Finally! I’m in a town with some hot coffee, good draft beer and decent wifi. So, a few exciting things have happened this week–
1)I experienced my first hitch hiking adventure in Hiawassee (sorry, Mom).
April 6th, I stayed at the Top of Georgia hostel, mainly because they were located a half mile from the trail and offered free shuttles into Hiawassee. I made a (non-refundable) reservation the day before and planned to arrive the next evening to get a good nights sleep. I would shuttle into town the next day before hopping back on the trail.
Once Rigga and I arrived, they informed us that the shuttle is only offered the same day of stay and that we had already missed the shuttle for that day. It would’ve been great to be informed of that rule prior to being charged. They wanted us to pay $10 each for the shuttle to town the next day. After paying $20 for a bunk and an additional $5 for laundry, I was not willing to pay that much for a shuttle that should’ve been included..or their $9 breakfast. Needless to say, I won’t recommend that hostel to anyone! Anyway, that situation left us to hitch a ride. Rigga, Cory and I stuck our thumbs to the wind, and the first truck that passed told us to hop in the bed–success!
The nice man and his toddler son dropped us off near Ingles and bid us farewell. After doing some shopping and hitting up the Starbucks, we were sitting on a bench wondering how we might get back to the trail head. About that time, up walked a sweet old man who just wanted to chat with us and talk about God. When he finished shopping Cory asked him if he was going past the trailhead. Luckily he was going in that direction and would be more than happy to give us a ride! On the way, he stopped to show us the land he grew up farming, his current home, and the resting place of his wife.
He seemed thrilled to have someone to talk to–we of course were just as thankful. He wished us luck, and sent us on our way. So for now, we are at a 100% hitch hiking success rate.
2. I have conquered the state of Georgia!
Rigga and I passed into North Carolina on Wednesday–woohoo! I was really excited, but almost immediately we were plagued with pesky gnats and flies. It seems they mind the state line. Also, the terrain right after the line was fairly trying–but, I think I’m finally getting my trail legs.
3. I hit two 100 mile markers.
The first happened on Thursday as I reached a total of 100 miles including the AT approach trail.
The second occurred on Friday as I hiked my 100th mile on the AT! It’s all about little victories. Unfortunately, it was raining and foggy on top of Albert Mountain so, there was no spectacular view–but, I did get a picture of the fire tower.
4. An old friend came to Franklin to visit me today. Her and her husband treated Rigga and I to lunch! It was so wonderful to catch up with her. Little things mean SO much.
5. Franklin has been such a hiker friendly town! We were offered rides, wine and food. People here are extremely supportive of the AT community. A very nice lady (although she is a Bama fan..ha!) brought us into town yesterday. She is knowledgeable of the area and told us where to find exceptional food and upbeat live music. We even caught her painting the town later! I highly recommend Miss Beverly Carini (850-572-7352) if you are ever needing a shuttle to/from Franklin.
This morning, the 1st Baptist church van shuttled a pile of hikers in to feed us free breakfast. It’s an annual event and this year they broke their record of feeding 600 hikers!
I highly recommend the town of Franklin for any future AT thru-hikers that need to resupply. They have a Walmart, Ingles, and the folks at Outdoor 76 and Three Eagles Outfitters are awesome.
In addition to the above events, the experience as a whole has been incredible! I’ve learned I’m tougher than I thought and that I can improvise on the fly pretty well.
I’ve noticed I’m definitely becoming more in tune with nature, and my sense of smell and hearing are improving. My ankle is doing much better, but when I bend it and hold my Achilles the feeling is kind of like that weird sensation of tearing a cotton ball apart. That’s the best way I can describe it. Other than that, I’m doing just fine!
Below are some pictures I’ve taken since my last post..and some mentionable quotes. Excuse anything that might seem gross. I’ve come to realize hikers on the trail tend to share things (such as descriptions of bodily functions) more quickly than people who know each other off trail.
-Dixie: We can split a pack when we get to town.
-Rigga: Most people talk about splitting packs of cigarettes or beer..we are getting excited about splitting a pack of toilet paper..
-Dixie: Oh my God! Was that you? I thought it was thunder!
-Rigga: Look! Those ants are carrying that beetle away.
-Dixie: Aww. It’s like their pal bearers.
-Rigga: Pal bearers?
-Dixie: Wellllll…maybe cannibalistic pal bearers.
-Rigga: So you know those emojis on your phone?
-Rigga: Well, have you seen the pile of poop one?
-Dixie: Ha, yeah.
-Rigga: Well, I swear to God that’s what mine looked like this morning–I didn’t know poop could really pile up like that!”
-Dixie: Wow. My ankle is doing something weird when I bend it. It almost feels like someone is pulling apart a piece of cotton.
-Dixie: Yeah, feel of it.
-Rigga: Oh my God!! It does!
Harry Potter (German hiker): Dixie, why is your trail name Dixie?
Dixie: Well, have you heard of the civil war and the North vs. the South?
Harry Potter: Yes.
Dixie: Well, I’m from the south which is also known as Dixie or Dixieland.
Harry Potter: Ohhhhhh. Okay. I was just wondering because we have a brand of toilets in Germany called Dixie toilets and I thought it might have something to do with that.
Other hikers: Laughter.
Well, it’s about time to head back to the trail. Hope all of you back home are doing well!
If yall have any questions, please let me know. Thanks for following–and I will update again soon (hopefully)!
Happy Trails 🙂
I have a friend who through-hiked the AT in 1994, just after he retired. His stories are similar to yours: the communities along the AT are generally very receptive of through-hikers and traditions have developed through the years like the lunch you experienced at that church. There are groups of folks in all these communities who love interacting with the hikers and look forward to it each year. Glad you are having a good time – be careful with that ankle: through hiking can wear you down a little at a time, so any small injury needs to be babied as much as possible right at the beginning so it doesn’t get worse and affect you later on. Love the blog, look forward to your next post. Imagine you are getting pretty wet this week: be careful on those trails!
It has been amazing! The people are great. Thank you for your input! Trying to ice or soak the ankle as much as possible. Thanks so much for reading the blog 🙂
Dixie, I enjoyed reading your blog tonight (Thursday) after I returned home. I’m one of the 3 older men from Ga. you spoke with at the shelter today and later saw at Charlie’s Bunyan (the shorter one with the tan hat). Will look forward to hearing more of your exciting stories on the AT.
Take care and be safe. sld
Aww, thank you! Glad you found my blog. Will probably update again in Hot Springs. It was great meeting yall! Wasn’t that such a pretty day?