Bruce and I continue to push through at a fairly descent pace for the remainder of the day. Being low on water, we made a decision to ration our water as best we can and try to make it to Dick's Creek Gap as fast as possible. Along the way we come across a couple of side trails that supposedly lead to water sources. The only problem with some of these side trails is that they can easily add an extra mile to your already long hike and you aren't guaranteed that there will be water there this time of year. I kept thinking that if the trail actually crosses over a stream or creek that I would be tempted to drink the untreated water. I never got that chance since we didn't see any viable streams directly on the trail the entire day. We also didn't see many other hikers. I think we passed a young couple and their dog going in the other direction, but that was about it. This time of year, there aren't too many folks on the trail in Georgia since most of the "through hikers" started their hikes in early April and they are long gone by now.
At one point during the hike Bruce told me his hands were swollen. I was about to make a wise crack about his "marshmallow hands" when he told me to look at my own hands. We both had marshmallow hands. This was not a good sign...it was then that I realized this was likely a symptom of dehydration. With less than an hour left to hike we both ran out of water. I felt a since of relief once we finally came across the stake marker that Gene had told us about. I barely had a phone signal, but was able to get Gene on the phone to let him know he can start making his way to Dick's Creek Gap to pick us up... and oh yeah, please bring some water!
We finally arrive at Dick's Creek Gap and Gene arrives shortly thereafter. He hands each of us a huge cold bottle of Gatorade...it was good... real good. Bruce and I are both relieved that the first day is finally behind us. We had a hunch that this section of the trail was rather tough and it surely didn't let us down.