Week 2- Hello Tylerin, Goodbye Georgia!
We left Helen on Tuesday crammed into a truck bed with eight people’s backpacks (thanks Grace!) and hit the trail with high spirits. The climb out of Unicoi was brutally hard on our legs after a zero day, but we made it! Our RVA friends, Tyler and Erin, were actually feeling better than we were and saved us several times with all their electrolytes.
We camped our first night at a very flat but windy gap. We battened down the hatches on our tent because we knew it was going to rain overnight and into the next day. Despite the heavy winds and rain, we slept very peacefully. Packing up was a wet, messy affair; turns out flat spots are not great for rain. We pulled our tents out of a literal puddle.
The day was very wet and chilly, probably our coldest so far. Surprisingly, the worst part was when we stopped for breakfast at a drafty shelter. We got a brief respite of sun during lunch but got drenched again as soon as we got comfortable and took our pack covers off. We even got HAILED on for about 30 seconds, right after checking the weather and deciding the 20% chance of rain the rest of the night would be “fine.”
On Thursday we had a beautiful sunny day for crossing the border. We once again took a break at a low point (we keep saying we shouldn’t do this) and had a rough, rough climb up from the border. We camped with probably 50 people around the Muskrat Creek Shelter. We think this is the 2nd time we’ve camped with that many people. We cannot stress enough how crowded the trail is this year. We thought we knew what to expect with crowds but it has far exceeded expectations.
On Friday we high-tailed it four miles to Deep Gap where Tyler and Erins car (and a cooler full of beers) was waiting for us. We hung out, met a trail angel- Eric, father of Rapunzel, following his son up the trail in his CRV- then headed into Franklin for beers at the Lazy Hiker and an overnight stay in a hotel. We had some great beers, food, and fascinating conversation with a fellow hiker who had a career in the actual CIA. You meet the wildest people out here.
We had our first lay in bed and watch TV night while doing laundry last night. Today has been resupply chores followed by more Hot Dog time! Bryce realized when we were leaving Helen that he had left his poles in Hot Dog’s car when he left us! Hot Dog is an amazing friend and trail angel and agreed to bring us the poles here in exchange for Birthday Beers. Franklin has the nicest people- a woman at the bagel shop invited us to eat our bagels in some free space in her shop next door, everyone at the grocery store was super friendly, and the nicest employee at Outdoor 76 spent an hour with me discussing my blister problems.
We’ve spent a lovely afternoon by the river with fellow hikers and are excited to get back on trail. This week we will see the coldest temps we’ve seen so far and… more rain. We will also hit 100 miles! Life remains good out here, we are loving every moment, even the wet, cold ones.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.