5/29/18

Another #AT section hike under our belts


We had another great section hike this month and are getting closer and closer to the Georgia/North Carolina state line!  I think we have about another 30 miles or so to go.  We would have already achieved this if we lived closer to north Georgia to do more day hikes. As is, we're four hours away and also have a hard time finding time to get away.  Slowly, but surely, we will get it done!



This hike started at Hog Pen Gap and ended at Unicoi Gap.  


I'll be honest and tell you that our first day was a little disappointing to me. We knew ahead of time that this section of the trail didn't have any scenic overlooks, but that's certainly not the only beauty the trail has to offer.  I've seen some incredibly beautiful places along the AT since we've been hiking....and these places were not on tops of mountains.


What made this first day a little disappointing was the fact that due to a late spring, the trees on the tops of the mountains didn't have all their leaves.  Needless to say, with an already warm day, that made it even hotter!  That, combined with the fact that I didn't get enough carbs in me for breakfast, and didn't have a late morning snack to help maintain my low blood sugar issues, made for a hard first few hours for me. We had to take a little longer for lunch for me to rest up and get my sugar back up.  I won't make that mistake again!




But after lunch I was feeling much better and enjoyed the rest of the day. Another thing I enjoyed was my new set of trekking poles from Paria Outdoor Products. Weighing only 18 oz, they are noticeably lighter than my old poles. I also like the cork handles and hand straps on them....they're much more comfortable to my hands than my old poles.


Another thing I was surprised by on this trip was the damage left by Hurricane Irma last year. We saw lots of trees like this along the trail and through the woods.  So sad 😢




One thing I love about the AT is the different types of terrain you cross. Sometimes the clear path through the grass turns into a path of rocks winding around the mountain. It definitely keeps you on your toes!


Speaking of toes, remember last year after Blood Mountain, I lost a toenail?  Well, no more worries of that happening thanks to my Merrell MOAB hiking boots. On our way home on the last trip, we stopped at REI in Atlanta and purchased a pair for me. I've worn them a few times on day hikes, but I was anxious to see how they'd fare on the AT.  They did not disappoint!  I highly recommend their products!


I wasn't the only one with new gear. The Mister enjoyed his new Black Diamond trekking poles.  Like mine, these are super light, weighing only 12 ounces.      




This is a little glimpse from the Guthook app to show you what this section of the trail looked like overall. Not nearly as difficult of a hike as what we've done previously. But I hear the next section will be another challenge....and I can't wait!


This is our second year using our Big Agnes Rattlesnake MtnGlo3  tent, and we could not love it more!  It's perfect for two people. I love that we each have our own door to get out....real handy when you need to make an unexpected run to the "potty"late at night (while also looking for bears) 😀 I also love the vestibules. We like to keep our packs close to the tent and this keeps them from being exposed to the elements.  Don't worry....anything a bear would  should want is safely hung in the bear bag.



This is how we cook our meals and how I have my morning coffee. The Mister made us our own stove from an aluminum can.  We fuel it with denatured alcohol.  For two meals per day, it only takes around 6 ounces of fuel for a weekend hike.  This way of cooking is much lighter than some other cooking options.


Our first night's supper was our own dehydrated chili with peanut butter crackers and New York Style Cheesecake Bites for dessert.  So yummy!


We love Mountain House products.  We tried them for the first time last year on our anniversary trip and enjoyed the Apple Crisp 😋. This year we also tried the Biscuits and Gravy....so good, y'all!


For coffee, I take the Folgers Coffee Singles along with sugar cubes and Nestle Coffee-mate 2Go creamer.  It makes a delicious cup of coffee.  


We love our Osprey AG packs!  They are well worth the investment.  The Mister gave me one of their day packs for my birthday, so I can't wait to use it on our vacation next week for some day hiking.


Day two offered much prettier views. There seemed to be more leaves on the trees in this area.


When we got to the Chattahoochie Gap area of the trail, the Mister also noticed that with less leaves on the trees, we could see the observation tower of Brasstown Bald (not in photo).


Resting our feet during a break and showing off our Smart Wool hiking socks.


Another pretty view of the trail




One of the many water sources on this section of the trail. 




Because we pushed ahead and hiked more miles the first day than planned, we were able to get to our destination point by late Saturday afternoon. That meant a hot shower, soft bed, and Mellow Mushroom pizza instead of another night roughing it. A much deserved reward for sure!


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