We set off from a night in the quaint little town of Blairsville, GA to park our car at Deep Gap, NC. The morning was cold; much colder than my Louisiana-raised body was prepared for. As we turned down the gravel forest road, we saw snow lightly covering the mountainside. We witnessed the morning sky turn from pitch black to light pink to the pale blue of the morning.
We experienced our first dose of trail magic from the infamous Red Truck/Green Truck crew. Filling our stomachs with hot breakfast, we waited for our shuttle to pick us up from the gap. There was also the sweetest rottweiler/german shepherd mix named Duke who kept us company.
Everything seemed to be going smoothly…until we were about an hour in of the 2 hour drive on our shuttle to Springer. We realized Zach’s wallet with both of our ID’s and money was left behind in the car. Luckily, he put the cash for the shuttle in his pocket beforehand. Our shuttle driver, Ms. Sally, offered to turn around, but it was already late in the morning and we had 8 miles ahead of us once we arrived to the trailhead. Deciding to push forward with a “let’s see what happens” mindset, we continued our way to Springer.
Our destination for the evening being Hawk Mountain Shelter, we began our 8 mile journey. The Appalachian Trail seems to bless its hikers with many creeks along the way to either refill water supply or just to have a nice spot for lunch.
That’s exactly what we did about 2 miles in! We enjoyed a nice and much needed lunch of: beef jerky and cheese for me and tuna and crackers for Zach.
A little further down we happened across this larger creek. Thankfully, there was a bridge to help us get across.
Other creeks had tiny bridges (pictured above), which I made my way across with extreme caution. Zach crossed them without a problem, of course.
After about 5 hours of hiking, we made it to the shelter! If there’s anything we don’t regret bringing it’s our camp shoes (flip flops) and a deck of cards! Being able to take off our shoes and let our feet breathe is a luxury at the end of a day on trail. As for the deck of cards, it makes time pass as we waited for dinner time. Yes, those are our socks airing out on top of the tent. Lol We were also lucky to meet some awesome thru-hikers. A few being a guy named Tangerine Dream, Captain Chaos and his dog, Mayhem, as well as a guy from Quebec. Trying to save on fuel, dinner ended up being a slightly undercooked Mac’n’cheese, but delicious nevertheless.
We couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling of not having a way to pay for things in case of emergency. Before settling in for the night, one of us realized we had service at the shelter. Zach got in touch with his Mom, while I searched google for any options we may have had. She saved the day (and our trip morale) by sending us a gift card, through email, for Mountain Crossings/ Neel’s Gap which was our destination for Day 3, for resupply or hostel/showers if needed.
Day 1 was complete and we were feeling great! 8 miles down on this exciting Adventure!
Zach & Heather