May 12th 2018
Bull gap – Chattahoochee gap (mile 47.6)
15.4 miles
Total miles 56.4

I slept so well. It was warm all night and I just left my shorts on. The only thing I don’t like about that is my legs get really sweaty and sticky against the thermarest. What woke me up was the loudest buzziest bee flying persistently around.

My food bag was retrieved by Baker, and I noticed it had some kind of chew marks on. So the bag was protected from the bears but not the rodents. I think the rodents are worse.

I keep getting up late. I need to start getting up earlier. I left first again. And I had to break the trail of all the cobwebs. There were a whole bunch of people camped scattered along various points of the trail. There are way more camp sites than the app marks.

This trail is weird. We cross so many roads all the time and they are major roads too. Paved highways. In the first 5 miles of today there was nothing but trees and humidity. And an abandoned tent, a fairy garden and a massive bug.

There were some steep climbs but they are all quite short. I guess everything is going to feel short compared to that 20 mile schlep up Fuller Ridge in Southern California. People were saying it was harder than yesterday but I didn’t think so.

We stopped to get water. There doesn’t seem to be much water about on this section. I sat longer than I would have normally as Baker and Jessica caught me up and I got sucked into the break. When I left Throat Punch had caught up and I crossed the road with her, that’s when we saw, or heard, a load of what I like to refer to as midlife crisis cars. Throat Punch thought they were Mustangs but there were Dodge somethings. And as predicted all driven by old white men. The toys of the rich American.

So we began to climb up away from the road, which seems to be something of a theme. Descend to the road, ascend from the road. I went on ahead. Unsurprisingly the 40 pounds of weight Throat Punch is carrying really slows her down. On the downhill however, the weight propels her forwards and she runs, I’m not sure if it’s by choice. She was off like a rocket and I had to jump out of the way to let her through. I was a bit worried about her. One wrong move and she will hit the dirt hard. We continued to leapfrog a bit with her outrunning me on the downhill and me catching her up on the up.

Eventually Baker and Jessica caught me up and we made our way to Low Gap shelter for a lunch break. It was nice to find somewhere that was in the shade. I don’t have very much food so I had no choice but to eat the tuna. It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be, at least it was plain and there was no gross flavour added to it. I’m going to struggle at my next resupply.

We were having a nice time chatting and Throat Punch arrived and it was all good. Until this stupid old dude arrived. I didn’t find out his name. I wasn’t interested. He was the guy who walked straight past me when I was trying to put out that fire. So immediately I wasn’t that keen. He came bustling in and after a few minutes he says ‘are you that British girl I’ve been hearing about’ and I say yes, what have you been hearing good or bad? He says I’ve heard a few thing but mostly good. I’m not going to tell you any of the things people have said but I’ve heard you’re going really fast and hiking hundreds of miles a day, but I’ve caught you so you can’t be that fast. I say well you heard wrong.

I may be thought of as fast by the people who are hiking 4-8 mile days, but I have never ever professed to be a fast hiker. I know I’m slow, but I’m slow and steady. I keep going and I don’t get to a camp site at 1pm and set up camp, so yeah I do more miles than them and I may appear fast to them. He went on to make comments about me being ‘so fast haha’ about 4 more times.

Anyway. I didn’t react at the time but his comment really pissed me off and I stewed on it as I set off down the trail. I went over in my head a load of smart replies which you always think of in hindsight. I ranted to camera and even though I knew I shouldn’t let it get to me and I should just simply stop thinking about it, I couldn’t and I rolled it around in my head over and over until I made myself upset. I cried a little in frustration. Stupid.

I started to think about all my friends I missed. Catwater of course. I thought about how she would really hate this climbing and this heat and how she would moan so much about it. I miss her moaning. And I miss getting to camp and chatting, or even sitting in compatible silence. And I miss my little Crusher and my little Québécois. And I miss other people too. And I miss people I should waste my time missing. The great desertion of 2017 cut deep.

Anyway. The heat soon took over as my main problem as it just seemed to be getting hotter and hotter. At least I was drinking more so no headaches thank goodness, but not very many urinations either. I think all my waste fluid is coming out of my face, with 80% of it coming out of my top lip. I stopped at what we thought was the last water source before our camp site and I drank about half a litre and carried out 2 litres. All the other people we met stayed at the shelter. Throat Punch, stupid old guy, Jake – who was drinking vodka with Buzzy last night and vowed to never hike with a hangover again, in this heat I just can’t imagine it – a German called Elizabeth and I bet there were a bunch of other people who ended up staying there too.

Baker and Jessica – who in my mind is called monologue because she can hold a whole conversation with herself – are going to camp at the same place as me, and we hiked together from the water source to camp. It was fun to get to know a bit more about Jessica and her pharmacist career. I kept up with them for a bit and then I needed to wee after all that water I drank, and then I really struggled. The heat was crazy, it was about 30°C but of course that temperature is taken in the shade and when you add in direct sun and a lot of humidity you get some unpleasant conditions. I felt like I practically crawled up the last climb and when I got to the camp site all I could do was find shade and sit and do nothing.

The heat zapped all our energy and the only thing I could eat was a hot mountain house meal, which I didn’t really want but ate all of because I was starving. We lounged around for what felt like ages and as the sun went down it cooled off a tiny bit but it’s still warm. I wouldn’t be cold if I was completely naked.

I eventually pitched my tent and had to seek shelter from the bugs. I have so many bites. All by this teeny tiny miniature fly that you can’t see but you can certainly feel it when it bite you. It hurts! And I now have all these tiny itchy red dots all over my legs. Add to that the biting black fly which is like a needle in your skin and all I could do was hide in the tent.

The others went down to the creek but it was a bit of a schlep so I didn’t bother, I didn’t want to climb back up! While they were there vodka man came through and I held my breath for a second as I though he might camp here but he carried on. Phew.

There was a pretty nice sunset, but of course there are so many trees everywhere you don’t get to see it properly. Baker hung our bags again which was really nice, and the people just down the path from us are sleeping with their food. So I’m not the only one who doesn’t mind sleeping with their food.

It’s funny because people spray themselves with bug spray and ‘clean’ themselves with wet wipes and put lip balm on, and they they put all that stuff in the food bag and hang it because it smells. But you smell of all the stuff you just put in the bag. So what’s the difference?! Plus we all just smell. What’s going to keep the bears away from that. Anyway. I’m more worried about the mice than the bears. They are more destructive. So my brolly is in my tent with me again tonight.

I got some decent downtime today and my chores where finished by 9pm.

Watch the YouTube movie!

So I’m trying this whole vlogging thing. Head over to YouTube to see today’s vlog