Tenting at Addis Gap [mile 64.2]
Miles today: 11.3
So, here I am, cowboy camping again. It’s a beautiful spot near a creek, down in a dell with a big firepit and some smaller ones. I have the place all to myself. It’s kind of creepy, camping alone—but this time I didn’t have much of a choice. There’s a shelter 2 miles down the trail, where I imagine there are 30 people. But those 2 miles are up a steep incline, and my feet are really sore tonight. They feel like raw meat. And I was also nearly out of water. Sometimes you have to choose from several situations that are less than ideal.
Got a slightly flustered start this morning. When I checked in at Hiawassee, I asked what time I should come out for the shuttle. The guy said ‘five of nine.’ So at 8:55 I was saddling up when somebody knocked on the door. The shuttle driver. Everybody else (eight or nine of them, including Jon and Inchworm from Trail Journals, whom I hadn’t met yet) was already in the van and waiting! In the rush I lost one of my glove liners. Out here every action has repercussions, more than at home. Anyway, I dont’t think it’ll be a problem. They were wispy little things and not much use. I still have my mittens and rain mittens.
The day was stupendous. It warmed up from about 30 to the sixties. You could really feel the spring in the air! From Unicoi the trail climbed Rocky Mountain. After fhe descent into Indian Grave Gap… trail magic!
Two guys named Fishhook and Panda, who thru-hiked a couple of years ago, had a ton of snacks and food and water! They also had some great advice. (I ask everybody for advice.) All I took was some water and some little Snickers bars, because right across the street was Tray Mountain, which I’d been nervous about for days.
Tray was beautiful. The views were spectacular, as always, and it felt close to the sun. A great warm morning.
After that, it was up and down all day. I was hoping to get more than 11 miles, but the pack was heavy with the fresh resupply of food.
I do miss my old bubble of hikers. The faces I’m seeing now are new to me. But that’s how it is. We’re like a thousand salmon swimming upstream. The people around you are always changing. The trail is the only constant.