The first three days went well. The approach trail from Amicalola Falls state park is no joke. Day 2, started from Springer Mountain shelter, beginning with a nice descent and a few miles of relatively flat trail along a creek. Day 3 was another tough one, doing my longest day yet with the most elevation gain. I knew that I had a real bed and a shower waiting for me at the end of the day which kept me motivated. It was also the first day with a clear view of the mountains I had just traversed. When they say the green tunnel, they mean a green tunnel. I have been spoiled with hiking in NH, where almost every mountain top has a view. Last night (night 3) I stayed at Above the Clouds hostel with Candy Man (Dell), Drew (Andrew), Patches (Maddie), Savannah, and Lily. Our two groups have been crossing each other's paths since day 1 and have camped together every night. Unfortunately Candy Man and Drew will be getting off at the NC border, but we have about 5 days before then at our current pace. I was struggling with an internal battle between staying with my new friends or kicking up the mileage. I realized that I was being an idiot and the whole reason I am out here is to have fun. So I have decided to take it easy, at least until Candy Man and Drew get off. I would highly recommend Above the Clouds hostel. Nimrod, one of the guys who runs it, is a hiking legend and has been a part of the AT since 1975. He is friends with some hiking legends, one being Nimble Will, who last year broke the record for oldest thru hiker at 83.
After writing the above section, I was unable to upload photos and decided to deal with it later. So today was day 4. Myself, Candy Man, and Drew decided to slack pack today, leaving most of our pack weight at the hostel. We got dropped off at Neels gap and hiked sobo over blood mountain. We had a leisurely morning with beautiful views. Around the half way mark, Drew and Candy Man took a break and I kept going. Not sure what inspired me, but I ended up running most of the 5.6 remaining miles to Woody gap. We will be enjoying another night at the hostel and heading back to Neels gap tomorrow morning to head nobo once again.
It is interesting to me that on trail I am very social and talk to everyone I pass or camp with, opposed to when I am in the “real world” I rarely talk to people I don‘t know. It seems that most people on trail do the same, conversing with everyone they see. Most people I see in the “real world” just keep their heads down and walk past each other, trying not to make eye contact.
Also, I have noticed that I may be one of the most restless people. If I am not sleeping, eating, or talking, I have to be moving. I need something to occupy my time. Right now that is hiking, but I don’t know how to go slow and am always pushing until I am breathing heavy. Unfortunately I have not mastered the art of stopping to smell the roses. Photos: