AT Days 8-11

Blue Mountain Shelter to Uniqoi Gap (Mile 52.5)

Today was a little bittersweet. I decided to take it easy, and hike 2.5 miles to Uniqoi Gap and shuttle into town (Helen, GA). The rest of the group I had been camping with each night planned on stopping in Hiawassee in a couple days. My foot needed some ice and rest so I decided to part ways, and maybe I’ll see them again in a few days.

It turns out, Helen, GA is the cutest town ever! I really enjoyed walking around town.

I got some laundry done, showered, and resupplied at Betty’s Country Store.

I had dinner at Troll Tavern, which was actually under a bridge! (And yes I was dining alone and asked the waiter to take a picture of me…)

Day 9 Uniqoi Gap to Tray Mountain Shelter (Mile 58.2)

Next morning was back to business. I got a shuttle back to the trail at Uniquoi Gap, and I hiked to the next shelter about 6 miles. I was more careful to take breaks and rest my foot throughout the day.

I definitely noticed the weight of my now full food bag, and carried that new weight up two fairly significant climbs (that’s why the rest of the group is waiting a couple days to stop in Hiawasee…)

Apparently Tray Mountain Shelter is known for being drafty. Wind and rain blows right in. I decided to tent nearby, but people who stayed in the shelter had a creative solution, blocking the entrance with a discarded tent that someone had left behind.

Day 10 Tray Mountain Shelter to Deep Gap Shelter (Mile 65.6)Today was supposed to be a rainy day according to other hikers. I made myself a cold coffee to go in an effort to save time and beat some of the rain. It actually turned out to be a really nice sunny day instead.I took a little hammock break today. I think this is my favorite luxury item.Also today was my first time sleeping inside one of the shelters. This one had two floors and I got a spot on the 2nd floor.

Day 11 Deep Gap Shelter to Plumborchard Shelter (Mile 73.7)

Today actually was rainy… pretty much the entire day. I really didn’t take many breaks, mainly because it’s not fun to sit in the rain. I made pretty good time getting to the next shelter.

Plumborchard Shelter is actually a 3 level shelter. When I got there it was packed! People huddled together inside. Wet clothes and gear hung from every available hook or peg.

The rain died down in the afternoon, and some people decided to tent. I stayed in the top level.

The pictures below were taken the next morning after most people had left. There were 6 or 7 of us on the top level sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder. Altogether the shelter is supposed to hold 14 people max, but we had 21 inside that night, plus one on the table out front, plus one who decided to sleep underneath the shelter!

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