Friday, March 21, 2014

Days 1-6 Rain, cold and wet....finally sun!!!

Day 1, Sunday 16 Mar 2014-
Start Big Stamp Gap, USFS 42 parking lot, 1030
End creek side, 1530 hrs, 4.7 miles
We hiked 1mile south to the top of Springer Mtn, GA and the official start of the AT.  It was pouring down rain and cold.  The trail was a creek.  We took our picutes at the start plaques, killing our camera in the process.  We then headed north to Maine.
We met "Doc", a retired army medic on the trail and had lunch with him at Stover Creek shelter.  It should be noted that most everyone on the trail has a trail name, which I annotate by using quotes.  Our trail names are "Hendo" and "Hendo's mom".
We hiked 4.7 miles today, stopping to set up camp at a campsite along a creek just north of Three Forks.  It is still raining, we got a small fire started enough to warm our hands.  We bedded down at 1830.

Day2, Monday 17 Mar 2014
Start Creek side, 1200 hrs
End Hawk Mtn Shelter, 1600, 3.4 miles
Today we figured we would sleep until the sun woke us up. Well with it still raining there was no sun and we slept until 1000 hrs.  We were on the trail at 1200 hrs.  We wore shamrock headbands in celebration of St patricks day.  Today we completed 3.4 miles stopping at Hawk Mtn Shelter.  The rain stopped, but it was still cold and wet.  We were fogged in all day, could only see 50m in front of yourself.  We had our first big climb today up a small mtn before the shelter and it sucked ass.  The shelter was full and lots of tenters.  We are tenting regardless of shelter availability, because we don't want to deal with the mice.  Everything is damp, except for our gear safely packed in ziploc bags in our pacs. Hiking all day in wet boots and socks sucks.  Hopefully "BOB" (Big Orange Ball/sun) will come out soon.

Day3, Tuesday 18 Mar 2014
Start Hawk Mtn Shelter, 1100
End Cooper Gap, 1600, 4.2 miles
We got up and on the trail 1 hour earlier today.  We conquered Sassafrass Mtn, which totally sucked ass, a 661 ft climb mostly straight up.  We did a total of 4.2 miles today arriving at Cooper Gap at 1600 hrs.  After Sassafrass Mtn is Cooper Gap, we were going to have to continue on over Justus Mtn to Justus Creek because there wasn't any water at Cooper Gap.  However, 5 min after we arrived at Cooper Gap, Trail Angel, Survivor Dave showed up with 6 gallons of bottled water....TRAIL MAGIC!!!!!!  Because of Survivor Dave we and 5 other tents were able to spend the night at Cooper Gap.  Trail Angel Miss Janice came by with beer, soda and wine.  It was still cold, wet and foggy all day.  However, the rain stopped and a breeze came through so we were able to hang up and dry out our tent and start a good sized fire and dried my boots and socks....yay!!  The ranger medevac did a few fly-bys.  We were in bed by 1930 again, which is pretty much the trail standard.

Day 4, Wednesday 19 Mar 2014
Start Cooper Gap, 1000
End Gooch Gap 1530, 4.9 miles
So much for staying dry, it rained last night so our tent is wet again, but my boots, socks and clothes are dry today.  We got up at 0800 and was on the trail at 1000, we are getting better and earlier each day.  We started the day off with a 286 ft climb up Justus Mtn. We are finding our groove and techniques that work best for us.  To me the uphills are work, but the downhills are what cause me the most physical discomfort.  Downhills are killer on the knees and ankles.  We ended the day at Gooch Gap at 1530 hrs, completing 4.9 miles.  there was some nice dry split log firewood someone had left so we made a nice big fire. No rain and slight breeze so we dried out our gear.  Met a retired 65 yr old couple doing a thru-hike, Wesley an army infantry vet doing an ETS thru-hike, William from Cornwall, England and Simon from Heidelberg, Germany.  In bed at 1930.

Day 5, Thursday 20 Mar 2014
Start Gooch Gap, 1030
End Woody Gap, 1430 hrs, 3.8 miles...Hiker Hostel,Dahlonega
BOB!!!!!!!!!  First day of spring and sun!!!!!!!  Made it up and over Ramrock Mtn.  We are getting better at our techniques, downhills are still killers.  I have been elevating my feet on my pack at the end of the day, massaging my feet and ankles.  I am also making it a point to stretch before starting off in the morning.  This along with nightly and morning motrin is keeping the aches and pains at bay.  I have been fighting a cold since we started Sunday, so we decided to spend tonight at a local hostel 6 miles down the road from Woody Gap.  We thumbed/hitchhiked a ride from woody to the hostel from two very nice ladies, Christina and Thelma, great trail angels.  Our room at the hostel is awesome, it is a shipping container!!  We got a ride into Dahlonega to the walmart so I could get some medicine, and so we could get some dinner and a few supplies we needed.  Get to sleep in a bed tonight yay!!

Day 6, Friday 21 March 2014
Zero Day, Hiker Hostel, Dahlonega, GA
I, Ilene/Hendo, was still hacking up phlegm today and the room/shipping container we have stayed in at the hostel was still available, so we took our first Zero day today. I am feeling better, so we are back on the trapiail tomorrow.  We bought a new camera today, so we are on track to share pics


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