Friday, April 25, 2014

Day 11 - my first 15

 bigger miles continue, this was a hard push but we were proud! I pushed 15 miles today, however two were off trail, OH WELL! Live and learn. :)

Woke up with the sun today and the sound of hissing brakes from tractor trailers. Wow, I don't miss any of those sounds at all. I am looking forward to getting back into the wilderness and woods. Sleep is now peaceful there to the sounds of the night. Not sounds of hustle and bustle and everyone rush, rush rushing somewhere... nowhere fast. Really, think about it. Take in every day and every moment it is all that you truly have.
Top of Georgia Hostel, in case you missed it :)



He hated these shorts but later was so happy to have them, I would sing who wears short shorts as we hiked

Halleluiah


I am up and I hear Doggle and Kimber up behind me as she is starting to whimper, this means Doggle walked off without her. She gets so upset if he leaves her, she will start to cry so everyone tries to help console her when they can. It is early a.m. though and most are still sleeping and just starting to move. I lay around a bit to wake up and then Sir Packsalot comes through camp to wake everyone. You have an hour and a1/2 before the shuttle leaves for the trail head, two hours for Hiawassee. The shuttle waits for no one be ready. Free coffee in the house! "Did he say fee coffee?" I think I only really understood that. So off to the house with all the zombies for coffee. Many took part in the big breakfast of home cooked goodies he offers here for $7, we did not. Trying to keep costs down on the trail can be hard when you want to have some good food or a nice bed. Luxuries of home and things you miss. I don't mind sleeping in my tent, I actually prefer it, although I haven't tried staying in a hostel, but imagine a room full of bunk beds you share with oh 8 or more hikers. Sound refreshing? Even if on a bed that is all those other snorers and people, I prefer the comforts of my tent and the little privacy it gives me. I am often up late and don't want to impede on others and I can listen to my music and write, read, turn on my headlamp ..etc;

My home
The bathroom (two here) is a hot commodity, running water, a couch, so many fun things... I talked with the other hikers said bye to many as my days were running short and I didn't know who I would see again until trail days or other visits to the trail. I exchanged numbers and went down to pack up. Beef Jerky Pie and crew were heading off to slack pack the next section of about 15 miles with only water and snacks so easily saving them some serious weight. This can be done for a fee at various points on the trail. They were being picked up at 10. We however needed to run to town for a resupply and hit Blueberry Patch Hostel where I had several packages waiting. It was a quick trip to town, we were given 1/2 to do what we needed and get back to the shuttle or it leaves without us. So I ran to the grocery picked up some goodies for us while Fall and Oats hit the post office to mail off some food, he was carrying way too much, making his bag heavier than necessary. My first purchase, Starbucks, my weakness I haven't had it in t weeks. I only had half before we were dropped at the trail but it was deliciousness that needed partaking in. I also grabbed some summer sausage, I have been craving this with cheese ever since Blue Mountain and rescuing those boys. I also grabbed a tall beer to hike out to camp. We were going to eat good tonight.

