Rain or Shine, We Hike.
As we sit at Top of Georgia hostel in Hiawassee on day 5, it’s hard to know where to start this blog. There’s so much yet so little to say. We woke up each morning. We hiked. Mostly good weather. Some rain. That’s about it.
But actually that isn’t even the half of it. First, here’s the breakdown of our days for those carefully tracking our progress, i.e, moms and sister. My mom suggested we keep a mood log along with each day, just to keep track and take stock of our mood in the moment, rather than trying to do it retrospectively. Instead of doing a daily recap of the first five days….
Day 1: Springer Mountain to Hawk Mountain Shelter
Mood: Three smiley faces!
Weather: warm! Sunny, mid 70s.
Day 2: Hawk Mountain shelter to Woody Gap
Distance: 12.7/ mile marker: 20.8
Mood: Three smiley faces
Day 3: Woody Gap to just past Bull Gap (overshot camp site)
Distance: 13.2/ mile marker: 34
Mood: Two and a half smiley faces
Weather: cold, windy in the morning, warm and comfortable during the mid day hike.
Day 4: Bull Gap to Low Gap Shelter
Distance: 9.2/ mile marker: 43.2
Mood: RAIN! One smiley face during hike; Two and a half smiley faces at shelter
Day 5: Low Gap to Unicoi Gap (then shuttle to hostel)
Distance: 9.7/ mile marker: 52.9
Mood: Four smiley faces(SO happy to get to hostel)
Other things of note:
– blister count: 1.5 (laurel for the loss)
– rainy hiking days: 1 full miserable day
– thunderstorms with wicked lightning: 1, on night 1.
– beautiful weather: all other days.
– sunburnt noses:2 (although severity goes to laurel, again, for the loss).
We’ve been really lucky with weather overall. What was forecasted to be an absolute wretched weather week has been overall quite gentle. It’s been cool and chilly in the Mornings, but the sun has brightened our days and miles the rest of the days– save for day 4, when it was simply miserable. We started out with the ambition of putting in heavy miles, 13-15, to make the trek into Hiawassee faster. However, after 9.2 rain soaked miserable and fast miles, we stopped at Low Gap shelter around 12:30 for lunch and ended up staying the night. It only validated our decision to stay that our hiking counterparts with whom we’d been keeping pace with and camping around also decided to call it a day. So wait we did, all day and night as the rain came down. The shelter was full, so we pitched our tent right outside of it– which turned out being for the best as the shelter guests had a guest of their own, of the rodent category. And I personally don’t think the entire mountain would have appreciated the blood curdling screams I would have produced had I been in there. So, alls well that ends well.
But, other than that, the weather has been spectacular. We’re feeling strong and putting in good miles. If anyone thought being on the trail would quell my competitive nature, they are sorely mistaken. If anything, it’s a constant competition of how far can we make it today. Eric has tried to be the voice of reason and keep our sights on the end game. The fear of being knocked out of the game due to stress injury is real, so it’s been a balancing act between getting miles in and preserving our knees for the other 2133 miles we have left.
Today is our zero day, a day of much needed rest and relaxation. We’re likely to head out in the mid afternoon and plan to take our time to get from Unicoi Gap to Tray Mountain shelter, about 6 miles. So, not a full zero day, but we’ve been off our feet for 24 hours and are showered, laundered and rejuvenated.
If we can coax ourselves out of the hostel, we should hit the Georgia/North Carolina border in about two days.
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