Enjoying the process, the people, and the experience
Note to self moment…don’t drink as much water before bed. I had to pee not once but twice in the middle of the night. Let me tell you that crawling out of your warm quilt to take the chilly walk to the bathroom is not fun so will definitely not be making that mistake again (fingers crossed).
So getting up this morning I was ready to go. I had my stuff packed so quick; however, I was reluctant to get out of my sleeping quilt since it was providing such warmth and coziness as I heard the wind whipping through camp and a subtle chill fill my tent. I made my brownie/oatmeal concoction that was pretty good. I definitely did not need a much as I made (although I ate it all) and I for sure burnt some of the chocolate on the the bottom of my pot.
I headed out about the same time as Bruce, Tom, Karson, and Great Legs (his trail name from a couple years ago but is looking for a new one…Karson occasionally calls him Rookie since he completed the AT a couple years back but makes random rookie mistakes). I ended up catching up to Sparky, Friday, and Bianca who had left a little earlier. I hiked with them until we got to Justice Creek which was the perfect lunch spot.
I had hummus and tuna on a tortilla which was pretty great not gonna lie. I also ate a cheese stick and a dark chocolate mint granola bar which was smack. While we were chilling at the creek, several other hikers strolled in, including Tom and Karson, and joined our dining location. After a solid 45 minute lunch break, we meandered to Gooch Shelter to use their lovely restroom facility…but actually it wasn’t too bad. After hanging out there for a hot minute we motivated ourselves to go the last mile or so to Gooch Gap to camp for the night.
Gooch Gap was a really nice tenting spot. It had a really nice water source, a solid bathroom tree (I’m a “wall/tree-sitting” pee person…is that TMI…sorry) and some nice logs to sit on or use as back rests. I also changed my clothes which was a game changer honestly. Catherine, one of the girls I met at Hawk Mountain, had us all doing a group yoga session which was super fun. For dinner, I had asparagus risotto which was delicious after I finally managed to cook it without getting distracted and almost boiling my pot over multiple times.
It was worth making it there because Willie the “Trail Devil” had soda and beer. I enjoyed a delicious orange Fanta which was so refreshing after a day on the trail. Willie told us that Trail Angels have food so he was a Trail Devil because he brought the beer and soda. He was so fun to talk to for a little bit. It was also special because it was my first Trail Magic I’d experienced on the trail.
Kat Kall led us in a group yoga session to stretch all our muscles out after the day on the trail. There was lots of laughter as we tried to test our flexibility, some being more successful than others.
The topic of the evening was the plans for the next couple days. We are anticipating getting some significant weather in the next couple days and trying to get over Blood Mountain in crazy weather can be sketchy. Karson, aka Traffic Cone, aka Mr. Man, aka Danger Dan (he hates us for all our crazy names but we honestly bring so much entertainment), proposed a plan to hike a little over 3.5 miles into Woody’s Gap and take a shuttle into Dahlonega and take a zero the next day to try and avoid the rain. While everything within me wanted to push toward Neels Gap before the thunderstorm hit, I was told by Great Legs what I had been telling everyone over the last couple days, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” It think it was good to hear my own advice given back to me.
In perspective of months on the trail…what’s a couple days? I’m learning that I need to sometimes just step back and enjoy the process, cherish these early friendships while I have them, and experience the trail without rushing it away. Looking forward to the next couple days and the adventures they hold…starting with packing up a wet tent in the morning because I can already hear the rain pitter-pattering on my tent.
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