And then the rains came (Days 9-12)

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I made it through Georgia without getting poison ivy! I crossed into North Carolina a couple days ago and met a southbound thru-hiker right at the state line. It’s possible that he was more excited about crossing the line than I was, but it turns out that getting through the first state feels like a big deal. I’ll have to get to Maine to see how crossing into the last state compares.

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I had one beautiful day of hiking in North Carolina before the rain rolled in. I hiked all day yesterday in the middle of a cloud that sometimes poured on me and sometimes just dripped. Last night I opted to sleep in a shelter (even though my tent did keep me dry during the storm the previous evening), which was pretty full of folks with the same idea. Walking through the misty tunnels of rhododendron and fields of trillium was kind of cool though. Also, it seems that newts come out with the rain. My favorite thing about the rain so far is that It means I don’t have to worry about stepping on copperheads sunning themselves in the trail. The rain and mist continued today, but should dissipate by tomorrow I think.

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Bear Bags (Days 7&8)

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Hanging a good bear bag definitely felt like a lot of work last night. The biggest problem was finding a suitable branch to hang it from. The branches that were thick enough and far enough from the trunk seemed to be 50 ft up, the ones that were 20-30 ft up seemed too small and scraggly. If I saw a branch that I thought would work, the ground beneath it and around it was covered in poison ivy. Also, the poison ivy grows up the trunks of the trees. Eventually as the sun set I gave up and just picked a branch and decided to make it work. It turns out the trunk of the tree was covered in poison ivy, but so far so good… No itching. The result is pictured above and I think it’s quite beautiful.

Even with all of the mountains and elevation of the last couple of days the trail has been pretty nice. The bluettes along the trail and the temperatures are making it feel like summer already.

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I’m amazed by all of the trillium along the trail. I’m used to thinking of them as rare, and I heard that the ones like those we have at home are relatively rare here too, but the pink and the white trillium are incredibly pervasive here. I’ve walked across hillsides completely covered with them.

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I encountered a section hiker, Spirit Bear, and have ventured into town with him to resupply and get mail drops. So far all of the people we’ve met have been vey helpful and supportive, especially the folks at Betty’s Country Store in Helen, GA. I’m looking forward to getting back on the trail tomorrow with a new iPhone that actually powers down when I tell it to.

Other things I ran into on the trail today include: 3 turkeys, trillium (whire, pink, and purple), wild orange azaleas, lady slippers, and purple orchids (galeorchis spectabilis).

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