Sunday, March 18, 2012

And on the 8th day I rest

Welcome to the first installment of the actual hike blog. Let me start off by saying this has definitely been a challenge. My fat body is not used to this kind of work. I am currently sitting in a hotel room in Hiawasee, GA which is native American for please shower because you smell awful, but that's what 8 days of hiking and 70 miles will do to you! So here is a recap of the hike so far. I will try to do a better job keeping up to date, but there is limited service in the middle of nowhere.

Day 1 (3/11)- Springer Mountain to Hawk Mountain Shelter (8.1 mi)
Said my goodbyes to the family and headed down the trail. Due to a late start I didn't make it to the shelter until after dark. A little discouraged but a great day of hiking none the less. Then the rain came...

Day 2 (3/12)- Hawk Mountain to Gooch Mountain (7.7 mi)
It rained on and off all day and remained a solid cloud all along the path. There was no scenery, only cloud. I was a little disappointed that there were no care bears on top. Set up a wet camp.

Day 3 (3/13)- Gooch Mountain to Lance Creek (8.5 mi)
Beautiful day today. Saw some great views that lasted for miles on end. On top of one mountain I met a 43 yr old German guy named Stefan (I met several more people before now but he is cool). More incredible views from Woody Gap. Made it to Lance Creek an net a few more thru hiker hopefuls and had a nice night just sitting around our non-existent campfire.

Day 4 (3/14)- Lance Creek to Swaim Gap (9.5 mi)
This day was a beast- Blood Mountain, which was just as difficult to go down as it was to go up. Great 360 degree views and you could even see Clingman's Dome in the Smokies. Got down the mountain to Neels Gap where there was an outfitter and good food. It was also like a reunion running into people I have met earlier along te trail. The plan was to stay here the night but it was booked so I kept going to the next campsite with water which was supposed to be a mile wasn't. As I kept walking I started to realize that I was no longer seeing any white blazes on the trees. For the first time I felt lost and very discouraged. I was already doing more miles then planned and now I was out of water and not sure where I was. Luckily I came upon a few section hikers who were in the same boat but then we saw out old friend Stefan and all was well.

Day 5 (3/15)- Swaim Gap to Poplar Stamp Gap (10 mi)
Another day pushing some big miles especially up some big mountains. Feet and hip are really starting to take a beating. But with pushing a little further it would give me more of a chance of an off day later. To lift my spirits I received my first bit of trail magic from King Tut. He had ice cold pop and snacks at the bottom of a gap and it was nice to take a load off and enjoy a cold coke.

Day 6 (3/16)- Poplar Stamp Gap to Rocky Mountain Trail (8.8 mi)
Today was a hard day. I was really feeling the beating my feet were taking. I needed to get some stuff to take care of them. So with a little side trip into Helen Ga, I got the goods and headed out. The plan was to go up another 4 or 5 miles from Unicoi Gap but thy would have really hurt. Luckily we didn't but did get an awesome thunderstorm where we were.

Day 7 (3/17)- Rocky Mountain Trail to Addis Gap (10.4 mi)
Another hard day with climbs up Rocky Mountain and Tray Mountain but also got my second day of trail magic from a church grilling hotdogs. I ate two and could have probably ate 3 more. Having ups and downs not only physically but mentally and emotionally.

Day 8 (3/18)- Addis Gap to Dicks Creek Gap (5.4 mi)
Had to race against time because the shuttle to Hiawasee left at 11. Had to book it! I thought for sure I was going to be left and would have to hitchhike but made it with 9 minutes to spare and on top of that...more trail magic! Thanks to Peak Seeker for the cheeseburger an frosted flakes. Now awaiting my shower while doing laundry and going out for some all I can eat buffet later.

All in all it has been adventurous. My theme is "small victories" whether it's 8 miles or 8 steps up a steep incline. I am already learning a lot about myself and what I can put my body through. Just need to get rid of this chafing and let me feet heal and I will be well on my way to Maine!


  1. Hang in there bro! During the rough patches remember your friends and family that love you and are proud to know you.


  2. Brian, your poor feet! I hope the healing starts soon! Take care. We are enjoying reading your blog. Love, Sylvia and John

  3. Sounds like a good start! Hope the trail magic continues... What an awesome adventure!
    -Liz & Ben