Total miles: 16.4 including water stops
Good Lord, today was hard. Like, “beat the stuffing out of a person” hard. I woke up and cleaned the dried blood out of my nose and looked at the ugly yellowish scab that is forming over the scrape. I’m officially hideous. I hope everything heals without leaving a giant scar or getting infected. Amazingly enough, I had no bleeding at all today and felt great! Maybe my deviated septum was shoved back into proper alignment, ha!
I honestly can’t believe I accomplished what I did today after feeling so awful yesterday following that fall. The climbs today were huge and unforgiving. Unicoi Gap, Tray Mountain, Kelly Knob, and everything in between. Water stops were farther apart and they were all off the trail one or two tenths of a mile that inevitably went down a steep hill, which meant a steep climb up. Give a hiker a break!!! Tomorrow, I leave GA behind and I am so excited to have this state finished.
Today I passed a group of folks from Atlanta who are in a hiking group. They asked to take a picture with me, and sure, ok, so I took a picture with them. Then a little farther down the trail I came upon an older man from their group. He turned around to see me and immediately fell over. I was so horrified for him and felt like I should have given more of a warning that I was coming. Tonight at the shelter, I was telling the story and just lost my mind laughing about it. The guy’s Apple watch asked him if it needed to call 911 because it had detected that he’d fallen. Isn’t that nuts?!
Met another solo female hiker today along the way who was headed to our same shelter tonight, which was nice because when I got here it was 10 guys and me. Everyone has been so nice though and Big Red has become a familiar face who is on the same schedule. We’re going to do the next few days together and stay at the same hostel in Franklin. There aren’t a lot of women out here. Half the people out here are connected to the military in some way, like ex military, contractors, etc. I’m keeping up with soldiers, dammit!
There were a few views today on top of Tray Mountain and Kelly Knob, but not nearly as many as I’d hoped. Tomorrow we’re going through rattlesnake territory and two people I passed today had seen some. It’s nerve wracking knowing there are so many around. As cool as I think it would be to see one, it also scares the crap out of me and I’d be totally ok with not seeing one.
The heat has been off the charts and I’ve been sweating more than I’ve ever sweat. I drank 6 liters of water today and probably could have had more. Electrolytes are so important!!! If I’d known it would be this bad I would have packed more Nuun tabs. The last climb of the day was BEYOND. Think steep incline that didn’t stop and just went on and on until I thought I would surely perish on that mountain. When I got to the top of Kelly Knob, I tried calling Rob, but it wouldn’t go through. Sprint is garbage. Verizon is the only thing that works out here. Even when it shows that I have Sprint service it doesn’t work.
When I was on Tray, I walked away from the shelter to eat lunch at a view, and no sooner did I sit down, when this family came and plopped down right next to me. They’d hiked 1.5 miles to get there and were talking about how tired they were. Please. Their dogs looked exhausted. One dog stared at me while I ate. Every time I pulled something out of my pack, their kid would walk over and stare at it, like he was waiting to see what I was going to do with it. They also thought the AT was 1500 miles, but I made sure they knew it’s 2200.
Tonight I had to do a PCT bear hang and I’m a freaking pro, let me tell you. Threw the line over a branch after like 8 tries…ok, whatever, I’m getting the hang of it…and then rigged up the bags. The bear box here had mouse droppings in it and smelled like death, so everyone was hanging food instead.
I’m trying to avoid the hiker stench and I washed my clothes in a stream, but they still stink. We all stink. Maybe it’ll keep the animals away.