Day 3. Another day another trail angel! Actually two, and both were amazing. When we woke up this morning, a 2015 thruhiker named MacGyver was waiting at the shelter to provide some amazing news. Once a year he comes up from Atlanta to cook hot breakfast sandwiches about a mile up from our shelter at the Hwy 42 crossing. One mile to hot eggs?? Yes please! And let me tell you … It. Was. Glorious. I’m talking bagels, eggs, cheese, bananas, cold soda, water, sausage, and more. It was a much needed pickmeup after another bitter cold and windy night (which I’m pretty sure dropped below freezing).
Before going on, I handed out a couple more trail names to new friends. A couple hiking together had a bet that the guy could start a fire last night using just a flint and steel – after 20 minutes of failure, The Captain walked over and dumped some alcohol on the wood and told him to try again. This time it lit up and we all had a laugh. So this morning I asked how they’d like that as their joint name: Flint (guy) and Steel (girl). Another winner, they liked it.
Today’s hike was short, about 8 miles, and not too hilly. One big one to take down though was Big Cedar Mountain, a part of the Chattahoochee National Forest, and it was a gentle giant. Not as bad as tomorrow’s Blood Mountain, but still a formidable foe. However, at the summit was the BEST view of the trip thus far. An amazing vista that was a gathering place for quite a few day hikers. One of which was Asher, my new best friend. Asher (pictured above) is a 5 year old boy who was handing out mandarin oranges at the vista to thuhikers. He and his dad were very friendly and great to chat with for a break. As we walked on, we were happy to see them a few more times throughout the day, as it turned out we both had the same end-point in mind.
Around 2pm we leisurely strolled into Lance Creek, the last official campground before “bear canister required zone”. It was a shorter day, but a needed one, as we were feeling the pain from our last 2 long treks. Side note, Macgyver warned us that this 3rd day is one of the worst for thruhikers, so I’m optimistic our pain will be short-lived. The knee is better, though only minimally. I’ll continue to keep a close eye on the situation.
This campsite is heavenly. We set up camp early and took a nap in the sunshine, it was quite the treat. When I prepared for the trail, this campsite is exactly what I pictured.
We were stirred from our afternoon siesta by a familiar booming voice … “GUYS! GUYS! GUYS!” It was 8-Bit! He finally caught up with us again, and we were happy to reunite. We welcomed him to setup at the pristine campsite with us and told each other stories from the past 2 days. He’s been doing well and found some young friends to hike with at his pace. We walked over to their campsite and enjoyed a group dinner together (Flint and Steel were there too). After some more socializing, a much appreciated campfire, and joking around (a bit at 8-Bit’s expense, it turns out he’s really easy to make fun of and doesn’t mind the laughter he generates) we called it a night.
Another great day in the books. I’ll be sad to see The Captain and Gandalf go tomorrow … oh yeah, Keg wasn’t really working for Craig so he took on a new name today. With his long white beard and 8 foot tall hiking stick, it was an easy match. Tomorrow will be a short and tough one into Neels Gap, where a very small trail town awaits us. But we have a hostel waiting for us with beds, showers, laundry and more. Hello Neiman
- Start Mile: 15.7
- Start Time: 08:30
- End Mile: 23.9
- End Time: 14:10
- Miles Hiked: 8.2
- Miles to Go: 2167.0
- Lodging: Lance Creek campground