It's been a whirlwind of the past few days, but I am happily in a hotel room right now.
We left the tent site pretty early to get a head start on what we knew would be a tough day. Towards the end of the 10 mile hike we were going to face the infamous Blood Mountain (the tallest part of the trail in Georgia). Unfortunately, the forecast predicted rain late in the afternoon--right when we would be going up and over the peak.
At around 12:30, we stopped for lunch with another hiker, Kerry from Florida. As the first flurry hit, she hopped up and raced ahead to beat the storm. At first, we took our time to finish lunch and take pictures, but quickly the storm was getting worse and we had yet to hit the peak. Wearing glasses in a snow storm is not recommended; it gets hard to see between the snow and inevitable foggy lenses. That, plus the fact that AT blazes (how the trail is marked) are white and don't stick out in snow, made it easy to get lost. We ended up following a new friend's footsteps, but all three of us ended up missing a turn and going down a very steep rocky face. After a while, we turned back and were able to find our way.
We sped down Blood and got one of the last few bunks in a hostel called Mountain Crossing. There were a bunch of other hikers and it was fun to swap stories and get to know each other better. Dad bought a microwave pizza (so good) and then a church delivered a huge dinner (yay trail magic!). After all that snow, 2 hot dinners, a hot shower, and bed felt incredible.
Yesterday was a good day and much less eventful than the day before. We hiked 11 miles at a good clip and managed to get the last 2 spots in a shelter, which we shared with a really fun group. For those of you who worried I'd be lonely on the trail, it's almost been the opposite! About 40 people were strewn around the shelter and tent sites.
Today was my last day of hiking with Dad. We had a beautiful sunny day (crazy after all that snow) and not too many climbs but the terrain was rough. Honestly, today is the first day I've been wiped at the end of the hike. When we made it to the parking lot, there was another church with burgers and they offered us a ride to town. We've been cleaning and I've had to prep for the rest of my journey alone. It'll be sad to see Dad go, but I am excited for what is to come!
Lastly, I promised post offices to a few people. If you want to mail anything, please keep it light so I can keep it and be sure to include a return address just in case! Send it to: Devin Underhill, General Delivery @ post offices listed below: Arrive by 3/10: Franklin, NC 28734 Arrive by 3/15: Fontana Dam, NC 28733
Looking forward to hearing from you!