Appalachian Trail Georgia Section Hike: Day 2

Monday, June 9, 2014
8.1 miles to Deep Gap Shelter

Woke up this morning at 8 AM to the voice of my brother saying, “Derek, you up?” He had already got up and pulled down our food bags from the bear cables. There are black bears in this area so people hang their food from a high branch or from cables if they have been installed at the shelter. We didn’t see any bear activity, which is to be expected.

I got up and ate a typical hikers’ breakfast: pop tarts, oatmeal, and coffee. I started packing up when nature called. I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting the privy behind the shelter. Most shelters have a composting privy which, despite the way you may imagine it, is a bit of a luxury on the trail.

We started hiking at 10 AM. We stopped for a break at Cowart Gap and I reached into my front pouch hanging from my shoulder straps on my pack looking for a Snikers bar. My to my dismay I discovered a mouse had a midnight snack in my pouch last night. I left my pack hanging in the shelter and I forgot to take my snacks out of the pouch. A mouse had eat quite a bit out of the top of my Snikers. Lesson learned. Keep food out of the shelter.

We hiked on to Dick’s Creek Gap passing a Boy Scout troop on their way to Deep Gap where we started a yesterday. We filled up on water and then ate lunch on the stone picnic tables at Dick’s Creek. We did get a cell phone signal (I have an AT&T iPhone 5S) even though AWOL’s guide said there was no signal there. I sent a few texts home and then searched for a trash can but none was found.

With our bellies full we hiked up the 1200 foot climb up Powell Mountain. This was the hardest climb of the hike so far. The ascent was 1200 feet over 1.8 miles. I tend to hike faster than the other guys so I took lead. I suggested we meet at the Moreland Gap but for whatever reason I missed the gap. Once I got to the top of Powell Mountain I started leaving arrows made of sticks on the trail hoping they would see them and know that I was hiking on. I made it to the Vista campsite (.1 mile off the trail) and followed the blue blaze to the vista. The Appalachian Trail (AT) is marked with a white blaze, a 2 inch by 6 inch white rectangle painted on trees or rocks or whatever trail maintainers can find. I blue blaze is the same size and shape but it marks a side trail off the AT.

As I made my way along the blue blaze trail, I passed the campsite and a little further down the trail, I could see the clearing through the trees. I could feel my heart racing. I turned the corner and saw the massive view. After hiking in the “green tunnel” for two days, it was an overwhelming sight. I literally got chill bumps and I whispered a spontaneous prayer, “O my God…this is incredible.”

I sat for a moment, enjoying the view and then I hiked the back to the AT to make sure John and Jeff didn’t miss it. Once we all made it to the vista we sat for a while enjoying the view. We then hiked the 1 mile hike to the Deep Gap Shelter. We spent the night with three other section hikers. Kendall and Amanda who are on a two month hike and Sentor, a guy hiking from Spring Mountain in Georgia to Hot Springs, North Carolina. They’re hiking North. They were all very talkative and friendly. We enjoyed eating supper with them, laughing and talking about our hiking adventures.

We collected wood and made a fire. We sat by the fire as the sun was going down. I had another good cell signal so I was able to talk to Jenni and upload some pictures.

It was a great day. We only did eight miles but we had a tough climb, but we enjoyed a great view and good company at the shelter.