We awoke early in the hostel. Refreshed from our miserable day before. We ate breakfast and stretched. Apparently someone in the night or evening went through our bags and stole food and other items. My knife, drink mixes, snacks, candy and possible some cash went missing, all of this was discovered throughout the day unfortunately. We hit the trail at Dick’s Creek and headed uphill for most of the day. Both Kevin and I were in great spirits as we started out. The first few miles were rough, up hill and not so gentle, but mild in comparison to what we would be doing later.
We passed our friends and caught up with others. It wasn’t long till we had a good pace going, taking breaks on the long winding up hills over two knows which are mountains in my mind. These things have some serious elevation changes. The farther north we get into georgia the less and less there really switchbacks. You just go straight over the mountains instead. The sun had peaked out giving us a great day for hiking, a little warm for me but nice once the breeze picked up.
We ate our lunch at the last Gap before North Carolina, that’s right North Carolina baby. Her we sat chatted and ate. This was the first time we met Maple, she is a solo thruhiker that just finished school and is hoping to make it to Damascus before returning to work. We had just gotten the introductions out when the other girl Mellow Yellow joined in and started talking about murders on the AT. Maple was a bit worked up and said “Yeah its safe,that’s what a murder would say.” Kevin and I looked at each other and did our bear stance as we walked away slowly never losing eye contact.
The next section was smooth for the most part as we left Georgia and entered into North Carolina. The second half of the day was horrendous, the ups seemed to go on forever and got steeper and steeper as we went. We climbed to nearly 5000 feet twice both with 400ft inclines over a quarter of a mile. All I can tell you is the NC is up hill from Georgia. Everyone was taking breaks going up these inclines. The only reward was one solitary view point at 5000 feet of the valleys and mountains around us. Just a mile to the shelter, just one more mile to end our very long day. Feet swollen, sore, tired, we trudged on hoping around every bend it would be our last. Then we heard it, the sound of someone smacking there shoes together. Oh god please let it be, can it be, it is the shelter our day is finally over.
I ate two dinners that night and more, I can’t tell you how hungry I was at that point but I would have eaten a third a few all that climbing. We all laughed and joked mainly about murders in the woods and the hostel. This is when we noticed all of what was missing from our gear. I made out alright though,I had found a water gladder, brand new, some light weight gaiters to keep the mud out, all worth more than just my knife and some food. Fully bellies and a warm fire we sat and joked more till we turned in for the night.