Monday, May 22, 2017
Start: Rock Gap
End: Standing Indian Shelter
This morning, I was up at 6:45am, since I’d arranged for a 7:30am shuttle. The hostel owner, Zen/Collin, wasn’t ready until around 7:45-8am. He needed coffee so we stopped at a local coffee shop and I got some medium roast coffee with soy milk to start my day. Me and Collin had some great conversations on the way to the trail, talking about politics and different shitty/scary hostels along the trail. We were at Rock Gap (3732′) by 8:30am and I hit the trail.
I climbed past Rock Gap Shelter (3772′) and Long Branch Shelter (4479′) on my way up to Albert Mountain (5250′) and the fire tower there. This was my 2,000 mile marker – I’ve officially hiked 2000 miles of the AT!
From Albert Mountain, I headed down to Betty Creek Gap (4300′), back up to 4921′, and stopped at Carter Gal Shelter (4528′) for water. I met a NOBO thru hiker from Washington state, and we had good conversations about the current political climate and what it’s been like to hike in a much more conservative area than where we live. She was super nice and I gave her some heads up about various hostels where I didn’t feel safe. It was a pleasant surprise to have such a nice chat while filtering water.
From the shelter, I descended to Coleman Gap (4221′) and then climbed to the top of Standing Indian Mountain (5435′). I arrived at the Standing Indian Shelter (4742′) at 4:30pm.
I must have my trail legs because I averaged 2.5 MPH over the course of the day. I was encouraged to hoof it hard for the last 3 or 4 miles due to the number of people I was passing, including a large group of high school seniors. I wanted a spot in the shelter. I got the last space in the shelter that comfortable fits 6; in a dire situation, we could fit maybe 8 horizontal bodies. We’ve seen one bold mouse running around the shelter area; it sucks at climbing walls – we’ve watched it try to poorly climb walls and fall. The mouse even barn-door’d (climbing term). The large group of high school seniors ended up tenting here at the shelter and are loudly talking while eating food. I’m bad – I didn’t hang a bear bag tonight: it’s going to rain, they’re waterproof airtight bags, and the kids are making a mess of their food… if there are any bears, they will go for the kids. Or the trash pile by the privy. This privy is hands down the nastiest privy I’ve seen so far; even the stinky one in the backwoods of Maine.
I was able to get a few bars of Verizon service and called ahead to the Top of Georgia hostel to reserve a bunk for tomorrow and Wednesday nights. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this hostel and I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a light day miles-wise tomorrow, which is good because it might be raining. I could hear thunder off and on all day, though it rained only a tiny bit today.
Overall, it was a good day. My IT band was well controlled by the strap for most of the day, though towards the end of the day it started hurting a decent bit. I’m currently addressing it by taking NSAIDs, using the brace, and using the rx pain cream twice a day. It only has to make it to Sunday!