Appalachian Trail Quest: Hike 6

Quest: A long or arduous search for something important

Hiking Tesnatee Gap to Unicoi Gap

April 2017

I still have no idea how to pronounce it.

I gathered some companions and set off for a weekend of hiking. I have been working towards my goal of section hiking the Georgia Portion of the Appalachian Trail. We loaded up our backpacks and set off for a weekend of hiking and fun.

We set off straight up. I don’t normally like hiking up but I found that I like it even less carrying a 40 pound backpack.

We made it up Wildcat Mountain and hiked through some curvy trees to Hog Pen Gap.

Hog Pen Gap

It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining and the weather was wonderful. The forest was just beginning to show signs of new springtime life.

Spring is here!

We climbed up some hills. This was the first time I hiked with a full pack. Yikes! Forty pounds makes a huge difference. Packing EVERYTHING I thought I might need may have been a mistake, a very heavy mistake!

Lavender scented bath wipes don’t seem that heavy in the store!

We hiked up and down and up and down. We talked and laughed. It was a lovely day!

As we hiked, the trail joins a very old road. It is crazy to think of someone making a road over these mountains.

“Let’s just make a road that goes straight up and over all the mountains.” Who says that? Who even made this road?

As the sun dropped lower in the sky, the temperature dropped also. The temperature dropped much lower than we expected. We began looking for a place to camp. You might think that finding a place to camp on the AT is easy. You are in the woods! Just camp anywhere! Nope, you can’t camp hanging on the side of a mountain or on top of a bunch of trees.

We were just about to lose all hope of finding a campsite. I decided to give positive thinking a try so I told my friends that we would find the perfect campsite in exactly ten minutes. Of course they didn’t believe in the power of my positive thinking, But …

EXACTLY ten minutes later, we found the perfect campsite!

I couldn’t get anyone to visit me in my tent!

You may be thinking that my tent looks a little sheer for 30 degree, very windy weather. If so, you are absolutely correct. Thank goodness for my warm, snuggly sleeping bag. The temperature was much lower and the wind was gusting much faster than we expected. Fortunately, Scott didn’t freeze to death while sleeping in his hammock, Eric had disco gloves and apparently a massage therapist to keep him warm in his tent, and Colleen’s tent didn’t blow away. It was a nice night of sleeping in the woods.

The next morning, we had a cup of hot tea, packed everything (and I do mean everything) back into the backpacks, and were on our way to another day of hiking adventure.

I love the woods but I am allergic to everything in those woods as you can see from my red, swollen eyes.

It warmed up quickly and was a beautiful day to hike.

We hiked and hiked and hiked

Thanks Eric, for saving my pillow when I dropped it.

We learned all about boulder fields as we crossed many of them. No glaciers ever covered these mountains. During glacial periods, water that had seeped down into the rocks froze, pushing the boulders out of the ground. It was very rocky.

Scott loved this part of the journey. The boulder fields were his favorite.

We are just chillin in a boulder field.
Is this some kind of dragon?

We hiked through many different types of terrain. When we finally got to Unicoi Gap, we were met with a welcome party and applause. All sections should end like that.

Eric’s knee felt great!

We did it! We survived the sudden cold, the boulder fields, and carrying those very heavy backpacks. We dealt with the unexpected and had a great time doing it.

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

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