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Benton Mackaye Trail – Blue Ridge, GA | Average Hiker

Trail Maintenance on the Benton Mackaye Trail outside Blueridge, GA

Leaving Blairsville, GA – Day 5

  • 55/80 degrees
  • Miles 4.7
  • Overcast

Morning Routine

Blue Ridge, Georgia, was my destination for the day.

I awoke to still grey skies. Humidity was high, and moisture hung heavy in the air. This appeared to be a weather front and not just the afternoon thunderstorms so common in the south as the summer air heats up.

Packing was slow since I only had 4-5 miles into town, and I lay on my sleeping pad watching the forest lighten up around me.

I stretched my tight calves, going through my morning routine of stretching my legs well and massaging those muscles that remained tight. Taking these 15 minutes each morning and night really helps with my muscle recovery and stiffness, especially as I ramp up towards 20 mile days.

My hair is usually a crazy curly mess while I hike, but I always try to brush it the morning I go into town. I also often camp near a water source so I can clean up before leaving.

My “sleep shirt” becomes my hiking shirt as I head into town, and I throw on a jacket before hitching. This makes getting a ride easier (although I like the curls better, I think), and I can get breakfast without chasing off the other customers.

Small Farm just outside Blue Ridge GA and US 76 on the Benton Mackaye Trail.

Morris

Guthook mentioned a shuttler named Morris, so I called him when I got to US76, and he said he would be there shortly. I’ll usually try a shuttle before hitching if I’m close to town, which I often am on East Coast trails.

Morris and I chatted trail as we headed for town. He said he usually shuttled AT hikers more often but was beginning to see more BMT hikers this year. I’m not surprised since the BMT offers a more remote wilderness experience that is getting harder to find on the Appalachian Trail.

Our first stop was the Post Office and then the Comfort Inn, where they charged me $25 to check in an hour and a half early. The hotel appeared empty in these Covid times, so I was surprised. Over my lifetime, I’ve probably stayed in 1,000 plus hotels, and this was my first early check-in fee. Business is business, but that is probably my last Comfort Inn stay – although it was a nice hotel.

Awful Waffle was just down the road, so I walked over to eat and then returned and took care of chores – washing clothes, cleaning gear, etc.

Sam showed up as I was getting back to the room and hung out until Clayton arrived. We all had dinner at the delicious Black Sheep Restaurant. It is always nice to have a vehicle in town.

Once we got back to the hotel, I packed up and called it an early night. Sleep came slowly as I listened to the AC cycling and people coming and going in the parking lot. It would be good to get back to the mountains and get a good night’s sleep. 🙂

Scenes and weather on the way into Blue Ridge, GA
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