It is said that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step. What they forgot to mention is that it also begins with a properly fitted backpack, lots of planning and permission from your wife. My personal journey along the 2,175 mile long Appalachian Trail began in 2010 and will likely continue for many years to come as I attempt to section hike the entire trail before my time here on earth is up. Happy trails!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
After a very restless night, we wake up around 7:00 a.m., take a couple of Advil and wait for Gene to take us to Unicoi. In preparing for Friday's 16.6 mile hike we actually don't have to take everything with us since we will be returning to the hotel that evening. Our main gear for the day is our hydration packs filled with cool water and some energy bars. Gene arrives right on time and we take off for Unicoi Gap. Having walked these local trails many times before, Gene tells us that he has actually placed a stake in the ground about 30 minutes before our exit point letting hikers know that spot is the last place you can pick up a mobile phone signal before getting to Dick's Creek Gap. We tell him that we plan on arriving at Dick's Creek Gap by about 4:00 p.m. but we will call him from that marker so he will know exactly when to pick us up for the day. It's around 8:30 a.m. and we finally head out for the day's hike.
This section of the trail actually contains some of the longest climbs and highest peaks of the AT in Georgia. We climbed up to 4,430 feet in elevation on top of Tray Mountain and as low as 3,113 feet at Indian Grave Gap. Pretty much we went up and down fairly steep mountains for the entire day. We both quickly realized how glad we were that we didn't have to do this section with 35 lb. packs on our backs.