Thru Hiker Finishes One Trail and Immediately Starts Another
Bama to Baxter Day 29 & 30
Miles Hiked: 39.7 miles
Day 29: 21 miles
Last night it began to absolutely dump rain around 4am so I wound up pulling all of my stuff into Mule and 5 Pounds’ cabin. Thank god for them because otherwise I would have gotten soaked. But instead I woke up indoors and all my stuff was dry.
I was able to sign up for breakfast and lunch yesterday at Mulberry Gap, so this morning I enjoyed a massive family style breakfast. These last two meals were just what I needed. My body was really lacking in fuel after days of being sick. But I feel completely back to normal now.
At breakfast I sat and talked to some of the Wild Women’s Weekend ladies who were all really nice. And after I ate I was given my sack lunch to pack out. So now I have a massive sandwich to eat later today which I couldn’t be happier about.
5 Pounds, Mule, and I all headed back to trail around 9:30am. It was a really beautiful day of walking but definitely had a lot of uphill. We hiked together on and off and took breaks together. I was so happy for this extra time with my friends. There are only 20 miles left of the Pinhoti so we have to enjoy it while we have it.
Part way through the morning we got passed by all the mountain bikers. First a group of about 8-10 guys who I had also met at breakfast. It felt like a victory lap to have them ride by and say “hey Massachusetts” or “hey Peg Leg.” And not long after that all the ladies from breakfast rode by and I got to experience it all over again. Some called to me by name and others said something like “Aren’t you the girl we ate breakfast with?”. It was pretty funny.
When we took lunch later on in the day I got to eat the most delicious Italian sub loaded with meats. And I slathered it in Mayo packets that I also packed out. It hit the spot and gave me energy for what was going to be a long day of walking.
When I was about 13 or so miles into the day there were a lot of blown down trees and rivers to ford. It was all pretty easy but just time consuming. And about 15 or so miles in Mule and 5 Pounds decided to set up camp. There were only 5 more miles of the Pinhoti Trail, and their ride wasn’t until noon tomorrow. So they were in no rush.
We said our goodbyes which was sad. I’ve been hiking with the two of them for nearly the whole Pinhoti Trail. After saying goodbye I set out to finish the last of the Pinhoti. Today is day 29 of my Pinhoti Trail hike, and it looks like it will also be my last day.
I got to the northern terminus which was in the middle of the woods. No one was there to cheer me on or congratulate me. I felt proud of myself for being able to finish a trail without anyone even knowing. Like my own little secret.
I had originally intended to camp at the terminus but there was no room to pitch my tent. So I wound up walking 1 mile on the Benton MacKaye Trail and camping there. That made it my first official night on the BMT!
Day 30: 18.7 miles
This morning I woke up and it was my first official day on the BMT. Many a climb was awaiting me today. I got up nice and early and began walking. And I quickly realized that the BMT was significantly harder than the Pinhoti. My first climb of the day today was the hardest climb I’d done in the last month on trail. The BMT sure doesn’t play.
I took breaks every few miles and enjoyed some great views. The trail just brought me up and down mountains all day so there were lots of overlooks. I was even able to get service and reserve a room in Blue Ridge, GA for the following day. I’m going to spend the night in Blue Ridge to do my final resupply before the Appalachian Trail.
Towards the middle of the day the trail became a bit of a road walk. I went through residential areas and then would weave back into the woods. All of the land was private but they made a small trail system for the BMT hikers. I wound up walking through a rental cabin community which was really adorable. Not a bad way to end the day.
The only place in the area that you were allowed to camp was a shelter inside the cabin community. That sounded good to me! Especially considering it’s going to rain tonight. I got to the shelter around 5pm and had done almost 19 miles. Quite the day, especially on the tough terrain.
I set up my camp inside the shelter and had a really relaxing rest of the night. And tomorrow I only have to hike 2 miles to get to the road to hitch into Blue Ridge. Gotta love that.
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