The lady who flew in from Maine to hike with us decided to go back home on day two and hitched into town and left. It rained and rained and rained and rained. It's still raining over there and will rain more later this week. I am going Wednesday to pick up Melissa, who has finally had enough at 70 miles in. I'll go back and finish that section when it's not so damn wet. If I am going to hike it alone anyway, I'd rather be able to see more than my fogged over glasses and fogged in overlooks and muddy, slick trail. I hate camping in the rain even with the car 20 feet away. This was a whole new level of suck! The first night, all my stuff was soaked because I didn't know how to set up my tent for rain. It came with ZERO instructions. I got smarter after the first time, but it never did stop raining for more than a few hours. It became stressful, then wearing, then demoralizing, then enough. I don't feel even remotely bad for quitting.
I did enjoy seeing parts of the trail, seeing other people's set-ups. The first night on Springer, a guy set up between me and the spring, and I giggled a bit about the HUGE sheet of plastic he was basically wrapping his tent with as I walked past to get water. I will never do THAT again. hahaha! At the time it seemed excessive, but now...I think 50 feet of that 10 mil pool liner would be a good idea to haul around. Or maybe just neoprene everything.
The wildflowers were amazing, trout lily not even blooming in the high areas. Flame azalea, an Appalachian-only bloomer was starting to come out. Violets, chickweed, iris, foam flower, oxalis, sweet shrub, dogwood, magnolia, blackberry, apple-it seems like everything was in bloom at once and when it wasn't pouring, the smell and the pollen was so strong. Like it had to do everything in that brief window of dry.
I'm already keeping an eye on the weather to plot my return and planning hikes locally to keep my burgeoning muscles from lapsing back into Little Debbie snack cake shape.
I was going to hammock camp but I have never hammocked in blowing rain and I was a little worried about staying warm enough at night with the air moving under the hammock. Tents are about 10 degrees warmer just through blocking the air. I sleep cold, so-tent.
It rained. I have a few foggy overlooks and some slightly blurred flowers.
The next weekend, Matt and I walked to Helton Creek Falls:
On the way to our AirBnB we went past this old courthouse:
He was going to drop me back off at the trail Sunday, but it started raining again and I was done. I asked him to just take me home, so he did.
It was closed for remodeling. hahaha
The drive thru was open, but I wanted to sit still and dry and eat.
We went to Creekside Deli and it was wonderful. I had a double grilled cheese, perfection.
They had these huge white cabbages out front with baby heads inside. We both thought the other had gotten a pic of them!
On the way home, we routed through Atlanta and walked the Dolls Head Trail.
Then, we got home around dark and that was that. Not a super exciting start to the backpacking adventures, but I'm okay with that. I'm not hurt, my gear is undamaged, as soon as my shoes dry out I think they have a few more miles in them. I admire people who can push through day after day of that kind of weather, but I know myself well enough to realize I am not made of the same stuff, and that's okay.