Low Gap Shelter to Unicoi Gap
Miles Hiked: 9.7
AT milage: 52.5
Elevation chart from Guthook Guides.
This morning we woke up at 5am, packed up in the rain and were hiking before 6am. We got up super early in hopes to make it to Unicoi gap before noon. That way my dad and sister could make it home at a reasonable time after the long drive.
Clay lead the way. The first 7 miles of the hike was really easy. Most of it was downhill or very gradual uphill. The trail was covered in water and basically turned into a small creek. This was the first time my trail running shoes actually got completely soaked through on this trip. It wasn’t bad. We hiked very fast as a group for the first five miles taking only one water break. At mile five (halfway done) we hit Chattahoochee Gap and the sun rise was almost over. It was 7:40 AM.
Right before mile 7 the trail started to get really rocky. I was taking my time. I really did not want to twist my ankle the last day on the trail and be too hurt to return. I fell down and got really angry. I was completely fine until that moment. All at once I could feel how hungry, thirsty, and tired my body was. I knew I had to keep moving to get to the car but I was going significantly slower. Clay and Caroline took off. I really needed to stop and give myself a break from my pack. It was rubbing into my hip and shoulder bones really badly today. Emma was very nice and stayed back with me. She lead the hike back to the car with me behind her making sure I didn’t fall too far behind. She knew I was really hungry so we stopped to eat more for breakfast at the top of the last mountain (Blue Mountain). The last two miles were downhill to the gap. It was a complete mudslide or very rocky so we had to go slow. I wanted nothing more to sit down. Eventually I made it. At the end was some trail magic but I didn’t stop by the tent since dad was waiting for us in the car.
It was a long tough day for me. I was really struggling physically and mentally thinking about how much I do not want to go back to real life (school and work). I wanted to keep walking on to Maine with all of the people I had met along the way this stretch. I know I am coming back to Unicoi Gap to finish that goal in a few weeks but I can’t stand to think about school. This semester I have taken on 21 credit hours and it’s been pretty hard. I’ve been struggling to balance my time spent at work with my time spent studying. 6 more weeks until its all over and I can be back on the trail. I check my count down app on my phone every day.
When I got home later in the evening I cleaned up all my gear and my body. I noticed for the first time how much my feet had swollen from the trip. I knew they were swelling a little bit but I really thought my toes looked like sausages now. I couldn’t see the bones on the tops of my feet either.