Day 8
Deep Gap Shelter-Dick's Creek Gap
3.9 miles
We woke up at 6AM to get to Dick's Creek Gap by 9AM, for the shuttle to the Budget Inn.  We got there at 8:50AM, and made it to town for our breakfast biscuits.  We had a nice day in town for re-supply and relaxation, but we are excited to get back on the trail again because we cross our first state border tomorrow!  North Carolina here we come!!  We're both excited for our first big milestone on our way to Maine.  Thanks again, Case, for the dark chocolate peanut M&M's.  They are delicious!  

We thought we had more time, but time seems to fly when we are in town, so look for pictures at our next town stop in Franklin, NC!

Day 7
Cheese Factory Site-Deep Gap Shelter
9.4 miles
Because we only had about 9 miles today, we slept in and made pancakes.  We had a pretty relaxing hike, but we did have two decent climbs that already seemed easier than earlier in the week.  We are getting pretty excited about stopping in Hiawassee, GA for Hardee's breakfast biscuits.

Day 6
Low Gap Shelter-Cheese Factory Site
13.4 miles

Our biggest day yet!  We camped by oursleves tonight as most of our friends decided to stop in town for the night.  It turned out to be pretty relaxing and we felt even better after soaking our feet in a cold stream before bed.  As Mr. Coffee said, "You gotta take care of your feet because they're you're wheels."  Although the night was relaxing, Missy wasn't sure about the last six miles.  We had two big climbs at the end of the day, but we did it, and she found she had more in her than she thought.  

Day 5
Neel Gap-Low Gap Shelter
11.5 miles

Missy's foot is feeling much better after some pampering and a couple nights out of the woods.  Today we stopped at a shelter and we got to hang out with some of the friends we've started to make on the trail and had a good time around the bonfire.  What up Mr. Coffee, late start, 2-mules, Wendigo, and Carry-on!?  We're pretty happy to be meeting some good folks already, the nights are warmer and the hammocks are awesome!  The dogs are both doing well and Tess is well fed and back to normal.

Day 4
Woody Gap-Neel Gap
10.5 miles

What an awesome day!  With Missy's foot needing some babying, but us not really wanting to take a zero day only three days in, we decided the slackpack was a good idea.  We were right.  We had such a good hike and the view from Blood Mt. was awesome.  We even saw snow up there!  Once we had gotten to Neel Gap we made a call and got ourselves a small cabin at the Goose Creek Cabins in Blairsville, GA.  This gave us the opportunity to meet the man who ran the cabins and was our ride to our home for the night.  Keith is one of the most pleasant people I've ever had a chance to meet and he was able to tell us all sorts of interesting things about the area.  Thanks again Keith for the hospitality and pleasant conversation!  Say hi every once and a while to let us know how your summer is!

Day 3
Justus Creek Campsites-Woody Gap
6.2 miles

It's been colder and windier than we thought it would be and with Missy's foot hurting her we decided to hitch a ride into town and stay at a hostel near Woody Gap.  What a pleasant surprise that was!  THe Hiker Hostel is run by two former thru-hikers and they have one of the best places a thru-hiker could ever stay at.  They provide a free shuttle to Wal-Mart where I was able to get some more dog food and a few things for Missy's foot.  We felt so good and relaxed hanging out with a few other hikers watching movies and eating Chinese food, we started to think this whole thru-hike thing was gonna be pretty easy (hahaha!).  One of the other hikers even found out we could get help with a slack pack for the next day on our climb over Blood Mt.  Why wouldn't we do that!?

Day 2
Stover Creek Shelter-Justus Creek Campsites
12.2 miles

Last night was colder than we thought and we weren't quite prepared for the almost freezing temps and the cold rain.  Although we stayed dry underneath our tarps we didn't get as restful of a sleep as we had hoped because of the low temperature.  Oh well, what can you do except get up and hike when that happens. And that's exactly what we did!  We didn't mess around with a hot breakfast, we grabbed some granola bars and hopped to it.  Although we wanted to start out with 10 mile or less days we decided to see how it went with a 12 miler.  It turned out to feel longer than it looked, especially for one of Missy's feet.  She ended up brusing her foot pretty bad and by the end of the day was not feeling too good about it.  Another issue we ran into was Tess needing more food than we thought she would.  After the dogs were fed, we began making our dinner, Molly and Tess were begging more than they usually do, and all of a sudden Tess just snapped at Molly!  So after Missy's foot and Tess' hunger freak-out we were kind of feeling a little rough. Although, Tess' hunger is an easier fix than Missy's foot.

Day 1

Springer Mt.-Stover Creek Shelter 
2.8 miles

We woke up to a cool, rainy morning in Helen, GA, where my parents, Missy, the dogs and I were staying.  We decided to take it easy in the morning to see if we could avoid the rain on our first day.  The rain stopped before noon and that was our cue to head on out to Springer.  We skipped the aproach trail up to Springer Mt. because I wanted my parents to be able to hike the first mile up to Springer with us.  The hike was mellow (especially without our packs on!) and the temperature was good for walking.  We got to the top, signed in to the log book and hiked back down to the parking area where we had left our bags.  Once we were all settled and us and the dogs were all loaded up we said our farewells and headed on down the trail!  It had been a hectic week leading up to this day and we were still pretty exhausted from our driving schedule from California to Wisconsin to Tennessee.  Missy and I made the decision to only hike a couple miles to the first shelter we came across and set up for the night.  Our first day out was pretty easy and I'm glad for that now.
4/29/2012 05:54:05

Greetings Will, Missy, Tessy poo, and Molly wolly,

You Guys Rock! Hope all is well on the Appalachian. It's great to read about the beginning of your journey, including the trials and tribulations that have only made you stronger... hopefully. Sounds like you've already met some majestic landscapes and colorful characters. mmm.. spring in the carolinas sounds nice. A little facebook bird said something about an engagement, congrats! Your'e a swell foursome. Keep on truckin' and postin' comments- it helps transport some of our city souls to a wilder place. We believe in you!

"rocks are space, and space is illusion"

"A journey of a thousand miles (or 2,184 miles) begins under one's feet"

Julian and Becky

5/1/2012 11:53:42

Thanks for the encouraging words buddies! I hope the city living isn't treating you too badly, stay in touch and well have to try and meet up when we get back to the midwest!

4/29/2012 09:45:02

Do you guys have trail names yet? Are the dogs going to get trail names?

5/1/2012 11:47:31

Youll have to wait until I update the website tomorrow to find out...

David 'Smooth'
5/2/2012 07:00:00

Hi Will and Missy,

I work with Will's father at SC and am a 2003 SOBO thru-hiker. I look forward to vicariously re-living my thru-hike through your postings. Hope you're enjoying the slow steady diet of PUDs. When you get to Hot Springs stay at Elmers!


5/10/2012 03:02:41

Thanks for the advice smooth! Hot Springs is only about 3 days away now so thanks for the heads up! Just got trough the smokies and hopefully I'll be updating the journal soon once I'm on a real computer instead of 2-Step's phone, thanks for following along!

5/6/2012 23:07:29

Hi, Will and Two-Step! Just back from our own week of hiking in the Shire - wonderful! Sounds like you've already had a few misadventures, with sore feet, losing each other briefly, and cold weather and bugs. But seems you're dealing with and keeping a good attitude. One foot in front of the other! Hope to talk to you soon. Love you!


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