Day #7: Zero Day One

Day #7: 3/15/2016

Holiday Inn — Hiawassee

0 miles

52.9 total AT miles

The Wanderer signing in from Franklin, North Carolina. I’ve had some technical difficulties with live updates. No cell service and battery conservation mean I’ll be updating mostly from towns from this point forward. I’ll spread out posting, but the blog will always be a few days behind where we actually are. That being said, welcome to Hiawassee, Georgia and our fist day off.

After six days of hard hiking with way too much weight in our packs, it’s time for our first zero. Zero’s are what we call our days off. Nero’s are a thing too out here. Near-zero milage days. Personally, I prefer neros as my muscles stiffen up from a day off. That first day back on the trail after a zero is always tough. Then again, a day lounging in a park followed by a soak in a hot tub cannot be beat. Add in a free breakfast, I may never want to leave…

The breakfast buffet in the hotel.
The breakfast buffet in the hotel.

So how do we spend a day off in town? Well, first things first: food. And lots of it.

All you can eat!!! Eggs, bacon, biscuits, sausage gravy, pancakes, cereal, yogurt, bagels… We stuffed our faces.
Crazy killer apple! Brandon is out for a week-long hike.


Come on now guys. That's just gross. ;-)
Yep, more of that laundry…

Laundry. The hotel has a coin-operated washer and dryer that the other guys used. I missed the group trip and couldn’t justify the cost for my few pieces of clothes, especially after less than a week.

Canuck clothes shopping at an outfitter.

Shopping: Moonboots wants a new pair of shorts for hiking and laundry days.

Shaggy trying on a new hat. We were bored and exploring the little town of Hiawassee.
Moonboots and his new shorts. Oh yeah!
Mountain Roots outfitters.


Knee pain is so prevalent out here. Here we are in Rite Aid trying on knee braces.
In the lower elevations of town, everything is in bloom. Spring has not yet sprung in the mountains but its close.

Exploring the town and some R&R.




We spent the afternoon lounging in the town park in front of City Hall. Bambi is sunbathing and Moonboots is reading. I’m taking pictures, Canuck is playing his ukulele and Shaggies just hanging out.
I found this sweet old truck next to the lake.


Walking to the grocery store for a resupply. The people in this town are SO accommodating with thru-hikers.

Resupplying for the next leg.

My food for the next four days.
Canuck prepping his cache of food.
Shaggies food laid out and sorted by day.
Only a bit of our garbage. We unpackaged all of our food, replacing the heavy, bulky boxes with ziplocks. I use the poor-mans ziplock: a corner of the grocery bag tied off.
Bambi literally cutting weight from his pack.

Lightening the load to save the knees.

He is cutting his AT guidebook in half, mailing the rest to Virginia.
It’s heavier than you would think.
Bambi’s trail name comes from this picture he showed us on our first night out. He raised a baby deer bottle feeding it until he could release it.
Me cooking in the hotel.

Cheap dinner for me.

Mac ‘n cheese with tuna!
Our hotel has a desk! Unfortunately, the internet connection was horrendous and I had to work from my phones internet anyway.

And, of course, more of that lovely hot tub.


Shaggy, Moonboots, and Bambi back there glowing in the evening rays. We spent hours in this hot tub. Nothing better after a week of intense hiking.

Our next resupply is the town of Franklin in 57 miles. We’re planning for four or five days hiking. See you then!


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