I took a zero day in Hiawasse, GA at the Holiday Inn. The next day I caught a shuttle back up to to the trail at Dicks Creek Gap and hiked 11 miles to Bly Gap, crossing the GA border into North Carolina. It was very hot and I could not drink enough water. It felt awesome making it out of the first state, only eleven more to go! Georgia was no picnic though. I heard it is the third toughest state the trail runs through, New Hampshire being the toughest and Maine the second.
Woke up and hiked 12.1 miles to Beech Gap. I’ve been hearing owls every night, seems almost like they are following me.The day seemed like a constant up hill. Courthouse bald first thing in the morning to Standing Indian at the end of the day. I was exhausted and low on water by the time I reached the campsite.
I hiked the 15 miles from Beech Gap to Rock Gap Shelter the longest daily milage walked so far. There was a very steep mid day climb up Albert Mountain, this was the first rocky, near vertical climb. Made it to Rock Gap Shelter around 7pm, there was a tent city set up at the campsite.
The view was a great reward at the top of Albert Mountain. The summit of Albert also marked 100 miles on the Appalachian Trail, at that point I hiked 108.8 miles counting the approach trail. It was a good feeling but also the reality hit that there is still 2,080 more miles to go.
Taking a zero day in Franklin, NC. Macon County Commissioner Ron Haven picked up a group of hikers at Rock Gap with his shuttle bus. Haven owns two motels in Franklin that cater to hikers and he also shuttles hikers around the town to stop at the local outfitters, to go grocery shopping and eat at the restaurants, 7 days a week for free. Haven is Awesome!
I have been on the Appalachian Trail for two weeks now, the mountains are kicking my butt, I’m filthy, my stink is horrendous and total exhaustion is how my days finish, but I’m learning constantly, the scenery is beautiful, the people are great and my spirits are up. One step at a time.
JDW- “J Dub”