May 13th 2018
Chattahoochee Gap – Addis Gap (mile 63.5)
15.9 miles
Total miles 79.4

It was such a lovely temperature last night. I have been sleeping in my sleep top and hiking shorts and sleep socks, with my sleeping bag draped loosely over me. And I didn’t bother with the fly so when I woke up in the night I could see the stars between the trees. I wanted to get a decent start to escape the heat, but it was already hot at 6:30am and even hotter by 7:30am when I finally left.

We had some big ups and downs today, it seemed like all we did was climb really high to the top of a mountain and then descend to a road, then go right back up again to another mountain.

The first one up to Blue Mountain wasn’t so bad. The trail was in the shade for some of it, but it was really really rocky in places. The rocks are tough on the way down. But I am aware about all the rocks coming up so don’t worry about that!

At the road crossing Unicoi Gap I saw my old friend Buzzy (the vodka man). He told me he got to the road crossing last night and he was picked up and taken to stay with some people in Hiawassee where he went to a beach bar. He had his stuff yard saled all over the grass, he was dressed in a grey tracksuit ensemble, and as he pulled more stuff out of his pack a whole bunch of sand came with it. As he is smoking a cigarette he realised he has left his phone behind at the place he stayed last night. With no way of contacting them and not knowing who they are, it’s unlikely that he’ll get that back. He has no guide book so he’s just winging it now.

He was showing me photos of his kid, and she also gave him a blanket to take with him. A massive blanket. He wouldn’t get rid of it so he ditched his sleeping bag as not all of his stuff would fit in his pack. I’ve said this to his face – he is a disaster.

Baker and Jessica came along and we continued on together. This is a popular day hiker spot and lot of people were out trying to hike up to the next mountain – Rocky Mountain. I’m a bit fed up of seeing day hikers, and it’s not because of the people it’s because thy represent being so close to civilisation. You see a day hiker and you know there is a road right near you.

It started to get hotter and I was just going so slowly. The humidity was just draining everything out of me. I was careful to drink and that’s why I took so many breaks today. Every time I stopped I made sure I drank. No headaches today which is good.

I leapfrogged a bit with my Floridian friends and every time they saw me I was sat down! I was also quite low on food today. I had a few goldfish left, a cliff bar which I ate for breakfast and a Twix. No candy which was a problem. Then I had a tuna packet to look forward to for lunch. My friends had planned a short day today and were only aiming to get to Tray Mountain shelter which was about 10 miles.

So we began the climb up to Tray mountain and it was the worst climb so far. I could make my body move. I saw a great water source and rinsed out my bandana and stuck that on my head. I washed my face and hands for the first time in 5 days. Not that I haven’t had the opportunity at the various water sources but because I just haven’t thought about it. Jessica soaks her feet at every water stop. I’m too lazy to take my shoes off.

It took me 3 hours to do 2 miles! I literally crawled up the mountain. And at the top there were people, no shade and a million bugs so my plan to eat some lunch up there, after my belly had been letting out some deep rumbles on the way up, failed. I carried on to the turn off to the shelter. It was .2 of a side trail so I didn’t go down there, and I knew my Floridian friends would have tempted me to stay. I found a tree and sat in the tiny bit of shade and ate my tuna. I sprinkled each mouthful with garlic salt and the salty goodness was amazing. Yesterday the tuna repeated on me a bit throughout the afternoon. Today the garlic salt repeated on me twice as much.

The next bit to the next water source was small ups and downs but even the small ups were hard. Between 2-4 the heat is the worst. I feel like I’m hiking along and then an incline happens and I feel like something is pushing me backwards. I stopped so many times. Then I did one mile of downhill in 20 minutes. Normal pace. It’s just the uphill, and the humidity. It’s a killer.

I arrived at Sassafras Gap where there were a bunch of people camped and where I needed to get water. The water was .1 of a mile down a really steep hill so that meant a steep hike back up. I dumped my pack and just took my water bottles. The bugs down there were intense. I wondered for a moment about camping there, safety in numbers and all that, but there were too many people there. Among them was a very loud American girl with a valley girl voice who was telling a story where she didn’t draw a breath for at least 10 minutes. I had planned to go further to Addis Gap anyway so I carried on.

It’s a very nice camping area with totally flat pitches. Probably the first really flat spot I’ve had. I set up quickly and jumped in my tent to get away from the bugs. I made my mountain house chilli con carne, which was the only thing I had and the last thing I wanted to eat because I was already so hot! I had a tiny packet of Doritos to go with it and I had forgotten how good they were. Definitely packing them out next resupply.

I started to think I would be camping alone tonight which I was absolutely fine with, I made a half hearted attempt to find a tree to do a bear hang but I wasn’t worried too much about it. I then heard voices and it was three loud American girls coming into camp. My initial thought was oh no, not them. But I went over and sat with them for the evening and they were all really nice. I shouldn’t be so quick to judge I know, but I blame the heat.

They were Sniffles, Sam (maybe Goldilocks) and Hannah. Hannah is a section hiker. Sniffles is a FLASH. Goldilocks is trying to get to Maine. But she has a 48lb pack. I have no idea how she picks it up. She unpacked her bag and we voted on what should stay or go, not that it made a big difference because she wanted to keep a lot of stuff. I was mostly a quiet observer, but I did have to laugh when the lavender scented bags came out. Apparently lavender bags don’t attract bears because the smell is found in nature. I find this a questionable theory. She was also carrying a set of colouring pencils and a colouring book, three tubes of sunscreen, about 7 pairs of socks and a lot of other things she really didn’t need. Oh, 3 pairs of shoes too. She can’t possible go with out the leave in conditioner and deodorant though.

I made friend with Sniffles dog, Ziggy, and he sat half on me while I was entertained by seeing what was in Goldilocks 48lb pack. 48lb!! How do these small girls do it?!

They haven’t hung their food so I haven’t either. Plus. I always think the bears might go for the dog! It was about 9 by the time I got into my tent, again I had a really nice evening and I’m now writing this late into the night. It’s 9:45!!

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