Waking up to find Kevin had been bit was quite comical that very cold damp morning. All of us were groggy and tired from our restless, mice infested night of sleep. What little dry clothes we had were getting damp from our underwear and base layers. Kevin who has now started to call himself Thunder ate our pop tarts and headed out to Tray Mountain Shelter for lunch. Only a brutal down up down up to the top of Tray Mountain.
In good spirits we trekked onward, down Blue Ridge Mountain to Uniquoi Gap. The trek to Uniquoi Gap was without peril, a nice slow down for the most part. Just a few rock steps and scrambles, for the most part the trail was quite nice and not too muddy. Dodge caught us about 80 percent of the way down and hiked with us to the gap. Right when he found us we were taking a break and just at our feet was this little orange salamander just laying there in the leaves. Onward to Uniquoi Gap, here we would run into some of our friends and catch a breather, chatting and catching up.
Heading back up again, this time over Rocky Mountain. This was going to be a long up and down, we were low and water and a little tired from the day before. 1000 feet down, 1000 feet up, and do it all over again before lunch. We knew there was a water source halfway up and when we found this spring we were so happy. Fresh water a little down time, that was until we walked another 200 yards and there was a full blown creek coming down the mountain. You’ve got to be kidding me, lol its always the case, just around the corner is something better. You just never know sometimes. Hiking up to the top of Rocky Mountain we were given a beautiful sight of Tray Mountain. We stood at this rocky outcropping and just watched the clouds roll over and around Tray Moutain.
Just one more mountain before lunch, Tray the second highest in Georgia we would climb. Our ascent felt as if it was taking forever. We passed hiker after hiker on our way to the top. Sparky had hit town the day before and we met him close to the summit. Sparky in tow we climbed the last few hundred feet of this mountain. Tired, mostly dry, we found that this mountain was very sharp, coming to a point at the top. The summit was only about 9 feet square at the top. Our altitude was so high that we were among the clouds. Our breathtaking view was the reward for the climb. The only next to do was head to the shelter for lunch.
Tray Mountain Shelter was cold, very cold. The only solace to the isolation you felt here was the natural spring for a water source. Food in our belly, refreshed, we decided to head to Addis Gap. Just down hill Kevin would keep saying, not so. The overall elevation change may have been down hill, but it was most certainly not easy. Between the mud skiing, the mud was so thick sliding five to six feet was inevitable and kinda fun the first few times. Hour afer hour we trudge the last six miles to Addis gap. All down hill he said, screw him. Today was proving to be a long day to the gap. Oh so close and what do we see, our long lost friend Not the Swede. We chatted for a bit and felt refreshed, alive, and invigorated.
The last mile would be our longest for the day. Our thoughts only on the Mexican food and an ice cold beer. Reaching Addis gap we headed left like we remembered Jean our shuttle telling us. It wasn’t long with our exhaustion that we began to doubt ourselves and wonder if we headed in the right direction. This last 3/4 of a mile felt like a week of walking, tired, sore, we trudged on. It wasn’t until the, what felt like the hundredth, turn in the trail that we saw Jean smiling and waiting for us. In town we sat at the Mexican restaurant and had one small beer. Oh how good it was.