Ah… It is so nice to wake up to a nice dry tent.  We woke up, ate a quick breakfast, and started packing up our tents and sleeping bags and pads.  We found that we were tenting right next to Pigpen and Shutterbug.  They are sweet gals, that we have bumped into here and there, but never really got to know. 

Pigpen is hiking as an ambassador of the ministry, A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (ACMNP).  She is an amazing woman, with a huge joyful heart.  She is hiking the trail, as a personal goal, but also with a goal to share the love of Christ with other hikers, and to share the Gospel.  She is super fun, and very encouraging.  

Shutterbug is the third person in her family to hike the trail.  Her dad completed the trail in 1989, and her brother completed the trail last year.  She gets her name from her love of photography.  She is carrying her camera with her out here, taking beautiful photos.  Her laugh is contageous.  

Before we headed out from camp, we ran into FogHat.  He was in the van with us from the Hiker Hostel up to Amicalola.  He started his hike the same day that we did.  He is from near where we live in New Hampshire, but currently lives in Mass.  He is a really genuine hearted man.  He shared his story with us, and we are humbled to be able to know him.  

We hadn’t hiked far when we found ourselves hiking through a sweet smelling field.  There is a unique scent of the grassy fields here.  It reminds me of the few summers we spent up here in the NC mountains, visiting my grandparents.  I wanted so badly to just sit under a tree and take it all in… but we had to get going, so I just walked through the fields slowly, taking in as much as I could. 

As I came off of the top of the mountain, I found the kids climbing rocks.  They love climbing, and it is awesome how nature provides the best playground equipment.  They climbed up and down those rocks for nearly an hour. 

Taylor snapped a picture from the top of the mountain, down into the valley below. 

The views never get old.  We are absolutely in love with the moutains.  We LOVE the beauty of creation that surrounds us on a daily basis.  

As we continued to hike, we kept seeing these signs for a new hostel that was right down the road from the Rector Laurel Road crossing.  We decided to walk down to the hostel and check it out.  Well, that was an experience for certain.  The signs advertised cold sodas, wifi, snacks, pizza, hotdogs, and shuttles.  Since I had spilled the potato soup all over Taylor we were down a little food, so we thought that we might be able to catch the shuttle into town for dinner. 

It was like a scene from Deliverance.  It was super sketchy.  They didn’t have hardly any of the amenities that the fliers listed.  Their soda selection was limited to a handful of off brand cola.  We saw the sign that said the shuttle went to town at 6:00.  It was 5:45.  The sign said that the shuttle was $20.00.  We asked Pigpen, Shutterbug, and FogHat if they wanted to go into town and grab something to eat… they said YES!  We went to load up and the driver said, “OK, there are seven of you, it will be $140.00”. WHAT?  $140?  To drive to town for McDonalds, or something like it.  Umm, NOPE!  He told us that he would give us a discount, and that he would do it for $70.  Still, NOPE!  FogHat decided that he was going to stay there for the night, but the rest of us decided to keep going a little further and stealth camp for the night.  It was super hard to settle for the beans and rice, when the thought of pizza or burgers was on our minds, but alas, it would do. 

After we set up our tents, we made dinner, filtered water, cleaned our dishes, and the kids played a game of the Appalachian Trail Game with Shutterbug and Pigpen.  It was SUCH a crazy day… but it was so fun.  We are experiencing all sorts of things out here, and making all kinds of crazy memories. 

Happy Trails ~ The Thru Crew

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