The water falls and the mice chew

Waking up after some good food was nice.  We packed up and left the hotel in Hiawasee and headed back to Tesnatee gap.  It’s been raining steadily for a few days now so we expected to be wet most of the day. The rains and mist hid any sights or sounds from us.  We set out to do 13 or so miles to Blue Ridge Mountain shelter.  The day started off good actually, we talked to pass the time, taking pictures every so often.

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The first leg of the day took us to low gap shelter. We had lunch and rested a bit, 5-6 miles was a good start.  We’d have to do another 7 after lunch which was mostly a steady up hill.  Still the rain poured down on us, sacking the warmth from the air. Our only solace from the misery of today was the waterfall after waterfall along the old mountain road. We made great time on the first 4 miles or so, the long steady road allowed a nice steady pace for the most of the afternoon.

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It wasn’t till the last two miles or so that we ran into the mud bog of a trail.  Each step was like running up hill in sand. Every step was arduous and all your effort was wasted in the soft sliding mud.  Squish squish squish mile after mile.  The only relief from the mud was the occasional rock scramble which turned your ankles to jelly. I’m noticing some it band pain from having to support the injured ankle.  The last mile drug on forever, on the map we saw a upturn in the terrain and it seemed as if there were a hundred of them while we walked. The shelter alluded us around every corner. Soaked, exhausted, and worn out we finally spotted it up on the ridgeline.

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Never did a shelter look so good and welcoming.  Cold, tired, and wet we walked the last few hundred feet being so happy to arrive at last. No mile has ever lasted so long. We were at every corner thought we were there, but not.  Getting some good food in we stripped and changed into what little dry clothes we had.  If it wasn’t cold and wet it was warm and damp.  Nothing escaped the moisture, being at altitude in the clouds. So tired and exhausted the mice and threat of mice were far from our mind.  That is until this morning, we awoke early after a restless, exhausted night to find my pack had been invaded by mice, droppings everywhere. Even better my brother had been bit by one in the night on his shoulder blade, clear as day there was a bite wound.
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