AT Day 8 and 9

Danny took a 0-Day today and we stayed in this nice hotel on a lake. Before all of this we grabbed some hot dogs, buns, brownies, chips and some beer and did some trail magic. Met some cool folks from Maine that turned out to be friends if friends of Moose’s. And Lily the trail runner was there too. We last saw her at Hawk Mountain. The trail runners watch over the trail and hikers. Hard job yet coveted.

Ate some fried chicken and beans and catfish for dinner. Got to bed around 9 and up at 6. We left Danny at the trail at Dicks Creek Gap at around 8. Happy Trails my friend. (Follow Danny here)

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AT Day 7 – Unicoi Gap to Dick’s Creek Gap

We slack packed today. Lightened our load to about 10 lbs and knocked out 18 miles today on done pretty tough trails. It would have taken me two days to finish this section with the pack. It looked flat, but at the end on the day we had climbed over 5000 feet. Again we ended up in town due to rain. Not much tent time on this trip it seems. I was going to do the last 9 miles today to get to the border, but I’m not feeling it. Moose is getting off the trail and offered a ride back to Atlanta. I’ll check if that’s today or tomorrow. I have a plane flight back at 3 tomorrow. It’s been a fun week. Official AT trail miles is 69.2. Actual trail miles was 86.4 miles and 18.5k elevation gain.

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AT Day 6 – Poplar Stamp Gap to Unicoi Gap (Helen, GA)

Got a good night’s sleep, although it took me until about 11 to fall asleep. I probably could have walked 3 more miles before setting camp. Oh well. Today we did a short 10 mile day and bumped out to Helen, GA. It’s a cute German themed town. I sat in. Biergarten and enjoyed a Paulaner Octoberfest beer. We stayed at another hotel tonight.

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AT Day 5 – Neel’s Gap to Poplar Stamp Gap

We started today clean and refreshed and resupplied. My pack weighs 36.5lbs with food and water. I’d like to shave about 6 lbs off but I bought enough food to get me off of the trail Friday. Todays hike had some steep sections, but overall was another beautiful day on the trail. The last two miles were a warm hike along an old road or train line. Tomorrow I’m shooting for Deep Gap Shelter, but that’s a bit far at 21 miles. I will see how tomorrow’s hike goes. Either way, I’ll be getting to Dick’s Creek Gap on Thursday morning. If I get in early enough I can get a slack pack in to the North Carolina border and then head home Friday.

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AT Day 4 – Granny Top to Neel’s Gap to Blairsville.

We were all spread out today. Professor and DJ hiked by my tent about 7. Which means they left about 6:00. I think I figured out where Moose camped, but he was on the trail by 5. I left at 7:10 and then had to go back to far my hiking poles. I ran into Dannyboy at around 8. Today we attacked the dreaded Blood Mountains. They are about 1500feet of climbing over about 5 miles with a sharp downhill. I made it to Neel’s Gap at 1:00 for a 9 mile day. It was a perfect day to hike. We got a couple of rooms in Blairsville to shower, restock, and wash clothes.

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AT Day 3 – Hawk Shelter to Granny Top

We hiked a pretty leisurely morning. We stopped a couple time for snacks and water. There were a couple of stops that had trail magic, and it was really nice to have a soda and some fruit. We were going to try to make it to Woody gap, which would’ve been 12 miles for the day. But they weren’t very good camping spot so we hiked on the trail. We ended up splitting up again. Carl and DJ stayed back a ways. I made it to a place called granny top, and I think Moose and Danny boy are at. Lance Creek. We are all meeting up at Neels gap today. And the best I can tell I’m about 7 miles out.

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AT Day 2 – Springer Mountain to Hawk Shelter

Found my group at about 9 this morning. We shoved off about 9:30. Stopped at Hawk Mountain campground and decided to stay. Finished the day at about 4pm. Hawk Mountain campground is big. There’s probably room for 50+ tents. Nice pit toilet. Slept well. Got up around 7:30 and started day 3 at 8:45.

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AT Day 1 – Springer Mountain – Southern Terminus

Started hiking the approach trail at around 12pm. Somehow I passed my group and it’s too wet and cold to stop. Had a break at 2 and again at 4:30. Made it to the top at 5:20. The official northbound start of the Appalachian Trail.

I waited for my crew for about 75 minutes and watched the sunset. Decided to just go to the campground and set camp. It was cold and really windy but the tent setup was easy and warm inside without the wind. I was soaked from the waist down and peeled my clothes off and out on warm dry thermals and socks. Went to sleep at 7:30. Woke at 3:30 to pet the bears, and then woke again at 7:30. Breakfast was a mountain house skillet and coffee. On the trail at 9 and waiting again at the summit.

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Approach – Day 0

Stayed with Moose’s uncle outside of Atlanta. Interesting man, great conversation. Now off to pick up the last guy and head to Amicalola falls.

Definitely a nice place for coffee

Still driving. We are somewhere in Arkansas.

We’ve been on the road for 24 hours already, tag teaming the driving to keep momentum. The original map estimate said 26 hours. It looks like it’ll be closer to 34. Dropping the trailer tonight, picking up another hiker, getting a few zzzz’s and we should be at Amicalola Falls in the afternoon tomorrow. Hiking starts Friday. It’s raining now and forecasted to stop Saturday as we follow the storm east.