The Shuttle Ride

I arrive at Unicoi Gap just fine.  There are already several AT hikers at Unicoi Gap taking a rest or waiting for a ride into the nearest town (Helen, GA) for more supplies or perhaps a good night sleep at a hotel.  Helen, GA was about 9 miles down the road and it appeared to be a very popular place as I drove through it to get to Unicoi.  I hoped to be able to spend more time there once the hike was finished. 


Anyway, at about 4:15 p.m. a "very used" 1990's model Ford Expedition pulls in to Unicoi gap.  The driver introduced himself as Josh and several of the hikers that were there seemed to know him.  I quickly surmised that Josh is the owner of the Hiker Hostel and I'm sure that many of these hikers actually stayed at his place before they set out on their own hikes.  We throw my gear into the back of his Expedition and we head out to Woody Gap to pick up Grayson and any other hikers that wish to stay at the hostel Thursday night.


I quickly determined why people call this a "shuttle" since it was probably the same feeling as riding an actual Space Shuttle.  Josh proceeded to drive like he was late for his own wedding.  You see, the roads in this area are very popular with bikers due to their ever twisting turns and Josh seemed to know them well... too well.  I hung on for my life as Josh attempted to drive while returning several text messages he just received.  I thought about my wife and kids a lot during that ride.  Not necessarily that I may never see them again, but rather how the smell from the inside of this vehicle would have been if they would have been riding with us (their stomachs don't handle fast, twisting mountain roads very well).  After a few tense moments, I relaxed a little bit and decided to enjoy my "ride".  After all, I get to experience one of the most thrilling rides in all of Georgia and I didn't even have to wait in line at Six Flags to do it.  We finally arrive at Woody Gap and I resist the urge to kiss the ground.