I'm up to just about mile number 70ish right now. Hopped off at Dick' s Creek and hiked in towards Hiawassee, GA (Yep, the town where Deliverance was filmed) to stay at Top of Georgia Hostel and Hiking Center. Nice place! Greeted with a soda as soon as I walked in the front door, so I knew I was home. It's so great to be able to do laundry, take a shower, stay in a real bed and get a shuttle into town to resupply and grab a bite at a restaurant. I almost feel human again!
So, I've been posting a few pics on FB this past week, about one a day, mostly of me and fog and creepy trees. And I wish I could say there was more to take pictures of, but with the crummy weather, i havent been able to really experience the fantastic views from all the lookout points at the top of each mountain. And boy oh boy have i climbed some mountains. That is literally all i do all day... climb straight up for a few miles and then straight down for a few miles, straight up, then straight down. What i wouldn't give right now for a 20 mile, monotonous, flat straightaway just to break it up a bit.
Anytime family and friends have asked how it's going so far, my response is honestly: it is so ridiculously hard, painful, insanely difficult, amazing, fantastic and awesome all rolled into one. Many times, especially towards the end of a long day when my legs start to get a bit shaky, I think to myself "this is stupid" and "I can't handle the pain" but as soon as I get to camp there is an instant thought of "That was a fantastic day!" It's such a weird emotional roller coaster, even over the course of a single day.
And then there are Zero Days (days where you do the hostel/hotel/town/resupply thing and you don't get any miles done) and Nero Days (Nearly Zero days) that are a whole different dynamic and give you something to look forward to all week.
Today (Fri, Feb 16) was a Nero, since it was about 4 miles from the last shelter to the trail head and then about a half mile road walk to the hostel. Feels great to get things cleaned up and organized and ready for a new day tomorrow.
Random story: So, I finally got a Trail Name. My name is Mickey. All because of the story with the mice.... so, a couple nights ago I was setting up in a shelter, getting ready for bed. I took the water filter off the top of my Smart Water bottle so that I could put it in my sleeping bag with me (if it freezes, the filter cracks and doesn't work anymore, so my body heat keeps it warm). Well, I couldn't find the regular screw cap for the top of the bottle and then I got distracted with doing other things and totally forgot about it. So, there was no top on the bottle all night and it just sat in the side pocket of my pack which was hanging on a peg on the shelter wall. The next morning, as I was packing up my stuff, I pulled the water bottle out and to my horror saw that 2 mice had climbed into the bottle and were now floating dead inside. Uggg, it was so freaky. But also looked kinda like those ship-in-a-bottle things where you can't figure out how it got in thru such a tiny opening. Anyways, of course the other hikers instantly decided that this should make a trail name for me. "Chow Down", who is one of the people I've been hiking with all week, suggested names like "Mouse Killer" or something like that. I vetoed that right away. But after a bit, and based on how much I talk about Disney, my name became Mickey. Since then, I've had to tell that story to quite a few people who've asked about how I got my trail name and every time people agree that that incident absolutely had to create my trail name in some way. So, im glad i finally have one... but i feel bad for the poor mice that died because of my little mistake... but it made for a pretty good story.
Here are some random pics!
Chow Down earned his trail name by ordering pizza the day before to be delivered to a trailhead parking the next day at noon. That is devotion to food. We sat under a trail info sign and ate in the rain.
If you want to know what most of the trail so far looks like, it's this. Rocks, leaves, mud and all straight up or straight down.
Sooo many pretty streams and waterfalls!
And this is actually what I look like when I get to the top of a mountain, not the smiling face I post on FB. Just a look of pure exhaustion.
Look at this shelter! It has almost 4 walls and a loft! Living the posh life!
Top of Georgia Hostel!
I made strawberry shortcake for everyone in the bunk house, Chow Down bought some guac and Amanda had a pile of girl scout cookies from a family member. Oh crap, we forgot about the cheesecake in the freezer! Yep, Chow Down really fits his name!
Whelp! Til next time, y'all!
Lots of love, Erin aka Mickey