The first section of the Benton Mackaye Trail is supposed to be tough, and it did not disappoint. This section also included Sam announcing her pregnancy and getting a ride into Blairsville with a really nice Hog Hunter.
Blake and Caitlin had agreed to give us a ride to the beginning of the BMT, which begins at the same trailhead as the AT. They are both great kids, and it was nice to catch up with them. Caitlin is my niece and newly married. It is always fun to be around their exuberance and fresh perspective on life.
I think Blake was probably regretting the decision to give us a ride as he white knuckled their SUV up the steep 10 mile dirt road to the trailhead. Apparently we had come up the wrong side of the mountain.
A Short Day
We started hiking around 2PM and the day was gorgeous with robin egg skies and not a cloud to break the blue. There was a cool breeze, so I knew the night would be cold, but budding trees let me know Spring was close.
Joy bubbled up as I hiked and I wanted to stretch my legs and climb hard, but Sam was struggling behind me. Was she out of shape or was it the pregnancy she had informed me of this morning at the airport? This would be her first baby so I was a little nervous about her straining too hard and not even sure if she should be hiking. If anything went wrong there was nowhere to get help. I think her poor boyfriend was even more worried.
Six miles in we called it a day around 5:30PM. I did not want to camp down by the creek. Cold air settles and I could feel the temperature dropping as the sun went down.
I left the trail and climbed up over a small ridge to see a small, little used campsite. The old fire ring did not look as if it had been used in year’s but there was just enough room for two tents. We decided it would work and made camp for the night.
We did not chat for long after we finished cooking. Cold drove us into our tents, and before long my hands were too stiff to even type so I blew up my sleeping pad again and burrowed deep into my sleeping bag for the night.