Ups and Downs

Up and down, up and down. Physically it is very challenging, but mentally it is the hardest thing I’ve ever encountered. My attitude follows the up and downs of the mountains. Sometimes I’m up elated high to the point of ecstasy and tears, the next moment i’m stuck in my head, all insecurities and self doubts come to life. I was at one of my lowest points after leaving Helen, GA. I was climbing from Indian Grave Gap to Tray Mountain and was really down, low energy and depressed. Struggling through the depression and thunderstorms I made it up to Tray Gap which is right before the steep climb up Tray Mountain and heard “Hey we have a Hamburger for you!”, it was Trail Angels Bill and Jeff. They do a cookout at Tray Gap yearly to feed hikers before their climb up Tray Mountain. I ate 2 huge 10ozish burgers,drank a Mountain Dew and ate some chocolate. Their generosity made me tear up, my mood shifted as quick as the weather. I hiked on to Sassafras Gap campsite to spend the night.

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Wolf singing “Freebird” at a karaoke night at the Hayloft Bar in Helen, GA. A drunk local got offended by his mashup of the southern anthem and offered him $20 to stop singing, Wolf turned down the money and the local put up a hussy fit and stormed out of the bar.

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Montana “Big Sky” in Helen, GA.

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Trail Angel Mr. Fordham gave us a ride back up to the trail from Helen, GA.

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Trail Angels Bill and Jeff set up at Tray Gap. They were cooking hamburgers for hungry hikers.

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Albert and Champ (dog)

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Tim “Took a Look”

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Montana “Big Sky”

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Uni Zoom at Sassafras Gap campsite.

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Uni Zoom trying to hang her bear bag.

Woke up after a rainy night and pushed on. Kelly Knob was a difficult climb. I made it down to Dicks Creek Gap and there was “Trail Magic” Peak Seeker was set up at the picnic area and cooking hikers hotdogs and hamburgers! Tim ” Took a Look” s wife Tina drove up and met us with their new Ford F150 and gave 8 hikers a ride down to Hiawasse, GA. I got a room at the Holiday Inn Express with Diesel, Montana “Big Sky”‘ and Chef. There’s a hot tub and continental breakfast!

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Rat Bucket before Kelly Knob. His name comes from the day he woke up and found a rat in his water bucket.

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Big Sky after a tough, rainy climb up Kelly Knob.

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Gran Bob taking a break.

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Peak Seeker providing trail magic.

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Enjoying food, drinks and candy bars provided by Peak Seeker

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Tim Took a Looks wife Tina met up with us and gave 8 hikers a ride down to Hiawasse, Ga.

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4 Comments

  1. Tammy March 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    It looks like you see a lot of people along the way. I assumed the trail would be lonely. Are you happy when you see people and want to hike together or is it just a passing hey and you continue on by your self?

    • jdwfoto March 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Hey Tammy,
      Trail culture is a huge part of the experience. Most Thru hikers I’ve met so far have been super cool and try their hardest to keep the motivation level of those around them high. By pushing others to succeed you help yourself to succeed. You defiantly have a ton of alone time and if you want to have a lonely solo hike you can do so. I love the camaraderie, interesting characters and interesting conversations, so I hike with people I get along with when I run into them. It us usually works like this, you run into lots of people who keep the same pace as you, some people you meet you never see again, others you see everyday, some you see days later on down the trail, at a shelter or town stop, or if you feel it you can link up with a group of people who hike together kinda like a little tribe. It’s really up to you. A popular trail saying is “Hike your own hike.”

      Peace
      JDW

  2. cromagnus March 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    This is really phenomenal Jon. Give thanks for sharing w/ us. Keep your spirits up looking forward to the day you get near asheville so I can join you for some miles!

  3. Asheville Joe April 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    I am so amazed at what you are doing, and love being able to see pics and read about it! Thanks for the posts

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