Dropped at the trail head about 10:30 a.m. I realized I didn't have my shoes, only my crocs so off to the  Georgia Hostel I went another extra mile for my day. I left them because he has a special place for shoes and I was trying to be sure to catch the shuttle. Oh well. The Germans were hanging out with us a good bit of the time but they started on before I got back except for Bennett and Fall and Oats. So we started up the trail at this time. I was moving very slow and the heat of the day was catching up with us now about11:20. I felt very overheated in that first few miles, miserable, must have been all the hot coffee and no real water, I knew I needed to get hydrated and cool down so I took off some layers and put some water on my bandana on my head to keep me cool and hopefully soon we would be out of the direct sun. I was burning again on my arms. I was so sluggish that Fall and Oats even ran my pack about a mile down the trail while I got water. That is until I realized the water was at the bottom of the mountain I had just climbed and I was already nursing bad blisters I didn't need to climb it all over again and gave up. There would be other water sources and so I waited it out. In the meantime Fall and Oats offered his audio book "walk in the woods" I haven't read it yet, so sure why not. It would take my mind off my tough day, bad feet and over heated just bleh feeling. It def helped and he was able to hike ahead of me. I felt bad I was very slow, so he would hike for a bit and then stop and wait and move on when I got closer or asking if I needed a break. Great friend!! It can be tough on the trail when you don't feel good or are having a bad day. He didn't have to wait but he did. Finally by mid afternoon, lots of water, cooler temps and good eats I was feeling better except for my feet. My blisters now much worse on the back of my feet literally open sores now. I kept trying to re-wrap them. We caught up to the Germans, Ashley and Corey and some other hikers at a water source. I filled up, big mistake, It was even steeper than the first water source, this just wreaked havoc on my blisters, I took my shoes off and re-wrapped them again. We were off again and took a few small snack breaks but today was a big mile day and despite my feet we were going for it. We finally hit a sign for Nantahala Forest, I yelled with excitement this call I have been doing, it is a cross between something almost Indian and Mexican sounding. It helps our groups know where we are or when I am on top of the mountain. I was stoked to be back in Nantahala, this is where I wanted to get to, this was the forest I saw last October, mind you it was the northern end, but little things like this pick your spirit up so much. I was happy and hiking harder now. Then BOOM, NORTH CAROLINA!!! Say what!!! How exciting! I hiked from GA to NC!!!

WHOAH! New state, I hiked from GA to NC! We almost walked right by it. I think I forgot to sign in again, I am so bad at that.





We were coming to a camp at Bly Gap where many our friends were staying for the night which surrounded the twisted tree.


We decided 3 more miles we have this, let's keep going, it was about 5 p.m., we could knock this out. I ate some cliff bar and started up the next series of harder mountains with the largest gain of the day. It was tough but well worth it, we went slow and steady.
 

The views at the top where phenomenal. Then on to camp. I caught up with Ryan I think he is Ghost now but not sure, he was sitting at an overlook ready to watch the sunset and then came Kylie and Millie! Yay, camp and views. Sweet! We went down to find a spot and ran into Sasquatch too! We met Gator he was our camping neighbor and DQ, Texas Jack, Sweeps, Nick, Sam and Odysseus. It was a full camp. I even met a guy from Maryland that I did an overnight with three weeks prior. We met in a Maryland Shelter when I went out with friends for a small section/overnight. What a coincidence, his name is Groundscore now. He remembers me as the girl who gave him a beer, ha, could be worse right? It def could because as I remember it Gnarly Harley was giving me trail names I wasn't fond of and thankfully he was only joking so they never stuck. SO we will leave it as yes it could be worse.

Fall and Oats was kind enough to get camp started and told me I could go back down trail to catch the sunset, most of the camp was doing the same thing. It was beautiful, check out the pics below. Some of the guys had a fire going there too. It is such a community out here even if it is our first night/day meeting, we are all out here sharing the same/similar experiences and it brings you together. After the sunset I went back to camp and we got a fire going and hung out and got to know Gator. He is super cool and had lots of stories for us about when he hiked Kilimanjaro and spent time in Africa as well as some of his concerts he recently had been too. He wasn't going to bear bag, but we ended up saying something that made him change his mind, so we all went off to find a spot to bag and I had to laugh because he came out with the largest headlamp I had ever seen. It looked like he almost had a miners cap with a headlamp attached. It was so bright. He went to throw his line and all you heard was the rock take off and he almost put it right through his tent, then the line wasn't attached to his bag or came off and you just heard boom. LOL We hung out and shared food, ate our summer sausage and he shared some goodies and we shared our beer. YUM! Soon it was time for bed. The moon was gorgeous and right over top of us. No winds, it was a nice cool night. Weather was perfect.





 Camp for the night, we set up our tent just beyond the backpack here against some Mountain Laurel, of course. Elevation 4400 feet tonight.

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