Part 1: Learning to Walk the Walk

Hey friends! Sorry we haven’t blogged in two weeks! The cell phone service hasn’t aligned too well with our desire to keep you updated on our trip. We’re going to split this blog into two parts. Clearwater is going to fill you in on the trip up to Franklin and I’ll bring you up to date. Talk to you soon!

Officially three weeks on the trail! I wish I could sit here and tell you how easy going it is and how we haven’t run into any problems. The bright side is that we have learned so many lessons and always can look back and laugh about all our ups and downs while living the trail life.

After our cozy stay at the Blood Mountain Cabins in Neel Gap we continued our way along the trail. We stayed at some great campsites at Whitley Gap and Low Gap. After Low Gap we hustled our way to Blue Mountain Shelter because there was a high percentage of a rainstorm that day. We arrived around 2 in the afternoon and had everything set up to hunker down and stay warm during the rainstorm. Shortly after getting set up, some of our trail friends arrived and convinced us to pack up and hustle down the mountain to stay at The Top of Georgia Hostel. If you would like to challenge your reflexes, hike down a mountain in a rain/hailstorm in just enough time to catch the only shuttle 30 minutes to your hostel. I don’t think I saw my life flash before my eyes so many times. I managed to stay on my two feet but unfortunately not everyone can move on cats feet…cough,cough….Creedance…cough.

Once we made it down the mountain we had enough time to rush to the parking lot as our shuttle arrived. There we were taken to the hostel where we showered, changed into scrubs – provided by the hostel while they did our laundry, and then we were shuttled into Hiawasee where we stuffed our faces with Mexican food and beer. After our stay at the hostel we were shuttled back to the trail and spent the day trying to out hike the thunder and rainstorm that was following us.

A couple days later and we had the pleasure of checking Georgia off and entering into North Carolina! The next couple days were windy, bitterly cold and resulted in us making our first big mistake. Anytime it is below freezing at night, always bring your water filter and bladder to bed with you so they don’t freeze and break. Although we made a rookie mistake, we met some trail friends who let us use their filter to fill up and push 17 miles into Franklin, NC. The hike into Franklin was a tough one but we were able to have a rewarding view once we reached the crippling summit of Albert Mountain. The fire tower at the top was amazing but sad to say was locked so we weren’t able to go inside.

On a positive note, we reached our 100 mile mark at the summit of Albert! When leaving Albert Mountain we still had a 12 mile hike to Winding Stair Gap where we could call for a shuttle into Franklin. An hour into our hike we realized that both our phones were dead which meant finding a shuttle would be difficult. Instead of freaking out we decided to push on and deal with issue once we got to Winding Stair Gap. As we made our final decent down the winding stairs we walked into a small parking lot right off the highway as a car pulls up. A friendly gentleman hopped out of his car and asked if we needed a ride into Franklin. We immediately accepted and jumped in the car and off we went into civilization!

Stay tuned as I pass on the phone to Creedance to share our time in Franklin up until our adventures in the Smoky Mountains!

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