Saturday, April 9, 2011 - Hiking 19 miles in one day over some of the roughest terrain in all of Georgia is not something that I hope to do again anytime soon. My body felt just like it did when I ran a marathon 2 years ago. It was brutal as I tried to keep up with the extra long steps of my 26 year old cousin. All I could think about was how wonderful the steak and beer would be once we got into town.
We also met a very inspirational hiker along the way that day, named Flatbread. Flatbread is 67 years old and she is out hiking the AT for her second time. Normally that would be great all unto itself, but what really made it special is that she only has one lung. She had one removed 2 years ago due to lung cancer. Needless to say the thought of having her out there doing this made some of my own personal pain fade away.
We met a couple of fellow hikers heading in the other direction just as we made it to Hog Pen Gap. They had just completed a small section hike and they were getting ready to hop in their car and head back to Atlanta. I'm glad we stopped to talk to them because they ended up giving us some extra water and a few food bars they weren't going to need anymore. A little "trail magic" to help us get through the day!
We made it to Low Gap Shelter around 4:00 p.m. that day. We had decided to rest here for about 45 minutes and have some lunch. It was a good call since my body was hurting very bad at this point. There were about 8 other hikers that were already there at Low Gap and they were going to camp there for the night. It was tempting to stay there too, but just as the Blues Brothers once said... "We are on a mission from God".
We pressed on and finally arrived at Unicoi Gap around 8:30 p.m. as it was getting very dark. It was great to be back at the car. Now on to Helen.