Jun 02 2008

Georgia AT Trail Day 2 (3 Forks – Gooch Gap)

Monday 6/2/08
Trip: 13 miles
Elevation: 3350ft (max) 2450ft (min) 2788ft (total accent)
Time: 6h 08m (moving) 4h 41m (stopped)
Moving Avg: 2.1 mph
Temperature: 70 F
Wind: Light breeze
Conditions: Clear, no precipitation
Pack Weight: ~38lbs (2L water, 6 days food)

First full day with decent mileage. Georgia is famous for it’s constant series of PUDS (pointless ups & downs) – today was just a taste. At this point, it’s evident I need more cardio conditioning but it’s easily managed with interval rest. It’s also quickly apparent you spend pretty much the entire day sweating – which means you spend the entire day drinking water until you’re ready to puke – and then you drink some more. Dehydration is a serious issue at this point if you aren’t careful.

We “camel up” at every water source and Mark & Scott are on me the whole day to keep drinking – its normal to kill a 3L hydration pack before lunch if you’re drinking enough. I’m glad these guys are with me – they drive me when I feel like slowing down or stopping, and they keep me drinking (did I mention you drink alot of water in 80 degree weather hiking up and down GA mountains?). Not much on the scenic views – we’re still climbing up out of the 3 Forks saddle.

Other than Scott having the ground hit him in his hammock, the first night on the trail was uneventful. We keep hearing about all the bears in the area but so far, haven’t seen much of any wildlife beyond the occasional squrriel or song bird. So far, my gear has held up nicely although I need to buy a pair of flip-flops at Neel’s Gap – I forgot my pair from home and I need some camp shoes to give my dogs a break while we set up camp.

6/2/08 Journal entry:
I pretty much got smoked. I think we were all tired at the end but it was an eye-opener for what the rest of the week is going to be like.

Woke at 6am to get on the trail early – hiked for about an hour and then stopped at Long Falls for breakfast and a look at one of the better water fall sites on the GA trail.

Rest of the morning we chased voices from a girl scout troop or something – ate lunch at Horse Gap and prepared to tackle our biggest ascent to date – Sassafrass Mountain. Finally caught our mysterious voices on our way up – 10 or so teenage girls taking a long rest half way up. On the back side we ran into a military academy out for some sort of day hike. 4 seperate squads of teenagers – combined with the girl scouts we had about 30 people spread out along the trail today.

Mark was hoping it was Rangers – we’ve seen traces of them all over the place here in Horse Gap – he even recognized “Cemetary Field” from his days in Ranger School at Camp Merill but no luck.

Rest of the afternoon was a constant leap-frog with the Girl Scouts and the Academy kids. Last 2 miles was brutal -> I have a sore tendon in my right shin – I hope it’s not chronic …

Called Mel tonight to give her an update – it was good talking to her.

Tomorrow is another early start but taking it slow -> we want to set ourselves up for the big Blood Mountain ascent on Weds. Let’s hope my leg holds it together.

Elevation Profile
3 Forks – Gooch Gap

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