Last night the bro and I rolled into the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the Appalachian Trail near Bryson City, NC. Showers! Wifi! Coffee! Porcelain Toilets! Other humans! It’s overwhelming.
The bro parked his car here, and this is the end of the Trail for him this summer. He’s got things to do. I will be pressing on to Maine!
But since his car was here, we payed 18 bucks for the privilege of a shower and a bunk bed in a room with a nice guy named Doug.
Yup, this is luxurious living compared to the previous eight days.
We started at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia, and did 8.8 miles of hiking on the approach trail to get to the start of the AT. Yes, you read that right. We had to hike to get to the start of the hike.
At the end of the 8.8 mile trek (straight up) is Springer Mt., the official start of the AT. We had lunch there, and then hiked 8 miles into Hawk Mountain Shelter, where we spent the night, and met some of the nicest people and bravest mice I have ever come across. The mice were very interested in making lots of noise crawling through our packs and crawling on our sleeping bags. It was not a great night for sleeping.
The next day we did 16.2 miles to stay at a campsite at Lance Creek. We originally were planning on staying in a shelter further along the trail, but due to heavy bear activity in the area, you can’t stay there without a bear-proof canister, which we don’t have.
We woke up the next morning and did a 19 mile day over Blood Mountain, where we had lunch and saw the views, before hiking in the rain to make it to Low Gap Shelter. We were celebrities at Low Gap Shelter among some other thru-hikers who thought it was bad ass that we did 19 miles over Blood Mountain. They were noobs.
The next day was a real gut-buster. 23 miles over three mountain peaks: Blue Mountain, Rocky Mountain, and Trey Mountain. We started hiking at 8am and didn’t roll into where we would be sleeping, at Deep Gap, until 7:30pm. The were breaks for lunch and snacks and dinner and whatnot, but it was a long haul. Rainy and windy and chilly that night.
That was the longest day of hiking so far. We are averaging around 18 miles a day, which is good for this terrain and at the start of the trail. As we have been hiking my feet have hardened, my legs have strengthened, and I’ve been getting into better shape. People talk about getting your “trail legs”, and once you do that, it’s easy to get into a groove and really rock out the milage. This first week has gone a long ways towards getting me in the groove.
Most nights have been chilly, but bearable. 30s and 40s at night, and up in the 70s during the day. Really, we couldn’t ask for better weather so far. Most days have been sunny and clear. It’s only rained on us about 3 times, which is great.
We crossed the boarder from GA to NC on day five, and were SO happy to be back on our home turf.
We re-supplied in Georgia on day five as well, and took a shuttle ride into a grocery store to buy more food. It was then that I realized that I was really stinky. But would be 3 more days until we reached the Nantahala Outdoor Center, and a shower.
Which brings us up to the present. I will be hiking on today to the next shelter, and the bro will drive back home to Chapel Hill. He has pictures on a disposal camera, which we will get uploaded as soon we can. From here on, I’ll be taking the occasional pic and posting it from my phone.
Hike so far at a glance:
1 bear sighting
5 older women fawning over the Goodling boys in a grocery store in Georgia
3 amazing views from fire-towers
1 state completed (Georgia)
0 Blisters for Michael. (6 for Phillip)