My new longest day!

AT miles hiked today: 12.1
Total AT miles hiked: 70.7

I had two big milestones today. I can't believe I've hiked over 70 miles already, and I'm going slow compared to some. During a lunch break at Sassafras Gap a large group of hikers gathered, including Baggins, who I've seen several days in a row, twice each day. He is sectioning Georgia by driving himself to a spot and going up the trail then back to his car every day.

I am camped alone in a campsite just north of Dick's Creek Gap and maybe a bear wants my food bag. I hung it myself for the first time. The shelters have cables set up, and I have camped near the shelters twice, so I got to use the cables even though I havn't actually slept in a shelter yet. Late this afternoon I left a perfectly good shelter, a beautiful shelter, actually, with lots of nice people staying there, to hike 4.7 miles more and camp in this place that seems scary right now.

I started my hike on my own, but quickly fell into a bubble of hikers and was never alone at night. That is partly why I continued on at nearly 4:00 to hike more, to make sure I'm hiking my own hike and not get stuck in a group yet. Also, if I have any chance of having enough food to get me to Franklin, I have to go fast. Once there I can resupply and take a zero day. I think I'll be in North Carolina tomorrow! I just have to hike 8 miles to cross the border. I can do that, even after a 12 mile day. My pack makes me happy, but the noises outside my tent make me paranoid.

I got trail magic twice today! First, Professor gave me some oatmeal and a snickers! That was awesome! Then I stopped at a picnic table at Dick's Creek Gap to eat my dinner before heading up the hill to my campsite. A family came over to talk and ask me questions. The mom was Lisa, the daughter was Caroline and I forgot the Dad's name, even though I repeated them all several times. He had hiked on the AT in Virgina as a boy and after some conversation they gave me a partially frozen water bottle and a breakfast bar. I saved the bar for tomorrow and drank the icy water till there was just ice left. That was so good! Who knew I would ever think ice was a luxury? After I set up camp I added water to the ice in the bottle and used it to ice my aching feet. Ahhhh. Oh, and the rubberbands under my soles became a problem late today. Honestly, anything would have hurt by then, but I took them out and probably won't try that again. I'm going to try to sleep now, with ticks crawling near my face on the mesh of the tent. I need to treat my tent and backpack with permetherin, like I did with my clothes, socks, gaiters and shoes. I'll do that in Franklin, too and maybe freshen the treatment on my clothes. Also, I'm buying a head net to keep the bugs off me, and deet with a sponge applicator. And food. Ice cream, chips, snickers,burgers, beer, cold fizzy drinks, oh my!

Boy do I smell nasty, even with nightly wet wipe baths. Pheweee!