one day at a time.  The big picture can be overwhelming in the beginning. The milestones we keep hitting are just so unbelievable.  We saw the new looking state border sign.  Eric has memories of hitting this marker in 2011. It was his first state border and to his surprise the old sign was still there.

There is a bittersweet feeling that this adventure is coming to its conclusion. However we’re excited to be in Georgia with only a couple days left until we summit Springer.

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