We took a shuttle back to Unicoi Gap where we ran into Teen Wolf and Oil Tycoon catching a shuttle into Helen for a "Nero" day (low miles).
Despite the the fact that we got a late start we were able to bang out 13 miles to Deep Gap Shelter where we reunited with Upstate and Sweet K. We also met Emily who started the trail with Tern Wolf and then moved on, faster than him . This was her second thru- hike in 4 years!
We got in a little late ( 7:20) so we ended up cooking and eating on the dark and then hanging our food on the bear cables by headlamp.
Since the water source was a little ways away, I made the decision not to refill my water bottle before bed and to just use my platypus. Big mistake! I ended up rolling over onto the bite valve in my sleep and spilled an entire liter of water inside my tent! Too tired to deal with it on the middle of the night, I held up our little group up the next morning while I dried put my tent, sleeping bag, and pad. New rule: no more platypus inside the tent!
April 9: After our late start because of my water mishap, we hiked the majority of the day with Upstate who had stayed behind with us pokey trail chicks. I kept expecting the terrain to even out a bit, but let me tell you, Georgia is no joke! Up then down then up then down. All day. My body was really starting to feel fatigued today as we pushed out 10 mes to a camp site.
All modesty and decorum long since abandoned, the girls set up camp in our sorts bras and indies while Upstate whipped out these little Richard Simmons shorty shorts
We also had our first full fledged bear hang, courtesy of Chiclet who has more backcountry experience than either Upstate or I. Just before the sun went down, K-Bizzy rolled in and we were treated to a spectacular show:
I had read that the trail evens out once you cross into North Carolina, but after the state line, we literally walked straight uphill for 5 miles. It was pretty hard. We spent the day yelling "Welcome to North Carolina!"
We ended up at Standing Indian Shelter for the night, a pleasant shelter with a nice running brook for a water source. Gave us the opportunity to take off our boots and splash around in the cold water to wash up and cool down our feet.
The shelters have so far been quite crowded and this one was no exception. We once again ended up tenting at the shelter which is okay. The people in the shelter are changing a bit, though. While Gooch Mountain had lots of folks who I'm quite sure would drop out at Neel's Gap, now we are hanging out with people with more backpacking experience. People who I'm more certain will make it to Harper's Ferry or to Maine.
Another thing: it has become abundantly clear that we are the loud group. Not necessarily me (though I did my fair share of cursing North Carolina at the top of my lungs today). But Chiclet and K-Bizzy had a rollicking good rendition of " Party hikers in the shelter tonight" going. Sleep? Who needs sleep?