Friday, November 27, 2015

Day 109: Into Dalton!

June 24: I didn't sleep well during the night. I'm not sure why, but I kept waking up every 20 minutes or so then going back to sleep again before waking up again. I finally got up for good at 4:29, one minute before the alarm clock in the room was scheduled to go off. I don't normally use alarm clocks on the trail (and don't carry one with me), but the hotel room had one available and since I needed to hike 20 miles to the post office in Dalton before it closed at 4:30 (PM), I needed to make sure I got an early start!

I spent an hour packing up all of my gear and eating breakfast back in the lobby, but didn't get back on the trail until 5:45 when it started getting light enough to take photos for Walking 4 Fun.

The weather was beautiful and I had no complaints on that count. The trail was terribly, terribly muddy, which I complained bitterly about. At one point I slipped off a bog bridge and landed in the mud next to it, covering the whole side of my body from feet to shoulders in mud. *grumbling*

About a half hour later, I went to grab my 1 liter water bottle and discovered it was missing. Undoubtedly, it fell out of my pack when I slipped and fell into the mud. Argh! It wasn't a critical issue since I still had my 1.5 liter water bottle which was still half full with water. I wasn't out of water, but it was still an inconvenience.

Despite the mud and slips, however, I burned up the trail quickly making it into Dalton by 2:00 in the afternoon.

The trail runs right through the streets of Dalton--no off trail necessary to get into town! And it passes Tom's house, who's been helping and supporting hikers walking past his house for decades. He'd been helping them for decades when I first met Tom on my 2003 thru-hike, and he's still around helping hikers. I didn't see Tom outside this time around, but I did catch up with Tropical and Beetle lounging on the patio who I chatted with a bit before continuing into town.

Since I got into town well before the post office was scheduled to close, the first thing I did was check into the Shamrock Inn so I'd have a place to sleep for the night. (Tom often lets hikers camp in his backyard, but I wanted a room!) It seemed a little surreal to be getting another hotel room after having slept in one the night before. How awesome would it be if we could just hike from hotel to hotel along the entire length of the trail? =)

I unloaded my pack then walked the block or two over to the post office where I picked up my laptop and a box from Zappos with new shoes. The shoes would be my third set for the trail and, as it turned out, the last pair I'd use on the trail.

I headed back to the hotel room where I took a shower and did laundry, then headed out again to loop around town picking up food and check out a few restaurants to see which ones had enough space to accommodate a group of people for the next day....

But that was it. Then it was back to the hotel room where I got on my laptop and caught up with emails and messages for the rest of the evening.

The trail was extraordinarily muddy today! And don't slip off these bog bridges. Just trust me on this. *nodding*

Hiker trash on Tom's front porch. =)

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