Miles today: 16.7
Miles total: 2116.3
Miles total: 2116.3
Currently laying in my bed at Hiawassee Budget Inn...
With today being my very last town day on the trail, I got all excited and was hiking by 6. I quickly decided that this would also be my last day of hiking before sunrise. It finally sunk in that hiking in the dark is no fun. Slow going, no scenery, no sun to buoy my spirits...forget it. It made sense today because every minute earlier that I started meant more time in town. So I sucked it up as I tried to roll my ankles on all the little rocks and made a few minor climbs before it got light. I said good riddance to the headlamp and continued on as the sun cast its light over the adjacent ridge prior to its full arrival. Little ups and downs characterized the day. Around eight miles in, I went on high alert for the NC/GA border sign. As with all things on the trail, I thought I missed it until I walked right up to it. The sign is old, small, and unassuming, but I stopped to have second breakfast on some nearby rocks. I allowed the moment to sink in. There are no more state borders to cross, no more hundred-mile markers to pass, nothing in between. All that's left is Springer Mountain. Sure, there's a quick on-trail resupply at Neel's Gap in a couple days, but that's it. The whole trail has been about me meeting intermediate goals because the overall challenge was daunting and massive. I don't know when, but somewhere along the line it started to sink in that the end was near and that I could focus on the whole picture. Now that I have, I've gone even crazier than I thought possible. I'm totally possessed by finishing. It's painful. I wish I could think about other things, but that's just the reality. My Springer Fever has reached its final unbearable stage.
I headed over Georgia's famous little, steep climbs and soon enough I was at US 76. I got a hitch from maybe the fifth car to drive by. Luckily, it was a pickup and I just climbed into the bed for the eleven-mile slog down into Hiawassee. I was uncomfortable with the idea of stinking up the cabin of a car for that amount of time. Even better, I got an air bath on this comfortable, sunny day. They dropped me off right in front of the Subway, and I got busy eating lunch. I checked in at the Budget Inn next door, then walked up to the grocery store for a resupply. I overbought as I always do, and now I'm struggling to eat all the food I have. Not a bad problem to have. The rest of my day consisted of laying in bed and occupying my mind with TV until it was time to go back over to Subway for Round 2. I'm such a bum. Anyways, three more hiking days after today. And they honestly can't come soon enough. The butterflies in my stomach aren't leaving any room for food!!
Pictures: yeah that is really the name of that trail; twisty tree; the last state border ever.