Day 6: Roadwalk in the Rain
Saturday, April 20, 2019 9:49 pm
Location: Hatley Gap (62.3 miles)

After a nice evening in Blue Ridge, CareFree and I were ready to get back on the trail. Only the drizzle outside and continued threat of rain later in the day slowed us down.

In the morning, we went to Waffle King for breakfast. It was cool out, and overcast, with a very light drizzle when we went for breakfast. We were hoping that it would have finished raining overnight; I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of having to hike with my rain jacket on again. When we finished eating, we returned to our room and finished packing.

Rather than trying to hitchhike out of town, we called a shuttle service to take us back to the trailhead. It took them less than ten minutes to pick us up, and before long, we were back on the trail and hiking. It was cool, and humid. Figuring the rain wasn’t quite done with us, I put on my rain jacket, and we crossed the highway and started up a hill.

The trail continued through private property for the morning, passing through a community of cabins near creeks and ponds. The trail dodged in and out of the woods, mostly following roads through the neighborhood.

A little after noon, we stopped briefly at the Indian Rock Shelter, the first one on the BMT we’ve seen. It was nice, and could probably hold four people before it started getting cramped. It didn’t look as though it had seen much use, though it is the only place to camp for quite a few miles due to the trail going through private property. While we were there, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds briefly, then hid away again.

Indian Rock Shelter
Indian Rock Shelter

At one point, just after the trail turned off a road and into the woods again, we met with the first downed tree that presented a significant obstacle. The wood looked fresh; likely it fell during the storm yesterday. It was a bit tricky to navigate through (though having two people did make it a little easier than it might otherwise have been), but we’d had to deal with worse on the Pacific Crest Trail, and it only delayed us a minute at the most.

The trail continued darting on and off roads, until we were greeted with a 2.6-mile long roadwalk, during which it started to drizzle again. While the walk through the residential community was at least marginally interesting, this roadwalk really didn’t have much in the way of redeeming qualities, and there was a lot more traffic (though not nearly as much as there was on the longer roadwalk two days ago). Once the trail finally left the road and entered the forest, for good, it’d been 6.5 miles since we started, and we were much in need of a break. With it cold and damp (though not raining, at least for the moment), it was a somewhat unpleasant break, so we kept it as short as possible.

Ferns
Ferns

As we approached our campsite, at Hatley Gap, a light rain began to fall. Around that time, the trail crossed a slope that was covered in white flowers, only the flowers were waterlogged, soggy, and often broken apart. Two days ago, before the rain, it would have looked amazing.

Once we got to our campsite, our first order of business was to set up our tent as quickly as possible. Tired, and cold (it was 40° F outside, but felt colder with the wind and rain), we hid in our tent for a while and tried to warm up. Eventually, the rain stopped, and we were able to cook dinner. The food helped warm us, and lifted our spirits a bit.

As the sun went down, I found that we could see city lights from the town of Ellijay, to the south, the first time that’s happened on this trail so far.

We’re looking forward to tomorrow, where it should be warmer, less cloudy, and much less roadwalking.