Sassafras Gap to Plum Orchard Shelter
Miles hiked: 10.8
AT Milage: 73.7
This morning I woke up before 7am to the sound of woodpeckers and bird chirping. I had a dream about trying to hitch hike from the trail and woke up a few times last night thinking I heard a bear trying to get our bear bags. We didn’t hang them the most ideal way last night and a ridge runner had warned us a bear has been hanging out in the area. Last night I slept with the foot of my sleeping bag inside of a trash compactor bag because I was worried about it getting wet. My bag is 100% down which means that it does not insulate when wet. I was worried to find that my trick did not work. The entire foot of my bag was wet with condensation that built up inside the trash compactor bag. Luckily I was able to dry it out before I left camp. In the morning I figured out the noises I thought were a bear trying to get my food was the dog Nana who was staying at our campsite. I was super slow getting ready and didn’t start hiking until 8:15.
My first mountain climb of the day was Kelly Knob which is the last of the three hardest climbs in Georgia. I didn’t stop the whole way up and I was so proud of myself. It was a straight up climb with no switch backs. At the top I thought I was going to throw up. I took a long break and enjoyed the view.
After Kelly’s knob I felt so bad that I ended up taking a break every 1 mile after that. I got to see a really nice view at Powell mountain vista, I stopped to fill up some water from a spring, and then I ate lunch at Dick’s creek Gap. I talked to some other hikers for a little bit today but not much.
When I got to the top of the last mountain before camp I tried to call my boyfriend Jeff. I did get to talk to him for a little bit but then I had to go to the bathroom all of a sudden. I stared booking it to the shelter as fast as I could because it had a privy and was less than a mile away. When I got to the shelter it was hard for me to find. It was a ways off trail and I went down the wrong path at some point. When I finally got to the shelter and saw the privy sign, a strange man sitting in the shelter started talking to me. He tried to tell me not to use the privy because a 7 foot rattle snake was on the path. I was so annoyed. I didn’t care if there was a snake I had to go to the bathroom. I went down the path and guess what? There was no snake!
I immediately set up my tent and laid down. Today was so long. At camp I met a guy named flamingo who gave me a little plastic flamingo. Today I was also around legs, mogger, spotter, chill bill, fern, cocoa, and Bill.
I ended up hanging out with cocoa, flamingo, and Bill at camp. It turns out so had good instincts thinking the guy in the shelter was strange and choosing to set up my camp behind it. Flamingo let me know that someone told him the guy in the shelter had been stealing people’s food. Shelter guy also first hand asked flamingo if he had extra food. Typically hikers don’t carry extra food but they would be willing to help someone out if they needed it. The strange thing was this guy could have very easily walked the 4 miles back to Dick’s Creek Gap to get food. There was plenty of daylight left in the day. There was literally no reason for this guy not to walk back and get food. We decided to all beat hang our food together so that this man couldn’t easily steal it from the bear box. I am already running out of food as is so if my food disappears I will be screwed.
After we hung our bear bag we all sat around camp and talked for a while. The shelter man approached us and asked about the weather. Then he told us that we didn’t need to hang our food because there was a bear box. When we told him “oh well we already hung it for good practice” he was clearly upset. He awkwardly walked away. Then a few minutes later we heard him open the bear box which didn’t make sense because he doesn’t have food. Hopefully our food is still there in the morning! It’s funny that I am more worried about another person stealing our food than a bear. I felt bad judging someone for their appearance but to emphasize how uncomfortable this man made everyone feel he is the only person sleeping in the shelter tonight. There are multiple other campers here sleeping in tents who chose to avoid him as well. If flamingo and his friends were not here when I arrived I would have waited on the trail for the people I camped with last night to get here or hiked further on.
I really enjoyed the company of flamingo, Bill, and cocoa tonight. I wish I could hike more with them but they are a fast group of hikers doing a big milage day tomorrow. Tonight I really missed Jeff as I was laying down in my tent. I can’t wait for Emma to come join me so I can share all theses experiences with someone else.