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Dirk's Rambles

Tuesday March 9, 2021, 5:55 pm

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Yesterday was a challenging day. Alot of climbing. Climbed Mt. Sassafras. How bad could a mountain be that has a name like Sassafras??!! It was a tough climb! It is only 3300 feet, but a steep climb.

Stayed at Gooch Mt shelter in our tents. When we arrived at 4 pm, the tent area was almost full. We shared a tent pad with a woman named Sam. Next to us were two older women (I forget their names). We saw them on the trail and they were moving at a quick pace, even though they didn't look much younger than us. Also near us was another group that we were leap frogging with all day. Four of them altogether. Two of them were a couple, Howdy and Colleen. Howdy is/was a student at Texas A & M, hence the trail name "Howdy." Students there commonly greet each other with a robust howdy in passing. Colleen will be graduating from medical school in June. She is going to hike possibly 800 miles of the trail with Howdy, who hopes to go to Maine. She is an impressive person. Runs marathons. Has a great demeanor. She is 29 but looks much younger.

Have not seen much wildlife yet. Maybe because there are so many hikers. But I'm also not seeing much deer or turkey sign.

Started reading "The Hobbit" this week. Thought it would be a good book for this trip. I read it 40 years ago, influenced by Ed Bitsko, my roommate at the time. Vanita (Brett's partner), Brett (my son), and I watched all six of the Hobbit movies including the Lord of the Rings movies, when I was in Colorado a few weeks ago. Pretty cool reading The Hobbit in the dark in my tent at night.

We have run into numerous staff and volunteers of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club and the Georgia Trail Conservancy. They do a great job monitoring hikers and collecting data on its use. We probably saw 7 or 8 staff/volunteers, all friendly and helpful.
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