May 14th 2018
Addis Gap – Plumorchard Gap (mile 73.5)
10 miles
Total miles 82.3

I got up early in the hope of beating the heat. So I set of hiking at 6:30 and I was pleased to get my pack up time back down to half an hour.

It was a one mile straight up climb to start the day up to Kelly Knob and it was a struggle. Even though the sun hadn’t fully come up yet it was still horribly humid and I was sweating profusely. It took 40 minutes to do that mile which is too long! There were hundreds of bugs around me and as I was trying to make a little vlog they were dive bombing my phone.

I thought there was a tonne of bear activity on the trail today but after talking to some other hikers we decided it was probably trail maintenance rather than bears.

My knees were really playing up today, uphill was hurting the back of my right knee and downhill was hurting the front of my left knee. My left knee was hurting a lot at some points. To a worrying degree.

I saw someone briefly at the top and I thought I would catch them on the way down but whoever it was, was moving. I did eventually catch up to them and I later found out it was a woman called Grateful who is 51 and retired. Retired at 51! She was talking about having chiggers. What are chiggers I asked?

Apparently they are these tiny red bugs which you can’t hardly see and they burrow into your skin and leave an itchy red lump. I asked her if it looked like the things on my legs and she said yep. So looks like I have chiggers. She also said she came across a bear right on the trail this morning and she had to set of this little alarm thing she was carrying to scare it away.

I did some leapfrogging with Sniffles for a while until she realised that when she was ahead she was clearing the trail of cobwebs and hung back and let me go ahead! We made it to the road and tried for a few minutes to hitch a ride. When Grateful came down the trail she said she was just going to walk so we did too. It was only half a mile but I’m not keen on bonus miles. It was all downhill so it was ok and we got to the Top of Georgia hostel really quickly.

On arrival we were greeted with a free soda and then people could choose what they wanted to pay for. 30 bucks for a bunk room and a shower. 10 bucks for just a shower. 5 bucks for laundry. I did not purchase anything. I don’t feel anywhere near as gross as I have done before. I charged my electronics a bit and tried to upload some blogs and some vlogs. Doing both is really hard.

The hostel was nice but also a little odd. You know when old people really stress about tiny little things and they make the whole situation stressful? Yeah that. I went to check the resupply store, hoping that I didn’t have to go into town but the resupply options were terrible. They had no chocolate bars. What?! If you want poptarts, cliff bars priced at $2.50 – no – and knorr sides then you’re ok. But I didn’t want any of those things.

So Sniffles and I decided to hitch into town. We were told we wouldn’t get a ride from the hostel because the road is windy and we would have to walk back up to Dicks Creek Gap, a half mile uphill. No thank you. We took out chances outside the hostel and we got a ride in about 10 minutes from a guy who drove past but turned around to come and pick us up. We jumped in the back of his truck and moving fast with the wind blowing felt amazing.

He dropped us at the grocery store in Hiawassee and gave us a bottle of water each. So nice.

Resupply was a struggle. The store was MASSIVE. I couldn’t make any decisions and I was hungry. Don’t shop when you’re hungry. I ended up with 4 Twix bars, two packets of ramen, 5 x choc chip cereal bars, 5 x brownie cheesecake bars, a loaf of cheesy bread (?), a packet of normal tuna, a packet of vegan tuna (?!) and a huge bag of knock off doritos which contain 1820 calories.

I also bought a foot long sub sandwich. Turkey and cheese toasted and then stuffed with a load of salad. It was massive. While I was at the counter my accent was admired by a lot of people, it’s very southern here!

Sniffles and I sat outside the grocery store and arranged our stuff and we had a whole bunch of people come over and talk to us. They are a pretty hiker friendly town. I got asked if i was looking forward to the wedding and the baby? Oh the royals. They love the royals out here!

It was blisteringly hot in Hiawassee. To the point where I didn’t want to be in the sun at all. We went across the road to the post office and I posted a few things back to Deb and Jim that I haven’t been using, which lightened my load a bit. Sniffles and I were chatting to some other girls outside the post office when a lady came by and said “do you girls need a ride anywhere?” Well yes actually we do! So she gave us a ride back to the hostel. So nice! And she said if we had been staying in town she would have taken us back to her house and cooked us a nice meal and given us a bed for the night!

The idea is that we hang out at the hostel a bit and wait out the intense heat and hike on later when it was a bit cooler. We did hang out a bit but then one of the guy announced he was driving up to the trailhead at Dicks Creek gap and we made a split decision to jump in with him rather than having to risk hiking back uphill for that half a mile.

So we gathered our things together really quickly and jumped in the minibus and they wen continued to hang out at the trailhead. Guess who was there? Buzzy. He had his stuff strewn everywhere of course. He was waiting there for the people he left his phone with to bring his phone back. He had been hanging out there all day and he had hitched into town and back three times! He is a mess. He knows he’s a mess. His tent only had one pole. His tent need two poles. But he went around the parking lot collecting trash other people had left to give to the people coming to give him his phone, including the ziplock of raw bacon that was just left on the picnic table. Gross.

We did more hanging out until about 4:15 when it felt like it had finally started to cool off. We started to hear thunder and decided we needed to male a move before it started to rain. At least now there were some clouds in the sky so we got a little shade. I was showing off my umbrella and I found it had a hole in it. A hole! I’ve not even used it yet! It’s a tiny hole but it’s a hole.

Sniffles and I hiked to the planned campsite, she is much faster on the uphill but I manage to catch up on the down so we arrived at the same time. We made a .1 side trip to get water. It was a steep climb but it was worth it because it was really good water, and we saw a deer.

We had the option of hiking a .2 side trail to get to the shelter but we both decided we couldn’t be bothered and went to a little camp site just off the trail. It’s not very flat, but at least if it rains the water will run downhill! We set up fast and jumped in our tents to hide from the bugs. A little later on Hannah and Ant (the guy from New York) and Goldilocks arrived. She has given herself about 15 different trail names and I don’t think she’s stuck to one yet, but this one seems most appropriate.

After eating a foot long sandwich I wasn’t that hungry so I just had crisps and a bar for dinner.

I only hiked 10 miles today, but I did have a 7 hour break in the middle so that gives me hope to be able to step up the miles. I’m not worried yet, I definitely have time to be able to step up the miles, but the pressure is in the back of my mind. I do get sucked into hiking with nice people.

It didn’t rain but it might rain overnight. There is rain forecast for the next 5 or so days, so we’ll see what happens with that.

It’s a noisy camp tonight. It’s 9:30pm and Goldilocks is FaceTiming her family (I have no service, it seems like Verizon is what you need on this trail) and Ant is watching Netflix without headphones.


Watch the YouTube movie!

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

(Vlogs are a bit delayed because of crappy WiFi)

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