Start: Hiker Hostel, Suches GA
End: Hiker Hostel, Suches GA
Total Miles: 21.7
When we got to Woody Gap, another hiker named Ed was waiting for the shuttle to the hostel as well. He actually camped at Justus Creek with us the night before but he was all settled and we got there late so we scrambled to get the tent out, dinner made, and food bag hung before dark. Not much time to socialize.
Besides him, another hiker (Nick) who leap-frogged us a few times on day 2 showed up at the hostel later to complete our 4-person bunk room. I slept in a top bunk. It’s not as fun at 37, but I didn’t fall out.
The hostel is wonderful. Clean, bright, spacious. They can hold 20, but there were only 10 of us at (the filling and delicious) breakfast.
It started raining right about 6am. The weather channel showed just a small shower passing through so I was game to try and get back to the trail. I left it to K who asked if we could zero (a day off the trail where you hike zero miles). It’s 10 now and the rain has not stopped. She made the right choice. Ed stayed too, but Nick was itching to get back on the trail. I wish him warm thoughts but am happy his phone alarm isn’t staying the night with us.
It is wonderful to be dry. And have some time to strategize our next few days. We have Blood mountain coming up, the highest point on the AT in GA at 4,400. She’s not sure she wants to make the climb so we may arrange a shuttle for her to meet me in Neels Gap. You’ll have to tune in later to find out what she decides.
In honor of our first zero day, here’s a list of some other firsts:
1) first stumble. We got on the trail at 11:54. K took a knee to regain footing at 12:15.
2) first “trail magic” (gifts, usually of food, left by people (“trail angels”) at road crossings). At Horse Gap there is a road that dead ends at a couple’s house. We passed the road right as they were driving off and urged water and snacks on us. We agreed to the water and we’re very thankful for it on Sassafras &$@ mountain.
3) first hiker that lent us a hand. We met “Deej” at Gooch Gap shelter. When we debated getting water, he offered us an extra 1/2 liter he had filtered.
4) first wrong turn. Coming out of the Hawk mountain shelter for lunch, there was an obvious trail right in front of us. It was uphill, which seemed wrong but we started it. Maybe 1/8 of a mile up, I found a white diamond indicating we were on the Benton McKaye trail. Back where we started, it was easy to see the AT white rectangle blazes when looking towards the shelter. I’m still amazed K didn’t bludgeon me with her walking sticks for that one.
5) first Chinese food. The hostel only serves breakfast. There is a kitchen for guest use with their own food and a Chinese restaurant that delivers. Best Kung Pow chicken ever.
6) first hiker box. (a box where hikers may leave/take items). It’s really a hiker closet here. You could definitely make lunch/dinner out of it if you didn’t want Chinese. But most food left is too heavy/bulky/complicated to cook out on the trail. So far I swiped one bandaid so I don’t use up our trail first aid (stitches on leg still have a divot I am hoping will fill in) and q-tips(!!!! Very excited about these). We put into the box a small lighter Tom had left in the pack K’s using and a Swiss army knife K found on our descent of Springer day one. We saw a few hikers afterwards and asked, but no one claimed it.
7) first hostel. Just like everything else about the trail, you can read all you want but then you just have to experience it for yourself. While the shower, clean clothes, real pillow, and breakfast are awesome, I think I really enjoyed the first shuttle ride. Some friendly stranger riding up in a warm van offering to whisk you away.
Not as creepy as it sounds.
The great tent drying party after the rain. All tents invited!