AT Day 006: Thursday April 13, 2023

Mile 68 + 1.2 miles/1.9km
Total Distance Hiked: 69.2 miles/111.4 kilometres

Moreland Gap – Dicks Creek GapHiawassee

A perfectly lovely campsite and a warm night made for a good night’s sleep. Despite the persistent cough, I had a great night’s sleep. Hammer probably less so, he recons he slept next to a chainsaw all night – snoring. The tree canopy above us seems to be turning green with new seasons growth, a twittering of birdsong and a hammering of a woodpecker added to a sense of life returning to the woods.
We have 1.2 miles left to hike to reach Dicks Creek Gap and the road into Hiawassee. From Dicks Creek Gap we will have less then 9 miles  left to hike in Georgia before entering North Carolina.

The morning was cool and the air was clear of smoke although our clothes and tent were a little smoky.  We got to the road and had our usual haggle over the best spot to stand to hitch a ride into town. We rarely agree but of course my spot is always the most logical. 

We waited about 15 minutes, a few trucks passed – no luck. The town runs a free shuttle to the trail three times a day – but it wasn’t due till 10am. Soon another hiker joined us at the roadside. He was carrying the most enormous pack we’ve seen. He said it weighed over 40 pounds and it was giving him hip trouble. 

Underneath that Osprey cover was hiding a 15 year old Gregory pack weighing 7lbs with close to 40lbs of content.

As we were chatting a private hiker shuttle arrived, dropping hikers off. For $20 she would take all 3 of us into town. Done deal.
Her name was Grace and she was a retired Deputy Sherrif from Tampa. She was so funny – when friends asked her why do you want to be driving hikers around when you are retired? She replied ” It’s just like my previous job – I get to drive smelly people in the back of my car, they don’t spit at me or yell obscenities at me or vomit in the back,  I don’t have to cuff them,  they are always happy to see me and they give me money. What’s not to love”.  Our third hiker in the car was a man of a similar age to us, a retired operating theater nurse from North Carolina, but originally from Missouri -trail name “Double G” due to having two great-grandchildren.

The town of Hiawassee is set along the shores of a most georgeous lake surrounded by rolling hillsides. Houses  tucked in amongst the trees looked almost magical on this sparkling sunny morning. Such a lovely town, I’m so pleased we stopped here.

Grace dropped us off to our motel and as it was still early morning,  we  went to the diner next door for breakfast with ‘Double G’.

Over breakfast, I had the Loggers Breakfast, Hammer had an omelette, ‘Double G’ shared some of his first hand experience working as a nurse during the first year of Covid. Interesting to hear his views on Covid and learn a little bit about his background. The diner was filling up with mostly elderly folk, most with some form of mobility issues.  After drinking a bottomless cup of drip filtered coffee, we finished breakfast and said goodby to ‘Double G’. 

We dropped our bags at the motel and walked along the main street into town to get our resupply for the next 70 miles and visit a pharmacy to get some flu medication. We observed the  most courteous drivers- stopping for pedestrians to cross the road even where there is no cross walk. You get a sense that there is no urgency in their travels. I like it..

There are a few hikers in town.
A hiker friendly town.

We  spotted an AT&T store, a pleasant surprise.  A chance to maybe sort out the double charge on the prepaid phone. Two lovely staff were ever so helpful, no trouble they said – fixed in 5 minutes. With smiles on our faces we walked out, found a pharmacy to get some flu medication then a grocery store nearby, finished shopping and went back to the motel.

We were able to get an early check-in which was great. The motel is  bit grungy, we’ll past its prime but perfectly clean and the room was warm. I  had a shower, Hammer did the laundry and I got on with editing the blog.  Reading through our notes on Day 1 it felt like we have been on trail for a long time already and yet still haven’t quite started – if that makes any sense.

I’m juggling between apps on two phones one of which is connected to AT&T.  It was after posting Day 1 that I realised that my AT&T phone had no service at all  – I was getting messages that I had no data available and I needed to pay another $50  to top up my plan. I don’t know how something so simple can get so complicated. Except that now I can’t even make a call to the help desk to see if they can sort it out.

So off I walked back to AT&T store and brough my troubles back to the lovely assistants. They had no clue what was going on suggesting that maybe the first two charges didn’t go through, could I check my account. Of course I didn’t have my other phone with me so I walked back to the motel checked and sure enough I have already been charged twice for the service and now beeing asked to pay again. So I walked back to the store and the assistant  rang the help desk – after 30 minutes on the phone –  the person on the other end had no idea what they we were talking about, so we hung up and tried again. Second time lucky, a refund and a restoration of the original plan with auto pay set up and finally an end in sight. Fingers crossed.

By the time I got back to the room it was after 5, a wasted afternoon on my feet instead of lounging and resting.  At least Hammer could put his feet up and enjoy his much missed Blue Moon beer while catching up on the latest news.