AT Day 007: Friday April 14, 2023

Mile 69.2 + 0 miles / 0km
Total Distance Hiked: 69.2 miles/111.4 kilometres

An almost totally indoor day today. Outside the sky was grey and it rained on and off all day but it was not as bad or as cold as was predicted. Maybe it was a different story out on trail. No regrets about taking a full day off. The flu is taking it’s time coughing up a lung at times and easing sinus congestion. The drugs are helping. The only time we left the room was to go to the highly recommended Daniels Restaurant for lunch. No disappointment here – the food was great.

Since we are almost done with Georgia Hammer has contributed a few reflections. Here is Hammer.

With about 10 miles to go in Georgia, I thought I would give my reflections on the state with a plan to do this for all 14 states as we move up the trail.

While it was a wet start to the trail as Corky has described, it was the cold that surprised me. It seems like in those conditions the rain gear does not breathe enough and so some of the moisture is from sweat and some water will find a way in from the outside. Almost everyone we have spoken to had rain gear failure during the extended rain period this past Saturday. Luckily the next day was warm and gave a chance for everything to dry out, it is almost always the case that there will be small windows of opportunity to dry the wet gear. It appears it was unusually cold at the same time as the wet.

The hiking has been a lot of up and down and the navigation easy as the white blazes on the trees are frequent. Any trails off the AT such as to a shelter or to a vista is marked with a blue blaze. The views are often obscured through trees which at present are just budding and so lack the usual summer foilage. The views are often of row after row of mountains or lush green valleys.

The people on the trail have been friendly. Although we are not particularly fast hikers we seem to be overtaking quite a number of hikers and to date have not been overtaken by any one while on trail. Our typical day starts about 6am, sunrise is about 7.10am. We’ve broken camp and are on trail hiking by about 7.20am, typically doing about 2 miles an hour. So we end up a long way short of the hiker aspiration of 10 miles by 10am. We are generally covering 15 to 19 miles a day, yet to crack the 20 mile day but it is coming.

The flu we have been suffering has made the uphill pace a little slow due to breathing issues but we are hopefully heading towards the end of the flu and the gaining of our hiking legs. We have probably been less prepared fitness wise for this hike than previously. Normally we have had a couple of months hiking and travelling in the lead up to a long trail. It has not been the case this time around and we have noticed our lack of physical fitness.

It has been interesting observing other hikers on the trail in these early days. As always there are some very large packs, often with all sorts of gadgets, shoes, mats, tents etc hanging off 60+ litre packs. We have passed hikers just getting started when we are setting up for lunch and others we have passed at 3pm with their tents up and sitting reading a book. I am not looking to judge these hikers but just noting that it is a long way to Maine. One person we spoke to has averaged 5 miles per day when we passed him which means he must be carrying a lot of heavy food to get to resupply points. It will be interesting to continue to observe as we head further up the trail. The AT is reported to have a high dropout rate in the first few weeks and judging by the Georgian terrain with its many ups and downs I can see why.

Already looking forward to tomorrow and entering North Carolina. Georgia its been peachy.