Tenting at Plumorchard Gap Shelter [mile 74.1]
Nothing happened overnight at the creepy-weird campsite. So yay! Got up after the sun was safely rising and climbed up out of that dell then right on up Kelly Knob (elevation 4171). These mountains continue to kick my ass, and I’m not sure how to get better at them, cardiovascularly speaking. Sometimes I stop every 4 steps for a breath. I play a game: 4 steps, stop, 5 steps, stop, 6 steps, stop, and so on. I have to assume I’m improving. But I’m usually covering 1 mile per hour on the uphills, and that won’t get me to Maine!
On the other hand, don’t they have great names? Everything’s a knob or a gap or a creek. If I were naming a shelter, I think I’d name it Knob Gap Creek Shelter.
Ahem. So anyway, the hiking was good today. Lots of ups and downs (shock!). Another sunny spring day. The bugs came out a bit, and I saw my first wildlife: two squirrels.
On the way dow to Dick’s Creek Gap… trail magic! Two hikers named Doctor Pepper and Trailwalker gave me a baggie of treats. Trailwalker is 70 and did the whole trail; Doctor Pepper is a spry 67, still biking after a quadruple bypass. He did the whole Georgia section. Both of them put me to shame!
After that, another long, hard climb up Buzzard Knob (3750 feet) then down to the shelter. For the first time, I’m in a shelter that’s nearly empty! Daddy Two Sticks from White Blaze is here, and one or two thru hikers. The shelter’s in an odd spot. Most of today’s hikers would have gotten off trail 5 miles ago to go into Hiawassee to resupply, and anybody who came back from Hiawassee this morning would have hiked mmore than 5 miles.
A very nice shelter, though. Three floors inside and plenty of flat places to tent. The water source is close and free-flowing.
Tomorrow, if all goes well, Doctor Pepper and I will have something in common.