Bye Bye Georgia
I am out of Georgia and currently in Franklin, NC. Took about 3.5 days to get out of the state. My friend and I definitely pushed miles. I’m at Gooders Grove at the moment recharging. Zen has been awesome. Very glad we stopped at this hostel. I feel a lot better this morning. Here are some updates.
I was dropped off at Amicalola around 9:30 and made my way on the trail. The stairs really suck. I did meet a group of really nice section hikers from New Hampshire. One of the ladies was named Heather, and she took a responsibility to remember my name. I thought about staying with her group at a shelter but I realized that I needed to push further than 12 miles. I settled down at Devils Staircase Campsite.
I ran into some trouble in the morning. I left my Sawyer squeeze filled with water in the pouch on my shoes outside my tent. My Sawyer must have leaked because my shoes were soaking wet in the morning. Not wanting to hike in wet feet and risk getting a blister, for an hour I tried to dry the shoes. I pressed the soles up against a dry log and waved the shoes in the air to speed up drying. I spent an hour doing this. Around 9:00 I made my on the trail. Oh, and also, there were a group of men staying at my campsite who were all very nice. Found out that they were section hikers and it turns out one of them has a son who goes to law school in DC.
Met some cool people today on the trail. Guy Pink, girl named Snail, and a shuttle driver named ChillBilly. Pink wanted to go to Damascus for trail days and asked if I wanted to go up with others to the festival. I politely turned it down due to my timeframe.
I had to go up Blood Mountain Today. Absolutely sucked. Hated it. I wanted to get through Jarrards Gap and Neels Gap because you had to have a bear cannister to sleep in that area. So that’s why I pushed today. Before I stated the ascent I ran into two people who it turns out were my age. They went to school in Alabama and they were off on a day hike at Blood Mountain. We all hit it off, and we all got to know each other. This interaction definitely made me question why I was doing this hike. I got their social medias and went on our way. Hope we stay in touch. After the ascent and descent of Blood Mountain I arrived at Mountain Crossings Outfitters. I was surprised to see some trail magic of some free pizza at the picnic tables nearby. I met some awesome people around here. I had a coke and five pizzas. I resupplied on an extra day of food because I was hoping to get to the NOC in four days. I trudged up the mountain with a section hiker from Chicago. When we got to the campsite most were staying at, I was disappointed that the stream was not running. Also looking at FarOut, this campsite had a mouse problem. I opted to keep on hiking to find a better site with water. I settled on a place called Bags Creek Gap where one lady from Alaska named Colleen was staying. It was just us two, and the campsite was amazing. Water wasn’t great, but running better than the last site.
I woke up nice and early and started on the trail. I needed 25 miles to get to this place called “Swag of the Blue Mountain.” Early morning hiking is the best. My fellow DCUL backpacker David would always say miles in the morning are “free miles.” He’s right.
I made a bad mistake and went to use a privy at a shelter that was a ways off trail. 1.7 miles off trail. I didn’t think it was going to be that far and so far down. Anyways, it wasn’t worth it. I wasted about two hours and so much energy going up and down from the shelter. Will never make that mistake again.
I had to go through a bunch of mountains to get to where I wanted to go. The descent of Blue Mountain was a rock field. I thought I wasn’t supposed to experience that until Pennsylvania. Tattered my feet.
I soon realized that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to the Swag, so I decided on staying at Tray Mountain Shelter. This happened to be a great choice as I showed up and the place was packed. I got to experience the full AT treatment with banter around the campfire with others. Once again, seeing people like this made me question why I was doing this hike the way I was doing it.
I popped some blisters and applied some disinfectant and wrapped them up. At around 9:00, some other person arrived at camp and said they did a 27 mile day. It turns out that they were also trying for a thru hike before they went back to college.
Miles: 22.59 +3.4 privy journey
I had found my hiking partner and we started on the trail at 6:00 to beat the summer heat. The goal was to get to the border and then take a shuttle to a hostel. This means we would have to do a 26.5 mile day.
We definitely pushed. Appalachia is not flat unfortunately so there were a number of tough climbs. At around 4:00 we got to the border of GA/NC. We planned at staying at Gooders Grove Hostel and Zen, the owner, was picking us up at Deep’s Gap, North Carolina. After a rough final ascent and descent, we got to the gap where Zen was waiting for us. I was a dehydrated and got a little sick. My Sawyer Squeeze lost it’s O ring and kept on leaking. Very upset. Need to buy a new O ring. Also, I do not like my Darn Tough socks. I will be switching to Injinjis. Toes keep rubbing up against each other. A fellow hiker named John gave me some of his liners. My hiking partner needed it more so I gave it to him.
Got a nice room at Gooders Grove. The shower and a soda lifted my spirits. But we were still very hungry. It was about 10:00 and most things were close except for bars. We found this one place called Mulligans. It was a trek and we had to walk on a dark road for about a mile to get there. When I walked in the bar, I quickly was reminded that I was in the South. Definitely hit my expectation of what a southern bar was like. Service was excellent and food was quick, cheap, and filling.
I went to bed at around 11:00.
We will have an easy day following all of this. 10-15 miles tops. Then we will push to the NOC and then head to the Smoky Mountains. I will be at the Smokies by the 17th now.
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