Day 4 Feb 23 – Plumborchard Gap Shelter – 34.94583, -83.58839 –

30 miles today, DAMN IT HURTS. A total of about 5500ft gained and about 4000ft lost. My feet will never be the same again.
All in all, though, I came out a lot better than I thought I would. I only have 1 blister that has been developing for two days and it’s tiny and right above my arch on my left foot. I LOVE my Soloman shoes, I have no toe or ankle blisters after 80 miles, though they don’t really seem to help the fact that I overpronate (roll my foot outward as I walk), which is what I think is causing them to be so much more sore than I think normal hiking would make them. They also breath exceptionally well so my feet are staying dry.

My shoulders are starting to hurt from the rubbing of my shoulder straps. I have a fair bit of the weight riding on my shoulders and back. I guess it’s because my shoulders are so boney that there’s no muscle or fat to cushion them. I’ve started applying Calendula cream to them and will pad them with extra socks tommorow.

The bad news of today is that I still haven’t found Alleycat and Co. I have a hard time believing they kept going past the Plumborchard access because it’s another 7ish miles and I don’t think they’d attempt a 21 mile day. My guess is that they either stayed at the Deep Gap Shelter and I passed them, or they went into Hiawasse to resupply. I’m gonna take a late morning tommorow, then wait till noon on the trail before heading on if I don’t see them. It’s 4.5 miles from Dick’s Creek Gap (where the AT crosses U.S. 76 to Hiawassee) to here so I figure that if they stayed in town they’d have enough time to get the 14 mile ride back to the trail and hike here, or enough time for them to hike here from the last shelter 7 miles back.

The really cool happening was a guy doing trail magic at Unicoi Gap. He was just sitting there handing out cokes to thru-hikers. I was in heaven for two cans. He was a realy cool guy. Evidently he’s gonna start an AT thru-hike on March 12, GOOD LUCK man, and may he have loads of trail magic. I think I was the only thru-hiker he saw today because the people behind me are at least 10 miles back, and those ahead of me are like a day ahead of me. I feel so loney. I was so looking forward to a night with other people. Ah well.

Well we’ll see what happens tommorow. At least it will be a short day.

Seth “Osprey” Schumacher

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