12/31/13 – Day 1: GA shake down hike

7.9 miles, 25000+ steps. (Do you know how hard it is to find a little black pedometer in the dark on a black tent floor? Oy. I found it when getting out to pee, unfortunately beneath me in my sleeping bag, the count from today was 25,180 steps!

Happy New Year! It’s amazing to me that I’m lying in my tent right now, thinking about 3 months ago when I was at the Birches, incredulous to be climbing Katahdin on the morrow. 2013 was defined by my AT adventure, so it’s apropos that I close out the year right where I am right now – at Black Rock Gap shelter area a mile plus from the summit of Springer Mt. Here I am, on a PCT shake down hike, having visited the Hike Inn on the way up this afternoon, one of my very favorite places that gave me such a send off on that long ago March day. Wow. It’s been a chilly day, and evening, also reminiscent of my first steps on the AT, though I admit I didn’t climb the Amicalola Falls stairs again! I hope the beginning of the PCT in 3+ months is a bit warmer :). I’m so happy to be here right now, sharing the days moments with Joan and Susan. It’s just dawning on us that the PCT is actually going to happen… And soon! While Joan and Susan went up to the summit, I rehydrated a sinus headache and got to know a section hiker, Drifter, at the shelter. What a great way to spend New Years Eve – in the mts that I love with old and new good friends.

Shake down items used today: bear canister loaded with 7 days worth of food, toe socks!, new glove/mitten combo (awesome so far, have I finally happened upon a good glove?!), and using only water bottles and not my platypus. Oh yes, and the lovely down booties…though that’s more of a winter indulgence than anything else! Big Green Take2 looked about to explode from the bulky canister, but handled the load well.

Studying the BMT guide in my tent, whiling away the long dark winter night before hiker midnight.

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