Appalachian Trail Thru-hike Day 7 March 29, 2017, Poplar Stamp Gap to Unicoi Gap

I really liked the group of hikers l met last night, so we all decided to go into Helen Georgia today. It would only be around an 8-mile hike to Unicoi Gap, the parking lot where we would either call for a shuttle service or try our hand at hitchhiking. Right out of the gate, this group was fast. I knew right away I could not keep up with their pace, so we decided what hotel we would stay at, and I would meet them there later in the day. Once again, I was hiking by myself, which in reality, I now prefer although I like camping with others.

I found a nice little shelter with a good view for lunch.

Blue Mountain Shelter, GA, Appalachian Trail
Blue Mountain Shelter, GA, Appalachian Trail

Hitch-hiking.

When I hiked down to the parking lot at Unicoi Gap. I called several shuttle services, but none of them were available to pick me up. Helen, the town I was going to was 10 miles away so walking there would not be fun, so I stuck my thumb in the air and hoped for the best. To say this was awkward was an understatement. Who in their right mind would pick up a smelly homeless-looking hiker and bring him into town? I stood there for what seemed like an eternity as car after car passed me by. In reality, it only took about 5 minutes before a retired couple stopped and gave me a lift into town. The couple had lived there all their lives and knew about us hikers needing a ride into town and we’re quite happy to do it. I was so grateful that they did. Hitch-hiking was one of the greatest fears I’ve had about being on the trail, and I was glad to put it to rest. Not only did they bring me to town, but they told me of some great places to eat and drove me all the way to my hotel. They say the trail restores your faith in humanity, and so far, I have to agree.

Helen, GA My First Trail Town

After I checked in and was going to my room, I saw a row of stinky boots outside of each of the rooms I’m was passing. This is a definite sign that hikers are staying here. To my surprise, as I walked by one of their windows, I heard someone shout It’s Corn Chip. My room was right next to the group I had met the night before.
We caught up on the day’s events, especially how awkward it was for me to hitchhike. On the other hand, they had a girl in their group, and as soon as she stuck out her thumb, two cars stopped at the same time.

We then set out to find a laundromat to wash our filthy stinking clothes.

Helen Georgia

This was the first time I had ever used a laundromat. I know I have lived a very sheltered life.

Best Dinner Ever

The couple that brought me into town said I had to go to Bigg Daddy’s for the best burgers in town. So all seven of us went there. We had such a good time. Even though none of us had known the other person just a day before, we all laughed and told stories like we were life long friends that were catching up after some time apart. After dinner, we all went back to the hotel and piled into one room, had a few beers, and talked about what had led us to the trail.

Bigg Daddy’s Helen Georgia

It’s hard to put into words the day I just had. it encompassed everything I dreamed my thru-hike would be. From the beauty of the trail, the adventure of my first hitch-hiking, an awesome dinner with newfound friends, and a late-night slumber party. My heart is so full of joy and excitement about what the future trail will entail. I will remember this day for the rest of my life.

I’m 52.6 miles into the AT, and was my best day on the trail so far.

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