Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Hike That Must Not Be Repeated: Part 1

At the North Carolina border
It was a simple thing, really. I thought I had this backpacking thing down. I had good gear and a body that could carry it all. I was mentally prepared for heat or cold and was really looking forward to getting back to nature. We waited until the weather was as good as it was going to get and then took off for North Georgia in my little car, hoping to pack as much excitement into our five day trip as we could. We ended up with near perfect weather, just missing a bad rain storm the day before and hiked through glorious blue skies, with 46 degree weather in the mornings, going up into the low 70's in the afternoon. We met many of the thru-hikers that were about 8 days into their northbound journey from Amicalola Falls to Mount Katahdin, Maine. As we met and passed many of them on the trail, I realized that Paul was an expert backpacker compared to most of  them and I would be considered a 'seasoned' hiker...but that would all change in the next few months as they attempted what I could not imagine; hiking that whole trail at once.
Paul had it all mapped out on paper for us from his 'database' and I had my trusty iPhone with the Guthook trail app, which could show our exact location at any time. I had my battery charger and a really cool new solar charger which would keep me in power for the whole trip. I had on my trusty Scotland boots and Paul was still swearing that hiking sandals were the next big thing.
Paul was admiring how I had managed to get technology on our side as we headed up I75 at the precise time he estimated it would take to avoid the Atlanta rush hour traffic. My maps app warned us as we approached Macon that there was a huge delay around Atlanta and offered an alternative shortcut....for some strange reason, I have learned nothing in my life from previous experiences, because soon it was 9 o'clock and dark and we were driving through corn fields, while a pleasant female voice tells me to drive 1/2 mile and turn left at the stop sign.
Soon we had driven over nine hours for our six hour drive and were searching for some place to spend the night in what appeared to be a small industrial town where perhaps everyone within fifty miles worked at 'the plant'. At this point, Paul was still conceding to my superior technical skills and I managed to book us the best rated hotel in town for under $100.
An hour later, we were laying on our beds at a crowded small hotel that was mostly filled with work pickup trucks, looking at the dingy room, wondering just how bad the other hotels must be, as Paul pulled out his paper maps, saying he was sticking to things that worked!
We got up the following morning to a woeful free breakfast and headed out in the freezing cold cloudless dawn to find the trailhead and wondering just what adventure was in store for us.

We soon found out why so many people dropped out of the thru-hike between Georgia and North Carolina.

No comments:

Post a Comment