I begin my prostate cancer treatment on March 13th. As soon as I knew that was a definite date, Bob, Ralph and I scheduled this trip as one last fling before the radiation begins... I feel great and have been really looking forward to this trip.
Ralph is one of my oldest buddies and we used to hit the trail together way back in the day!
It was a beautiful day and we are ready to go:
We planned a little 12 mile hike from Hightower Gap to Woody Gap.
With some serious rain in the forecast we hoped to stay at the Gooch Mountain Shelter. With the first serious wave of thru-hikers starting, we knew there was a good chance we'd be outside. From Hightower the trail starts... UP.
Ralph did really good... especially with that club-foot of his:
I like this section when no leaves are on the trees because you can see the red & white checkered water tower at the Frank D. Merrill Ranger Camp in Dahlonega:
And the airstrip:
This section is a good intro to the AT in Georgia: up and down and repeat...
The section includes Sassafras and Justus Mountains as well as Gooch and Ramrock Mountains.
Me and Bob talking about Ralph...
Ralph is all good...
Crossing Justus Creek at the Devil's Kitchen area:
We get to the shelter and Ralph jumps in on the chores. We all liked the AquaMira Frontier Pro. For $20.00 and 2 ounces it's hard to beat.
Bob is lovin' life! Bob! Did you smile?!?!?! Nah......
It was the inaugural trip for my MiniBullDesign BlackFly 2 alcohol stove. It worked like a charm, especially with the cotton wicks.
Supper included chicken and gravy over stuffing. Quite a hardy meal to eat in front of all the thru-hikers. I felt guilty as first but managed to eventually get OK with it.
Some thru-hikers... It's their second night out on the trail.
In fact there were 14 of us in the shelter and 5 tenters outside.
One thru-hiker I really enjoyed had just been given his trail-name of "Shepherd" earlier today. He's a fellow believer and a great, great guy from Illinois. He's the one standing the middle:
Ralph cooked up a blueberry muffin cake:
It was a real hit with everybody. We should have brought mix enough for a few more:
The rain started about 3:45 am. And I mean IT STARTED! Pretty heavy until around 9:30.
Shepherd was also using a Heineken pot, so I offered him my cozy for his trip:
I've been keeping up with him at his blog. His blog is awesome! He updates it directly from the trail, thus far, several times a day. Complete with pictures. He's doing a great job. Bob, Ralph and I believe he'll make it! Bless you brother and "hike on!!!"
Actually the three of us made Shepherd's blog. He dubbed us "The Three Amigos."
And that we are...
All good things must come to an end so it's out into the fog. Thankfully we had the luxury of getting to wait until is stopped raining. Most the the thru-hikers trudged on out in it. But like the saying goes: To get to Maine you got to hike in the rain!
Besides, we all know that human skin is waterproof...
Nobody busted it here, but I was there to snap a picture just in case they did...
And you know I wouldn't have posted it here...
I've always thought this would be a great place to camp sometime at Gooch Gap. That was our original plan until we heard the forecast. I guess it's just a well we didn't...
I've probably been across this place in the trail just north of Ramrock Mtn 25 times over the years and I've never seen this much water. Thankfully it will eventually find it's way to Lake Lanier... and my faucet.
Another great trip... Old friends, new friends... just being "out there."
God is good....