Plum Orchard Shelter to Standing Indian Shelter
Miles hiked: 12.2
AT Milage: 85.9
I slept SO well last night. I feel asleep before 8 and woke up around 7. I took melatonin, Tylenol, and night time cold medicine. I knew I needed to sleep very well to start getting better. For the second day in a row I was the first person to leave camp. I love getting an early start. It’s nice to feel the cool morning air and be the first person on the trail so I can say hi to people I know when they pass me. I was feeling SO much better today. I was cruising about 4 miles all the way to the border. I only took a small break to make a call.
At the border I almost passed by without realizing it. There was a tiny sign on the tree that said NC/GA. The border was very insignificant and it made me laugh. I got pictures, filled up on water, and hung out at bly gap eating a second breakfast.
The climb out of bly gap was absolutely brutal. It was so steep. At the top I got a nice view of Hiawassee, GA and a day hiked and his wife gave me a candy bar! I sat up there for a while trying to recover.
Eventually I made it to muskrat creek shelter where I ate lunch. I met Flash, Frog, Sassafras, Sky Pilot, and Mushroom. There were these odd strings hanging in the shelter I had never seen before. Flash explained to me that you are supposed to hang your pack on them and the obstacle of sorts on the string is supposed to make the mouse fall off. The mice out on the trail are notorious for chewing holes in backpacks.
After lunch the elevation change was gentle. There were several parts where the forrest looked like a giant green meadow. The AT is also known as the green tunnel because of the rhododendron tunnels that hikers go through in most of the south. Today the green tunnel was very apparent. As I hiked the mountain before Deep Gap the terrain turned very rocky. I find rocks to be the hardest thing to hike on. At Deep Gap I revived so much trail magic. First I ran into a cooler that had a bunch of random food in it. I took a ziploc bag full of seaweed and a tiny packet of jam. I have a feeling the couple that gave me a candy bar earlier are the same ones that left the cooler. I was shocked about how far the couple was hiking for the day when I realized where they had to have parked their car. When I arrived at the Gap I took a long break to eat the seaweed and take off my shoes. I offered Chill Bill some as he walked by so he sat down to talk to me. He had a bunch of leaves hanging out the side of his pack and I asked what they were. He told me they were Ramps and gave me one to eat. It tasted like an onion and I wanted more. His wife Fern who is also thru hiking with him is a herbalist so she can identify a lot of plants and they eat many things they find along the trail. Another bit of trail magic I received was from Chuck and his son in the form of a Gatorade and trail mix. They were section hikers who were getting picked up from Deep Gap so they gave away their left over food to us thru hikers. I ate so much at the gap I counted it as dinner.
Eventually I hiked out of the gap. I only had 0.9 miles to the shelter. Along the way I was looking all over for ramps because I wanted to eat more so bad. I did find some but I had to dig really deep in the ground to get the bulbs out. My hands were so dirty. I was only able to pull up three and ate one of them because the other two fell out of my pack on the trail without me noticing.
When I got to the shelter there weren’t many spaces. I set up camp in a grassy spot. I am camping here with Flash, Sky Pilot, Mushroom, Gills, and some other guy tonight. Chill Bill and Fern are camping over the hill from us. I hung my bear bag on my own with one try. I also washed my filthy hands and feet in the stream where I filled up my water. Later Matt and Tom showed up and made a fire.