I finally made it to my Friday night destination (Hawk Mountain Shelter) around 4:30 p.m. Unfortunatly I erased some of my pictures from my trip, so you will have to use your imagination as you read about the rest of my adventure. However, I did find this picture of the Hawk Mountain Shelter online so you can see what it looks like.
When I arrived at the shelter there was one hiker already there setting up his spot for the night. His name was Hickory. Hickory was a retired principal from Indianapolis, IN (probably 60 years old) that was leap frogging the AT. That is similar to section hiking but it means he spent large chunks of time on the AT at one time. His current hike started in Virginia back in early July and he was about to complete his journey the next day when he would arrive at Springer Mountain. He seemed rather melancholy about finishing the AT. Although he didn't say it, I thought to myself that he probably will miss being out there (in a weird kind of way). He pointed out the side trail that leads to the water source and told me that a couple more hikers were already down there and they would be staying at the shelter too. The other two hikers turned out to be the two guys that I wondered if I would catch up to (Happy Hour and Big Chief). They are my age and they are old army buddies. Happy Hour is from Charleston, SC and Big Chief is from Helen, GA. They are section hikers much like myself that are trying to complete the AT in tiny sections whenever their busy lives will permit it.