Miles hiked today: 10.7
Miles hiked total: 31.7
Miles to go: 2153.6
Today has a much warmer and satisfying ending than yesterday. We woke up at 7:00 and got out of the bathroom as quickly as possible before other hikers started showing up hoping to use the restroom. We hiked for a mile and then stopped at the top of Big Cedar Mountain for breakfast. I guess while we were up there, Chrissy told a passing hiker named Billy about our stay in the bathroom and the news of our sleeping arrangement traveled up the trail faster than we did. Every group of hikers we passed for the rest of the day kept stopping us and saying, “you the girls from New Hampshire?” – to which we’d say yes – “how was sleeping in the bathroom last night?” I had no idea how they figured it out! I thought we had been so sneaky. I found out soon enough that Chrissy told that one hiker and that’s how it spread. It doesn’t bother me that people know – I actually think it’s hilarious – but I was so concerned people were going to start calling me “outhouse” or something as my trail name which wouldn’t have gone over well with me.
Today we also hiked Blood Mountain, which I was told is the highest mountain (along the trail?) in Georgia. I didn’t find the mountain that challenging to climb. I was expecting it to be killer, but I think hiking in NH has definitely prepared me for all of the mountains down here. There have been times when I’ve hiked a mountain down here and didn’t even realize it until I was off the mountain consulting my map. The trails tend to switchback across the mountains, making the climbs and descents pretty gradual and pleasant.
What’s really nice right now is that spring hasn’t completely sprung and the trees are still relatively bare, which allows us to look through the branches out at the views, instead of being in the middle of dense forest, which would be the case if all the leaves had grown back by now.
Because we hiked more miles than expected yesterday, we are a bit ahead of schedule and decided to spend the night in Neel Gap at the Mountain Crossings Hostel. I picked up my first mail drop, showered (heck yessss!), and was able to check in with everyone back home and talk with my cat for a bit (the conversation was mostly one-sided). The hostel is also a complete outfitters, which is super convenient because I needed to buy myself a new water bladder (my original bladder froze during the night and subsequently cracked and started leaking upon unfreezing).
We’re staying in a bunkroom with 16 other hikers, one being a guy from Braintree, MA, whom my dad talked with on our first day and told him to keep an eye on me. That was a bit embarrassing (not kewl Dad!). Also, funny enough, he’s the same guy who spread the story of our bathroom experience up the trail. I didn’t put all the pieces together until just a couple minutes ago.
Anyway, it’s time for me to give Chrissy’s knee some reiki, so ta-ta for now!
This is the Tree of “Soles” at Mountain Crossings. Rumor has it that all the hikers who drop out at this point (around 10%) throw their shoes up in the tree as a final farewell.