Good heavens! What a whirlwind of a day. Y'all sit back and let ole Breeze tell you all about it. Let's start from the beginning.
The day didn't get off to the greatest of starts. Wendy and I woke up around 7:00 a.m. to a pretty steady rain. Thankfully, it wasn't too cold, so we quickly got packed up and headed down the trail. Rain can cause many problems out on here on the trail. It's pretty miserable to hike in, can dangerously lower your body temperature, and can render your clothes and down insulation layers virtually useless. Plus it's a major hassle to try and keep everything in your pack dry and usable. One problem that isn't so obvious (at least to me) is that the AT turns into a straight mud hole when wet! I'm talking a good old fashioned Georgia mudslide.
Ok, sidebar. My mind wanders EVERYWHERE while I'm hiking. And I mean everywhere. That's actually one of the main reasons I like hiking so much. While sliding up and down mountains all day, I came up with an idea. The Appalachian Trail mudslide. It would be a delicious concoction consisting of all my favorite trail food: snicker bars, oatmeal, granola, cliff bars, and honey buns. Blend it all up, mix it with frozen yogurt, and serve. I know, I know. Pure genius.
The rain and fog did create one memorable view. As we climbed into higher elevations, we also climbed out of the suffocating mist. The result was an incredible/eerie view of the fog filled valley below. I wish I had a picture of it, but it was still raining slightly and I couldn't get my camera out. But believe me, it was an awesome sight. As we neared Dicks Creek Gap, we noticed a sign tied to a tree alerting me and Wendy to trail magic ahead! After a split second of sideways looks and smirks, Wendy and I literally took off running down the trail. After a long, hard day of trudging through the mud, trail magic was just what the doctor ordered! And son let me tell ya, this was some serious trail magic!! As we approached their tent, I instantly noticed two giants pots of hot chili, and an endless supply of cookies, brownies, chips, crackers, and fruit. The works! The wonderful folks in the picture below are Hal, Cheryl, George, and Nancy, and they were my trail angels. Guys, if you are reading this, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Before today, I always thought trail "magic" was a funny term. But what y'all did for me and all the other thru hikers today was nothing short of true magic. Thank you thank you 10 times over :).
After the awesome trail magic, some day hikers from Georgia Tech gave us a ride into Hiawassee where we checked in to a super cheap motel with dozens of other thru hikers close by. We ran into some of friends from the trial, including Appa, spider Steve, and Miami.
It was a rollercoaster of a day and yet another awesome adventure on the AT! How many of y'all hitch hiked today?