3: rock gap to carter gap and 4: carter gap to plum orchard

So here’s the story on yesterday’s “In Transit” post: I’m writing this a day late because this day was TOO COLD. It started out cold and it kept on staying cold and then it got colder. I don’t mean oh I don’t want to take my gloves off to type I mean I spent most of the day with socks over my gloves (I called this handsocks). Actually probably all day. My water was frozen in my water bottle.

I went up to a nice Firetower. It was cold.

I ran into a few hikers, including one southbound thru hiker. We chatted briefly when he passed me, but then had plenty of opportunity to chat later because we ended up at the same shelter. He built a nice roaring fire, where I burnt my socks, and we talked about hiking and school and trees. I called upon some long- time knowledge from my days as the OMHS Envirothon forestry expert (state champs!) to identify an oak tree, but that was all I remembered.

We both slept a miserably cold night. I somehow got it in my head that tonight was the tent site night, so I decided I was going to sleep in a hostel bed. I was a day early. And that’s how I decided to hike 19.8 miles in one day.

Here’s the shelter I didn’t stay in. Looks creepy anyways.

I eventually made it in to Georgia. It was rough.

I pressed on and on and on. It got dark. I still had a ways to go before Plumorchard shelter. I wasn’t going to make it to the hostel, but my thru hiking buddy had been planning on staying here at the shelter. I walked on all day, thinking he would be here ahead of me, probably with a fire built. It was a tough day. Old right knee was really pulling through, with only a twinge of pain every now and then. But that didn’t make nearly 20 miles any easier. There were a lot of downhills, too, and let me tell y’all, that last mile from North Carolina into Georgia was ROUGH. NC evidently doesn’t believe in switchbacks at all. Just straight down.

I made it to the shelter after dark. I was miserable and cold and tired and had a billion new blisters. I set up my tent and started cooking dinner.
Ooooh it is below freezing and I have to walk out into the woods to pee and something is making very quiet rustling noises. This is…ugh.
Anyways. I finally made it to plum orchard after dark and the thru hiker was not here. That was rough. I guess he went on to hiawasee. Oh well. 5 more miles and I’ll be there tomorrow for my resupply.

I think there’s a mouse in here.
(Edit: there was a mouse and it chewed a hole in my rain jacket)

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