Day 3 – The Sleep Talker

Day 3

Start: Gooch Mountain Shelter

End: Lance Creek

Miles Hiked: 8.3

Total Miles on AT: 24


Well, last night was eventful to say the least. I was expecting to enjoy a good night’s sleep since the temperature was a bit warmer than previous nights, but my expectations were ruined by The Sleep Talker.

The tent area at Gooch Mountain Shelter was packed and unfortunately we happened to be camping next to someone who didn’t just sleep talk, but also sleep shouted. At around 2am last night, what sounded like a full-fledged conversation between two hikers floated into our tent. It seemed to go on and on at full volume. I remember thinking to myself, “Who is having a conversation with another hiker in the middle of the night???” The fiance tried to get them to quiet down, to no avail. After a while, the conversation subsided. But, just as I was drifting back to sleep, it started up again.

I totally could’ve grabbed my ear plugs and blocked the noise, but 1) I was too warm and comfy in my sleeping quilt, and 2) I wanted to stay alert just in case anything happened. Suddenly, a shout erupted, “Cece! Get over here!” The shouter sounded angry and I had no idea who or what he was talking to. In my sleepy mind, I partially realized that this probably wasn’t a conflict between two hikers, but more likely an overactive sleep talker who just couldn’t shut up. The woman he was camping with tried to get him to settle down, but, since she was in her own tent, there wasn’t much she could do except tell him to be quiet (making more noise in the process.)

This continued for who knows how long. I eventually was able to get some sleep, but around 6am I was awoken again. “I’m sick of this! Come on, let’s go! I’m ready to get the f— out of here and these sh*tty woods. F— this, this ain’t fun for me no more.” This time, the guy was wide awake and clearly not having a good morning. Luckily for us, they were leaving at Woody Gap and not subjecting us to another sleepless night. They were among the first to leave in the morning and we didn’t see them after that.

With such an exciting start to the day, we were up much earlier than normal. Despite this, we were the last people to leave in the morning. However, our time improved and we left around 9:30 am.

As usual, I led a slow start on our morning warm up and we traversed a nice, smooth trail. Soon, though, we had a steep climb up Ramrock Mountain and enjoyed the most beautiful view of the area below. The clear blue sky stretched out covering the forested land that seems to extend forever. A spire of smoke drifted upwards into the sky in the distance and the hazy blue atmosphere coated the horizon. Earth is so magical.

Again on the steep downhill, my knee complained. It’s not getting any better, so I’m looking forward to our town days to rest it for a while.

We then arrived at Woody Gap, which was an assault on the senses after being ensconced in the peaceful forest for the past few days. I guess Sunday brings out the car and motorcycle fanatics because they were ripping up and down the mountain. We had planned to eat lunch there, but chose to go a bit further on trail away from the noise to eat near the water source.

After bars, crackers, and peanut butter, it was time to climb again. And again, it was steep. The climb wasn’t too long, but it was definitely long enough to get a good sweat on. Near the top, we were greeted with (another) beautiful view (is there a trend here?). Day hikers were commenting about how everyone coming up here with a pack was huffing and puffing. I just smiled to myself, knowing that what we were doing was more strenuous than one traverse up a small mountain.

Next was our last stretch to Lance Creek, our campsite for the night. I was a bit worried that many people would try to camp here and we wouldn’t get a tentsite since this was the last designated site before the bear can requirement area. Luckily, there was a spot waiting for us when we got there, along with a bunch of familiar faces seen over the past few days.

After camp chores, we had plenty of time to sit and chat before, during, and after dinner. Many jokes were had and laughter passed all around the circle. One guy that we’ve been hiking around is legally blind. He gets a few jabs, but everyone is in awe of what he’s doing and is happy to help him out. He goes slowly but always gets to the campsites. Another guy has a cast iron skillet and makes elaborate meals. There are a bunch of characters out here.

Tonight is definitely going to be warmer (in the 40s, yay!), so we can keep our filters outside tonight. And I longer have to wear all of my clothes to sleep!

And that’s day 3.

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