Hawk Mountain Shelter to Lance Creek Campground
AT mileage: 23.7
Elevation chart from Guthook Guides.
Last night at the shelter before bed, the four of us (Emma, clay, Caroline, and I) decided we felt good enough to try for a longer day of hiking tomorrow. We wanted to get around a different group of people thinking the next shelter would be just as crowded and have the same amount of people in it as the first one. The original plan was to hike a little less than 8 miles to Gooch Gap Shelter. The new plan was to try and hit that shelter before noon and push on another 7 miles to Lance creek. Our total mileage for the day was 15.8.
We all woke up at 6:30 and left camp before 7:30. I’m pretty sure we woke the whole shelter up by getting ready but it’s just part of sleeping with a group of 10 people or more. It was still dark when we left camp and started hiking. First we went down the wrong trail that went up to the summit of Hawk mountain. We turned around when we saw a sign that said “not the AT”. Eventually we found the AT and continued on. The sunrise was great and we ate an easy breakfast on the trail. I liked eating breakfast on the go. It made the morning a lot faster than usual.
Around our fourth mile we started climbing a really big mountain between Horse and Cooper gap. It seemed like the strenuous climb was going on forever. The downhill was even more harsh on my knees. Later we found out it was called sassafras’s mountain and a Georgia local who lives off the AT told us it was one of the two most difficult mountain climbs in Georgia. We were proud of our effort. We made it to the Gooch gap shelter around 11am and hiked on to Gooch Gap parking lot to meet dad for lunch. We hung out and ate with him for at least an hour before hitting the trail again. He decided to camp by himself at Gooch Gap shelter. Our hike to Lance creek was quite a way from a parking spot.
The next half of the day we climbed three more mountains and got the best views of the whole trip. I slowed down my hiking pace a lot along with Caroline. My feet were hurting really bad and one of them felt injured. When we finally got to Lance creek, I pulled off my shoes the top of my left foot was bruised. Everyone had swollen feet.
The campsite was packed as we had expected. We were able to find some random flat spots away from everyone else to put a tent and got to hang our food on the bear cables. I was so hungry I think I ate my entire lunch I had packed for tomorrow. We all hung out and enjoyed the last evening of nice weather.