Hiawassee Hiatus & First Week Reflections

We are currently feasting at a cafe in Hiawassee, GA and having no troubles joining the clean plate club. The first of our resupply box shipments is what initially brought us off the trail at Dicks Creek Gap, with intentions of getting right back on. We sent dog food and meals for ourselves ahead to locations that hold them for Thru-Hikers, estimating about every 8 days, that being the amount of food the dogs can hold with full packs. So, when we arrived to our first resupply stop with 2.5 days worth of dog food yet to be eaten and a tent in need of replacement/repair, we decided it best to come into town. We found the most affordable dog/hiker friendly place in town that even picks you up & takes you back the 7 miles to the trail so hitch hiking wasn’t necessary.

I’ll let Brent take over from here – he’s more of a bullet point kinda guy.

Here is a list of what we’ve learned, witnessed, and decided after our first days of hiking:

  • There is a whole lot more to Georgia than Atlanta. Our 2 hour ride north with Ron showed us quickly how beautiful this part of the country really is.

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  • We have been quite fortunate with weather. Talking to other hikers that started a day or two before us it sounds like we just missed the cold and snow. We only saw snow and cold for the first few hours of hiking is all. Two days of rain, which our tent didn’t do the best in, but other than that no complaints.

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  • Proud to report we’ve cranked out 70 miles in 6 days in some tough terrain. Steep climbs and descents are one after another for the entire stretch of Georgia’s portion of the AT.
  • Overall we’re feeling good, but like most, it’s about this point in the hike our bodies are really feeling the rigorous work we’ve been doing day after day. Both of our heels have taken a hit, and mole skin is helping, but nothing is as good as rest at this point. Alexis has been a trooper dealing, in addition to her worn heels, with a stubborn cold from the beginning (voiceless the first two days, which was kinda nice…haha), and also a sore/swollen knee. I give her props for keeping up with us boys who like to set the world on fire, but I don’t want it going to her head either.
  • Dogs are doing so great besides being a bit too vocal towards select hikers. We’re slowly getting them off the leash more and they certainly keep our pace moving, and having been staying on trail surprisingly well. Health wise both are great except Lewis got a couple sores from his pack rubbing, so Jack & Momma took his load yesterday to let him heal. Sure enough, after every hard day of hiking when we get to camp, take off their packs, they usually have another hour of running and playing left in them. This has been stick heaven for Lewis and its his life mission to have Jack chase him in pursuit of the perfect stick. It has become obvious that we’re hiking with puppies who haven’t quite matured into dogs they’ll become. Can’t learn any younger and 2000+ miles of training lay ahead, right? Once in the tent they have no trouble settling in for the night, except when Jack is busy keeping the bears away with a bark here and there. It’s funny after raising them separately their first year how they’ve swapped loyalty – Lewis is now my shadow and Jack won’t let Alexis out of his sight.

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  • Hanging the ‘bear bags’ in the evening has become my entertainment and by end I’ll be pro. We have to hang two separate ropes because of the dog food, making it extra challenging.
  • Lex doesn’t like what I call all the locations we pass. ‘Cheese Factory Site’ obviously is the same as ‘Cheesecake Factory’ I say, but she thinks I’m stupid when I say that in front of others.

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Tomorrow, when we pick up on the trail where we left off we’ll be a mere 9 miles from the North Carolina border. That has us both thinking ahead about having to leave these boys while we pass through The Great Smokies National Park. (Dogs aren’t permitted in the park so they’ll be staying at a nice place on the north end of the park for the 8 days it will take us to pass through.) It’s tough to say who will miss each other more!

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And finally, from us both – thank you for reading and cheering us on. We appreciate all the emails and comments greatly. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, share advice, or tell us how crazy we are – we welcome it all!

Happy Trails!

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