Farewell GA, nice to meet again NC

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.

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Chef on the couch after raiding the continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Hiawasse, GA.

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Alli getting back on the trail after a stay in Hiawasse.

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Bill who gave me a back to the trail.

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Gus

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Slim and Easy Does It

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zhivago

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Georgia, North Carolina border.

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Me at the GA/NC border

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Bly Gap

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Bly Gap

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.

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Codger a section hiker who is a biology professor at University of Illinois Chicago.

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Bahala Na- Whatever may come. He is a cancer survivor.

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Muskrat Shelter, with a piece of the airplane that crashed in the mountains a few years ago.

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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.

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Trey a member of Nathalala hiking club doing trail maintenance.

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Chef resting by a creek.

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Climbing Albert Mountain, the first real rocky, near 75 degree climb.

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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.

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Joe atop Albert Mountain.

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Big Spring Shelter.

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The trail turned into a creek for about 200 yards.

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Tent city at Rock Gap Shelter campsite.

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!

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Hikers waiting for the shuttle to Franklin, NC at Rock Gap.

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Ron Haven’s hiker shuttle arrives at Rock Gap.

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Macon County Commissioner Ron Havens greets hiker as they board his shuttle bus.

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Havens works all day, 7 days a week shuttling hikers all over the Franklin, NC area for free. He also owns motels in the area that cater to hikers.

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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”

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3 Comments

  1. Scott Duncan March 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Great to see your pic’s & read the blog.
    Almost my first job on moving to WNC was w/ Forest Service for a year, maintaining AT & Bartram Trails. Beech Gap , Standing Indian — all those names bring back memories. I’m in AVL today, but holler when you’re going to be going through Wesser & NOC. Our house & woods in Andrews aren’t far away.

  2. cromagnus March 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Jdub nice pics! I read that the bent trees are actually native american trail markers. They would bend the trees as saplings to point along trails. As adult trees they are easy to recognize. Hope all is well in the woods watch out for the owls!

  3. Tammy March 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Love it! Love how you capture the little everyday things, the odd things, and the beautiful things. Keep it up!

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