I am in my tent at the Lance Creek Recreation Area, mile 24. The night is clear and warm. I would like to be uncovered beneath the stars, but my tent needs the opportunity to air out. That, and I have neighbors camped not far from me, I do not feel social as of yet. I could smell their campfire as I was approaching. They were speaking loudly and laughing. I am camped a couple hundred feet before them and the designated camping area. They did not spot me. That suits me well enough.
I traveled in to Dahlonega, GA today. Caught a hitch from the Woody Gap parking area. It was an easy hitch. Took no more than 15 minutes. Rusty was his name. A sweet man with a pick-up truck and a Southern drawl. He told me that his son thru-hiked the AT some years back, and he makes it a point to help out all the hikers he can. He dropped me off at Wal-Mart, ran his errands, scooped me back up and returned me to the trail. How marvelous! Getting in to, and especially back out of towns can be one of the trickiest parts of a thru-hike. Time is of the essence. Once night falls, there may be no return until the follow in morning. At Wal-Mart I got a Frogtog rainsuit and ditched the pricey rain-coat. I had found some Frogtogs in a hiker box in Northern Washington last year and they saved my life. Oversized clumsy looking things devoid of any style, but they are light and they work. I also re-upped on food-supplies, due to… well, being a bit slower than anticipated.
It felt very nice to hitch in to town. To meet Rusty. That is such an integral part of trail life–the hitching and the locals and the support. Lovely.
After returning to Woody Gap I sat in the sun in the grass and slipped my clothes over sun-drenched stones to dry. I made my way about 4 more miles to where I sit. I can feel the lactic acid building, the soreness growing. I am excited to recline completely.
Tomorrow: Blood Mountain!