Monday, April 20, 2009

Hiawassee, GA

Hi everyone,
I'm in Hiawassee, GA at the public library taking a 1/2 day to rest up before I get into the NC mountains. The trip has been great so far, only one day of rain. I've met up with two guys, Matt from Maine, and Donnie from Pennsylvania, who I've been hiking with for the past couple of days. Some things I forgot to mention in the last email...there was a lot of bear activity around Neel's Gap, mainly on Blood Mtn. A couple hikers food bags were torn down and basically destroyed. One of the guys said the bear came back to his tent looking for his pack but he was able to yell at it and scare it off. On my second day I heard tell of a strange man who hiked into one of the shelters late at night carrying a 22 rifle, a machete and another big knife. Turns out that a lot of people have ran into him but last I heard was he was seen hitching a ride off the mountain. This guy Kevin who I met at the Walasi-Yi hostel has inherited another hiker's dog, Rooster. The dog apparently left its owner about a week ago and is now following Kevin. Well the owner, who had contd hiking north, showed up at a road crossing 2 days ago to get his dog back. Kevin thought he had gotten rid of this dog who had become a burden to him, but later that day Kevin showed up at our shelter with the dog! I guess, the dog doesn't like his other owner and Kevin is now stuck with Rooster. Other wildlife I've seen has been pretty slim. I see loads of chipmunks on the trail and here a lot of turkey. I met a woman last night who saw a bear and a wild boar on the same trail that I had just hiked...?? Hopefully I'll see some bears in the Smokies. I plan to be in Franklin, NC by Friday and hopefully in the Smokies by Tues or Weds. I'll try to find internet in Franklin so I can send another update. I'm pretty happy with all my gear so far. Staying warm every night in my 40 degree bag and toasty down jacket (thanks to Chuck). So far, the trail has been an emotional roller coaster. Hiking all day can get pretty boring and you have a lot of time to think. The trail has been highlighted by periods of highs and lows. Its always good to get encouragement from everyone following along so thanks to all of you that are following along. I've been pretty rushed when I find internet so if I don't respond to the emails, it doesn't mean that I didn't get them just that its hard to get to all of them. I hope everyone is doing well. I hope to update you soon.

Zach (no trail name yet)

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