Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
Spacejam packed up early in the morning before sunrise and hiked out. I had a sneaking suspicion we might not see him again. He had mentioned recently that between the bushwhacking, ticks, poison ivy and the heat, he was not having a good time out here. Given that yesterday was absolutely horrible for everyone involved, I had no doubt his feelings had changed.
As the sun began to rise, so did we. There was a road walk first thing in the morning that led us through the fog towards the sun’s glow. We walked beside farm land, residential housing and barking dogs before we were back in the overgrowth.
When we were in the thick of it, we got a little disoriented. The trail wasn’t well marked. When it actually was marked by Pinhoti symbols or flags, the plants had grown over them making them a challenge to find. So far, there were way fewer of those sharp seeded “cat whiskers” which made me happy. I enjoyed it while it lasted.
The upcoming section of trail was better maintained than most. Our feet would get wet as we crossed a submerged bridge over a stream. They’d stay that way when we approached more stream crossings.
We had some long ascents and had to climb over a number of blow downs on the way to the overlook.
When I got to John’s Mountain Overlook, I was shocked to see Spacejam there.
“I thought you’d be long gone by now!”
As predicted, he still had plans to leave the Pinhoti Trail. He was going to hike to Dalton, then he was done. It surprised me that he would make it this far without finishing what he started. He only had about 4 or 5 more days to finish his thru. I suppose we all hike for our own reasons though, and have our own breaking points. Spacejam was not having a fun time, and I had to admit, I wasn’t either, and so he didn’t see the point in doing something he wasn’t enjoying. Completely understandable. If Frisbee and I weren’t too stubborn to quit, we’d probably be on the same page. Spacejam hikes for leisure, we hike not just for fun, but also for the challenge. We’d continue to try to convince him to stay, but we weren’t convincing enough. He was over it and although I hoped he’d stick with it just a little bit longer, I really couldn’t blame him
The three of us took the stairs down to Keown Falls, which was a nice pit stop. After a little reflection and lounging around, talking to the occasional day hiker that passed through, we pushed ourselves onward.
Down the steps we went. The steps shortly turned into a very groomed trail which descended to a parking area. This didn’t surprise us, but we weren’t complaining! For obvious reasons, the more day hikers populate a trail, the better maintained it will be.
We had an early dinner at Pilcher’s Pond and debated whether or not we’d continue. After the hellish day yesterday, all three of us were feeling less than motivated, but we were running low of food. We took another short break at the GA-136 trailhead. Frisbee saw a lady hiding behind the pit toilet enjoying a Natural Light “road soda” before she spotted him, and hopped back in her car to drive away. These are the people who frequent the road, folks!
We had our last climb for the day and passed many crappy tenting areas on the way to the top. Like I said before, a lot of these so-called camp sites listed on the guide are nothing but a giant fire pit with no place to pitch a tent. We’ve learned over the past week not to expect too much, always being mentally prepared to hike further than planned. Given the lack of human traffic, you could get away with inappropriately pitching your tent directly on the trail, something we’ve had to do on very rare occasions in the past, but even the trails themselves have been too overgrown to do so most of the time.
We ended up squeezing in a less-than desirable site at the top near mile 266.5. At least we got to enjoy the sunset.
25.7 miles (41.4 km)