Hiking 19 Miles by 11:00 a.m. for Chinese Buffet
Bama➡️Baxter Day 79&80
Day 79: 19.1 miles
This morning we all woke up ridiculously early around 2:30 a.m! I was feeling the vibe for sure. Sometimes getting up at a totally wild time has me feeling excited and energized. Everyone packed up and we were walking by 3:00 a.m. Boosted put on the song “Eye of the Tiger” which got us all hyped.
We managed to go 8.8 miles for our first stretch of the morning before taking a break. There was an overlook that we stopped off at, but you couldn’t see anything because fog had rolled in and it began to lightly rain. While we were there Spring Break and Tia caught up and then we all hiked on together. Not long after that break we arrived at shelter and all decided to stop off to use a privy. We also ran into a hiker Captain Blaze! I hadn’t seen him since maybe day four on the AT which was crazy.
From there we continued along and did another six miles. Then we found a nice overlook that actually had some views and decided to take a quick break there. We only had 3.6 miles to go after that to get to the road to hitch into town.
By 11:00 a.m. we arrived at the road and had gone 19 miles. Nineteen miles by 11:00 a.m. sure isn’t too shabby. We were all feeling like stars. There was a guy at the trailhead doing a bit of trail magic. And it turned out after talking to him that he was OBX’s husband! We met OBX and stayed with her back in Hiawassee, 69 miles into the AT.
Her husband gave us a ride into town, which was so incredibly nice. He dropped us off by one motel, but they were fully booked up. So we headed down the street to try and book a room at a different motel. We managed to get a room and then brought all of our things inside. After that we walked across the street to go eat at the Chinese buffet. The buffet opened at 11:00 a.m. and we showed up around noon, so all of the food was incredibly fresh. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food actually was.
After we ate, we headed back to the motel to chill out. I walked across the street to do my resupply and I talked to my dad on the phone while I was there. Then I retreated to the room to lounge and rest my body.
Later on, we went across the street to get Mexican food for dinner. They were doing a $5 margarita special, so all of us couldn’t resist getting in on that. And for dinner I got the most delicious fajita burrito. I had a good bit leftover which I brought back to the room to eat as a midnight snack. But the guys and I walked down the street to smoke and when we got back to the room I realized that Roxy ate my leftovers. I love that dog, but in that moment I was so pissed. Then we ended the night watching some funny TV.
Day 80: 25 miles
This morning we woke up pretty early in the motel. The guys wished me a happy birthday and then Spring Break and Tia came over to surprise me with cupcakes that had a 27 candle on them. I felt really loved. It was such a great way to start off my 27th birthday on trail. This is my first time actually being on trail for a birthday, so that was really cool.
We left the motel and walked over to Hardee’s to grab some breakfast. Then we had to do a short walk back to the trailhead.
While we were walking back a mini van drove by and two hikers Holy Shit and Smoke stuck their heads out to holler at us.
We kept on walking and wound up doing 8.5 miles before taking a break. It began to lightly rain towards the end but fortunately we got to a shelter and were able to take a nice long break inside. It rained pretty heavily for a bit and then lightened up a little. All of us stayed in the shelter for quite some time before finally continuing on. It’s sadly supposed to rain for most of the day today. Happy birthday to me!
The next two miles we were walking in the pouring rain pretty much the whole time. There were no shelters coming up and we couldn’t find anywhere to get out of the rain for a break. So we wound up just pushing on until we found something. We passed by a rocky overhang which seemed just big enough for Boosted, Sweet Pea, Roxy, and I to hang out under. There we ate some food and got a bit of an escape from the downpour. But as the sweat dried on my body, I wound up getting super cold. I was definitely riding the fine line between being dangerously cold.
Fortunately, after just a few minutes of walking I warmed up again. The rain also lightened up a bit as we continued to walk. By the time that we arrived at the next shelter it had stopped raining entirely which was great. But sadly, the shelter was entirely full so we couldn’t call it a day there. We had to keep going.
All of us were able to enjoy a short break at the shelter, however. Around 4:30 p.m. we all packed up and got moving again. My right knee was feeling a bit sore, but it fortunately wasn’t too persistent. It was definitely due to the fact that we have been doing longer stretches today in between breaks. And I wasn’t able to stretch at our last break under the cliff, so that didn’t help.
After that final break we only had four miles to go to a shelter which was hopefully empty. It’s supposed to rain more tonight and tomorrow so it would be great to be able to stay dry. When we were a couple miles out, we passed by a hiker Mountain Crusher and his family. His dad gave us some hard-boiled eggs and white claws. Then had to a final big climb for a day which completely kicked my ass. It was unbelievably steep to start and I was huffing and puffing the whole way. Eventually we got up to the top and then took the spur trail to the shelter.
Two other hikers Plum and Pinto were set up inside. They made room for a few of us to fit which was great. We had planned to do 27 miles today for my 27th birthday but wound up only doing 25 miles. The shelter was far too alluring to pass up. That’s just how it goes sometimes out here. Things don’t always go as planned and that’s ok.
Inside the shelter I got situated and then made dinner. Spring Break had packed out mini red solo cups and pong balls so that we could play beer bong at the shelter picnic table. It was really fun to watch everyone playing and getting so into it. Then later on we all called it a night. I was happy to be sleeping nice and dry in the shelter, especially since all of my clothing and gear was still soaking wet.
My butt chaffing also got way worse today which sucked. I’ve noticed that it really only flares up when it’s rains and my shorts are wet all day long. So before bed I lathered myself up in aquaphor and just hoped that it would be better tomorrow.
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