Hi, everyone! Getting ready to start Day 7 of my journey, Day 6 of hiking. Yesterday, Day 5, was a rest day. I shared a motel room in Helen, GA near Unicoi Gap, with another gal. She's fun, hard-core biker-chick construction worker. A dozen or so hikers have sort of formed a loose group; we run into each other here and there, get a day ahead or a day behind, then run into each other again. Yesterday just about the whole gang stayed in Helen. Bad weather (snowstorm) was predicted but missed us. It's cold out, maybe 30*F, snow flurries, wind advisory.
I got new hiking boots, and a new backpack via "Trail Magic" -- someone thought I needed a different one and pre-paid the outfitter at Neels Gap (Blairsville) and asked them to notify me to come in and be fitted. It's a ULA Catalyst, very awesome.
Hiked 7.8 miles the first day (rained), 7.3 the next(rained, then a monsoon all night) 11 the third (windy but dry,) then 5 (warm and beautiful,) then another 5, then crashed and burned and took a rest day. That's just about what I figured, rest about every 5 days till I get my "trail legs."
Wildflowers are coming up everywhere and it awesome to watch them in different stages of bud and bloom as the elevation changes and we move into early spring from late winter and back again. Red trillium, white trillium, some starry little white flowers that look like tulips when budding and turn into daisies (Star of Bethlehem?) Rhododendron is budding. Light blue, dark purple, and yellow violets. Awesome fungi with patterns like striated rock (think Sideling Hill if you know the Cumberland, MD area; google a picture of it if you're not). Amazing views -- couldn't see much the first 2 days b/c of rain and fog, but the next two it was gorgeous, and the trees aren't leafed out yet so they don't hide it.
On top of Blood Mt., someone had cut off and left an entire headful of light-brown dreadlocks 2 feet long. I heard from someone else that he'd had some kind of moment of truth and cut his hair as a symbolic expression.
One blister on my toe, not too bad.
I'm so glad I'm doing this. Steve met me at Neels Gap and is going to meet me again in Hiawassee. I called him yesterday to tell him I'd taken a rest day in Helen and he said he'd driven right through there on his way to his new campground job. Neither of us knew the other was there. Made me feel sad.
OK, time limit on hotel computer is up, ride back to Trail is coming soon, life is good!