Monday, April 23, 2012

The First 80 miles...

This past week has been the most fun and challenging week of my life. I'm sitting here in Hiawassee, Georgia taking my first ZERO day of the trip. Doing laundry, resupplying food and getting some well deserved Yuenglings in my body.

I can hardly write about some of the things that have gone on in the past week. But to summarize I can say a few things.

1) Rain & Fog- it has rained on us everyday since leaving Amicalola Falls. Unfortunately this coincides with us NOT seeing most of the amazing views we worked so hard for at the tops of the mountains we are climbing. Take Blood Mountain for example. It is the highest mountain on the AT I'm Georgia. We pushed a 17 mile day to make it up and over the 4461 peak. We reached the top and climbed the slick rocks that would usually reward us with an amazing, 360 degree view. We could see about 50 feet in the fog. The old AT addage applies, "No pain, No rain, No Maine". We have payed a few dues the past week.

2) Damn descents- I laughed as Banjo and I quite literally would RUN down the mountain sides. We would fly by the older gentleman and ladies who would carefully place there next steps down the trail. After about losing 6000 total feet in the descents the pain caught up with us. It's just not normal for your knees to take that kind of beating. For the past few days we have been hobbling down the hills on fragile knees and wishing we wouldn't have been such idiots and took it a bit easier in the beginning.

3) Proper Shelter- No shelter was as important as the end of the day 3. The 17 mile day up and over Blood Mountain and the push to Neel's Gap ended with us lucking into a cabin and a hot shower and shelter from the storm. Add on the frozen pizza we ate that night and a place to dry our gear and you had a happy group of hikers that night.

It's hard to write all this on my phone. There are a hundred stories I could share and many more photos to come. I will keep all my posts brief and to the point until the trip is over and have the time to reflect and organize more. Until them friends and family, I am having the time of my life. Stay tuned for more in the near future.

We enter North Carolina Tomorrow and have a week or so until we enter the Smoky Mountains. The weather just turned down to the freezing point and we will be spending many nights above 5000 feet in the coming nights.

Heading north...


Brandon (hikerb) said...

Im hikerb on Im just now getting to catch up on yout blog, really enjoying reading about your trip! How is the golite quilt holding up in the cooler temps? I just got one during the 50% off sale but it's not going to get very cold in AR for a several months.

Stephen O. said...

I think the GoLite quilts are solid. I use the Big Agnes system myself but I have a few friends that love their quilts. A buddy I'm hiking with loves his and hasn't been cold once. And the summer bags are super light. Hope that helps