Day #8: Hiawassee to Sassafras Gap

Day #8: 3/16/2016

Hiawassee –> Sassafrass Gap

10.4 miles

63.3 Total AT miles

I wake exhausted at 7am with the rest of the crew. They are being kind and waking me for breakfast. I am starving. I always am. But today, I’m sleep deprived and want only to stay in bed. Still, food and friends call.

The Appalachian trail is all about the people; fellow hikers and those that support them. I love the experience, but man, I still need my time alone. I find it on the trail in the struggles where everyone is wrapped up in the struggle of the moment. Right foot; left foot; hiking poles push; keep moving. I thrive in movement. In town, I find it at night after everyone else has gone to bed.


Leaving the sanctuary of our hotel room. Two queen size beds and a pullout couch… hiker heaven.

Shuttles are available everywhere out here. Still, we hitchhike. It’s free and you meet the most amazing, friendly people. It doesn’t take long before a car pulls a u-turn to pick us up. Canuck and I jump in the car with  the man who asked to be left unnamed even if he did leave a comment with his name. He takes us on a wild ride showing what the Lexus can do. Thank you!!!

Hitching back to the trail with Canuck. We split the group up for easier rides.
Having a little fun carving corners on the ride up the mountain.
Taking a breather before the climb. Sorry dude, I forgot your name.

Moonboots, Shaggy, and Bambi are right behind us. People here in the south are more friendly than you’d ever believe. Unless your from the south. I here us northerners can be a bit arrogant.

Moonboots, Shaggy, and Bambi’s ride to the trail head. People out here are so kind.
The whole family hiking out together.
Indian Grave Gap
Shaggy filling his water bladder straight from the side of the mountain. Water doesn’t come any fresher.
Moonboots flashing back to his college days. Bottoms up!
Meeting up with New York! Spoonies there on the end with the brilliant smile.
I rode this mountain on my mountain bike in the TNGA, a mountain bike race across the state. It seemed much more difficult at 2am after 20 hours of riding.
Rock kicker taking care of the trail.

I stopped for a minute on the climb to talk with Rockkicker. He thru-hiked the trail earlier in life and now spends his time taking care of it for us to enjoy. Thanks for your hard work RockKicker! Hikers, do your part and kick one dangerous rock off the trail everyday.

If only a camera could capture the feeling of walking upon these views. They go on forever.
Canuck at a shelter.

Canuck leaves us today. He’s waiting on a package in Hiawassee, the town we just left. It did not arrive in time and he must hitch back in. Good luck Canuck! See you soon my friend!

Bambi and Moonboots planning tomorrows hike.
Yep, it’s a long way to Maine. We may have knocked off a twentieth, but its barely a hair of the total distance.
Moonboots and Bambi hanging their food from a vine over the trail.

Part of our nightly chores is hanging our food from hungry bears. If we screw up and the bear gets our food, they get used to the easy food source and become a danger.

Bambi and Moonboots working together to hang their food in a tree.
A few of our tents on the ridgeline in the setting sun.
Shaggy enjoying the fire with a belly full of food. We are all tired after the day off.
My spot at the fire.
Bambi, dude whose name I’ve forgotten, and Shaggy hanging out around the fire.



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