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Dirk's Rambles

Thursday, March 11, 2021, 7:20 pm

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Tuesday we experienced another example of trail magic at Woody Gap. I walked into the parking area from the trail and saw a big crowd of people around the back of a pickup. I was preoccupied because I thought I may have lost my wallet (I didn't!) so I went to a picnic table to sort thru my pack. Brad, who was ahead of me, walked over with six slices of pizza. The truck and food was provided by three thru hikers from 2020 who thought they would provide some joy and food for their new brethern/sisters. They had pizza, chips, candy, water, pop and beer. For the record, I turned down the beer. I want my wits about me while I'm walking! It was all very generous.

Alot of hills on Tuesday!

On Wednesday, we climbed Blood Mountain. It is the highest point in Georgia on the AT at 4,461 feet. It wasn't as bad as Sassafras, even though it was higher. At the top was a beautiful stone shelter, maybe the oldest on the trail Brad believes. The views were fantastic! We found many of our new friends at the top: Ramblin Man, Austin, Bear Girl, Colleen, Howdy, Julia, and a few others.

We met Ramblin Man (Dave) a couple of days ago at Lance Creek primitive area. He is a Vietnam vet. He has completed the trail 3 times and looks as fit as Larry Felbaum, one of our classmates. Brad thinks he is Larry's twin. He was interesting to talk to. He is from upstate New York originally and played hockey there as a high schooler. We talked about Vietnam as well. He maned a listening post in Thailand in 1974. Ramblin Man will soon turn 68.

After a steep decline from the top of Blood Mtn, we walked into Neal's Gap, where there is an outfitters store. I asked them to do a shakedown of my pack to lose some weight. Tayrn was given that difficult assignment. She did a great job. She had me mail back all my clothes but one t-shirt, one long sleeve shirt, one pair of underwear, and one jacket. Everything made of cotton went home. Also mailed back my bear cannister and my elk hunting backpack, which weighed six pounds by itself.

As I write this we are at the Best Western in Blairsville, GA. We cam in last night, ate dinner with Jeff and Stephanie, who we met on the trail. We ate at a Mexican restaurant within walking distance from the hotel. Enjoyed their company very much. Jeff recently retired and they both sold their house and are now voluntarily homeless. They are excited to be on the trail. They are from Minnesota and more recently from Ohio.
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