Appalachian Trail Georgia Section Hike: Day 7

Saturday, June 14, 2014
16.2 miles to Hawk Mountain Shelter

Fell asleep by about 10:45 PM last night and slept good until 1:30 AM. Laid awake listening to music till about 2:30 or so and then shut off the music and fell back to sleep listening to the sound of the creek behind me.

Jeff woke us up at 6:45. It didn’t rain last night but my tarp was wet with due. We ate breakfast and hit the trail by 8:15 AM. We have found our rhythm hiking. We quickly climbed over 1000 feet in elevation in 2 miles to the top of Big Cedar Mountain which was an open rick face with great views. I laid my tarp out so it would dry and I talked to some weekend hikers who climbed up to photograph the full moon the night before.

I posted a picture of the view and uploaded my blog from yesterday. We hiked on down to Woody Gap. There is a parking lot, trash cans, and great cell service at the gap. I called Jenni and talked to her a bit. It was tough not talking to her last night. It has been a great trip, but I miss her.

We had a nice ridge walk with some nice views as we continued hiking south to Gooch Gap. We ran into a thru hiker on his way to Maine.he was staring late and was carrying an external frame pack. I am not sure he will make it or not but it was good to bear a hiker say “Maine,”when asked “Where are you going?”

At Gooch Gap, I called Gabe and Dad, making plans for on the end if the trip. Gabe is going to hike up the Approach Trail and hike down with us on Monday. We are going to stay the night with my uncle and then Gabe and I are going to Americus for day. It will be good to see my friends there.

While talking in the phone I let Jeff and John hike on ahead of me. I hiked a little over a mile by myself for a while which was a pleasant change. On the way I ran into Adam and Nikki, a couple fe Indiana whom I met on the AT Section Hiker’s group on Facebook. They are hiking the Georgia section Northbound getting off in Franklin, NC. They have been following my blog and we had corresponded on Facebook. We chatted for a bit and then took a group picture and they headed off.

I made it to the Gooch Mountain Shelter by 12:10 and we filtered water and ate lunch. I jotted down some notes for the blog and laid my hiking shirt and gear in the sun to dry. We knocked out 8 miles by lunch. I still had plenty of energy, but my right hip flexor was burning. It had been sore all morning. I took some ibuprofen and headed out of our last eight miles.

We hiked on to tackle Justus and Sassafras Mountains, with just a little break in between. These mountains where back to back and had steep climbs. We passed Justus Creek and continued up to the top of Justus mountain. I shot my Day 7 video hiking up Justus to give people a real taste of what hiking the AT is like.

We tackled Sasafrass mountain And stopped at the top. It did rain today but I was drenched with sweat. We talked to a retired guy from Florida as we rested on a log. He was missing most of his bottom teeth, which I could see as he smiled a lot when talking about the AT. He was section hiking to Hot Springs, NC.

We hiked down to Horse Gap and tried to shake off the fatigue. The final 2.5 miles were rough, lots of ups and down. On my way to Highetower Gap, I kicked a rock by a tree and set off what sounded like an alarm. I jumped a bit and realized that was the sound of a rattle snake! I turned to look and four feet off the trail was a pretty good size rattlesnake curled up with his four-inch rattle in the air just a buzzin’. Jeff was behind me maybe 20 yards. He could hear the rattle but did not see the snake. I told him to go the left off the trail and he would be fine. Jeff stayed there to warn John about the snake.

I made a final push to the Hawk Mointain Shelter and arrived at 5:15, sweaty, and thirsty. I filtered water and talked to Hank, the first guy at the shelter. John and Jeff made it to the shelter and our 16-mile day was complete.

We were all soaked with swear and tired. We filled up with water and I took a bandana bath in the creek behind the shelter. I rinsed out my shirt and washed the grim off my legs and arms. I had my camp soap with me so I washed my face and head with the cold creek water. I put on my camp shirt and rain jacket because I was freezing from the cold water.

13 people at the shelter tonight. Including A couple on a three night trip. We talked about the AT and how to hike lightweight. I enjoyed talking to people at the shelter but I was tired. I got in my hammock about 9:30 and feel asleep trying to finish my blog. I woke up at 10:40 and stowed my phone and went back to sleep.