Start Milepost: 1720.7 Time: 06:00
End Milepost: 1733.0 Time: 12:30
Miles hiked: 12.3
Miles to go: 456.8
Weather: rain, chilly
Temps: 40’s°, 70’s°
Blue Side trails:
Map: Click on map pin
For the record: I am off trail at the earliest time since I left Amicalola Falls; 12:30. There is a story behind that time. OBTW, I am in my quilt while I write at 13:00.
We knew last night that rain was coming today. The forecast called for it to begin at 06:00 and end tomorrow at 08:00. At about 04:45 I heard the leaves fluttering in the breeze and then in the wind. Conclusion? Rain will arrive shortly. Decision? Get ready to leave camp then!
My first task was to zipper the bottom of the legs back on the convertible shorts. Next task was to put night clothing and sleeping gear back in their stuff sacks. About then I heard Relentless stir and then saw the light of his headlamp. He must have reached a similar conclusion. By then a light drizzle had begun to patter on the tent so I accelerated the process. In minutes I had all stuff sacks ready to load into the pack which was under its rain cover and leaning against a nearby tree.
With boots on and laced I retrieved the pack and bear bag. The next task was to roll up the tent which by now was wet from the drizzle. I used a technique shared by Relentless. I left the fly attached, folded the edges in towards the longitudinal center and rolled it up with poles and stakes as the center. The footprint was stuffed in its own sack. The benefit of that process is that when it comes time to set it up, all parts are oriented and ready to erect. Once in its stuff sack, it was placed in the pack and I was ready to hike.
We were on the trail at 06:00 and hiked in the near dark for an hour before the rain fell in earnest. And did it ever fall. The waterproof boots held up for a while but eventually the rain ran down the back of my legs and into the top of the boots. Oh joy!
After an hour of hard, uphill climbing and then beginning to descend, we put on rain jackets to maintain a semblance of warmth.
With ten of the twelve miles complete we detoured on a gravel road to a market and were disappointed. No Gatorade. No snacks. The chef (!) offered us a pint of meatballs and we said Yes. We matched them with some cheese, crackers and root beer for lunch. And had to eat it on the porch, not inside in the warm-dry! We chose an alternative – a pole barn converted into a parking garage. We stood inside with our fare laid out on an upright, four-foot log. First class!
We finished lunch and shivered back to the trail. Two quick miles over hill and dale we reached our intended shelter. Day is done!
And the rain continues sporadically.
We think we missed some good views, but we will never know for certain. Neither of us plans to revisit the trail. We did not miss the creek crossing. No bridge was there, just a steel cable to hold on to as the rain-swollen creek water went up to our knees. Correct: waterproof boots were unnecessary today!
Can’t wait to put cold, wet clothing back on in the morning. On the positive side, I do have a dry, second pair of socks and a dry pair of skivvies. And there is the possibility of a laundry on Saturday to get everything ready for the next leg.
Time for a nap.