Monday, March 28, 2016 8:02 pm
Location: Muskrat Creek Shelter (81.4 miles)

Quiet start to the day. Breakfast at Taco Bell, then walked over the post office to mail my useless solar charger back home, then to the food store to pick up more food for the next few days.

Caught the 11 am shuttle back to the trail with Fat Hen and Talon, Healer and Phoenix, Jelly and his dog Peanut Butter, and two other hikers I didn't have a chance to talk to.

Fat Hen and Talon
Fat Hen and Talon
Healer and Phoenix
Healer and PhoenixAlso, Jelly and Peanut Butter

The final miles in Georgia were not too bad, but North Carolina greeted with three long, steep hills, resulting in the second highest elevation gain of my hike so far. Shortly into North Carolina, was a gnarled oak tree.

An Old and Twisted Tree
An Old and Twisted TreeClaimed to be the most photographed tree on the Trail.

At the shelter met up again with Loon and Verge, sisters from Massachusetts who I had met at Blue Mountain two nights ago. Loon is a hospitality student at UMass-Amherst (taking the semester off to hike the AT); Verge is a waitress.

Cooked the dehydrated food Kemosabe and Foxtrot gave me (mashed potatoes, polenta, and chili with hamburger). It was super tasty, but wound up being more than I could eat, so I had to give away about a third of the chili.

It'll be a cold night tonight, and a cool morning, but I'm aiming to get to Carter Gap shelter, another 12.5 miles up trail.

Loon, Verge, and I shared the shelter with Beast, a former city government accountant from Virginia, who is on his second thru-hike attempt, after breaking his foot in VA last year, and after sunset, wound up talking about accounting (particularly government accounting and the impending economic doom as a result of financial shenanigans by the banks and insurance companies) for an hour or more before finally falling asleep.