How Do You Make God Laugh?

Answer: Tell Her your plans.

We knew that our schedule would change sooner or later, just not this soon! Snow and frigid temperatures have taken us off the trail to a hiker-friendly motel in Blairsville GA. We had planned one night here but will now stay until the temps get above freezing.

First Days On The Trail

Our schedule was abandoned our very first day on the approach trail. Thirty minutes before we hit the summit of Springer Mountain, the clouds opened up into a torrential downpour. We were drenched in minutes. Stopped for a brief rainy photo at the summit then continued quickly down the trail. The plan was to hike 3 more miles to Stover Creek; instead we stopped at the Springer shelter and set up camp. So first day & we’re already 3 miles behind. Yup, God laughed.

We snuggled in after a good camp meal, warm & dry. The next day we backtracked to the summit to sign the hiker register and take more photos before starting out.

The rain  held off until early afternoon and we set up at Hawk Mountain campsite in a steady shower. Made it to Gooch Gap on Wednesday when we started to hear warnings of a winter storm & strong advice to get off the trail so we called ahead to be sure we had a room. Another night on the trail (Lance Creek) before we hit Neels Gap and a shuttle into town.

Random Musings

Our pup, Bodhi, goes to sleep immediately when we set up camp around 4 or so and sleeps until sunrise. We are in our sleeping bags ourselves by “hiker midnight” (aka 7:30 pm) and wake at dawn. In the morning Bodhi wants to play. He’s quickly become the most popular hiker on the trail.

The ranger at Amicalola said that 25% of registered hikers will quit at Neels Gap, at mile 31. So we’re in the top 75% already! Tradition holds that those who leave the trail toss their shoes into the trees. Lots of shoes up there!

The rain & our exhaustion kept us from socializing the first few nights but we quickly experienced the unique camaraderie of the trail. When we had trouble getting a shuttle into town, Hannah & Shamrock insisted that we ride with them, even though it meant Bodhi was sprawled out across all our laps in the backseat.

Tips For Upcoming Thru-hikers

Campsites start filling up by mid-afternoon.

At this point, water is plentiful.

The hike down from Blood Mountain is worse than the hike up!

Toe socks only protect your feet when the socks are dry.

Cut your fingernails as short as possible before you leave.

If bad weather is threatening, book your stay AND your shuttle asap.

Should I give God another chuckle by sharing our plans for the next few days? Nope.  Stay tuned!


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Comments 4

  • Tony Sommer : Mar 14th

    Thanks for the update. I live 2 hours south of the trail and I was wondering how you all were faring with the weekend storm!

    Also, I appreciate your commentary on where you’re stopping each night. I’m planning on hitting the trail to Neels Gap this upcoming weekend, so it’s helpful.

    Good luck as you continue your journey!

  • Anne Woodward : Mar 14th

    Sounds wise to get off the trail if it’s snowing! Glad you are safe and making progress despite the weather!

  • Anne Woodward : Mar 14th

    Sounds like a good idea to get off the trail if it’s snowing! Glad you are safe and making progress despite the weather.

  • Steve Thompson : Mar 14th

    We think of you often here. I feel as if we’re in a version of “Around the World in 80 Days,” sitting safely in the club at home while we wait for dispatches and post your progress on our map. Vicarious, but still invigorating. And it’s fun reading of the strange ways of the indigenous people like “hikers’ midnight,” eh? Here is wishing you dry weather and an early spring. SRT


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