Day Six – Tuesday, March 11: Hiawassee, GA, Zero Day

Note: Just found out I can’t upload pics from my Sony while it’s charging.

Today I discovered exactly what backpackers do when they’re not backpacking – they resourcefully resupply and eat a ton of food.

I woke up, for no reason other than habit, at 6:00. Savage wanted me to check if breakfast was being served. Sure enough, it was. We ate heartily and I went back to sleep.

I awoke again at around 10:00 to start my day. Brandon, now Doc, (like from Back to the Future – he thought we looked like time travelers with all our neat gear) left at noon. Nice guy, I hope he’ll one day be able to take a long hike.

I guess the best way to describe my day is to follow the receipt trail from one store to the next. Here we go…

I started off at the Dollar General in desperate need of temporary camp shoes. I settled on a pair of cheap sandals. Hearing that the only outfitters in town had closed, I stopped by the ammo/bait shop and bought a new pair of socks.


Cool label. But not cool enough to warrant a purchase.
I dropped by the hotel and met with Savage and Kool to head towards the post office. I mailed about 3 pounds of gear home and Savage arranged to have a delayed package shipped to Frankin, NC, our next planned town stop.

While waiting outside the post office, we ran into two thru-hikers from Austrailia who informed us that there was a small backpacking store located near the hiker-friendly Budget Inn. What a lifesaver! I was seriously concerned about my feet, particularly hoping for a decent shoe store. I ended up buying Superfeet inserts. And having tried them out around the hotel this evening, I think I’ve delayed the need to purchase new boots.

I also upgraded to the larger Sawyer filter, holding on to my Sawter mini as a back up. I bought a dry bag for my toiletries and other assorted odds and ends (compression straps, blister cream).

We left the outfitter and headed to Blimpie for lunch. I ate half a foot long and promptly took a nap. An hour or so later, I woke up and made calls to family and friends.

The three of us then went to Ingles for a food resupply. We only needed three days worth of food as we’re going to make a quick stop back in Hiawassee when we hit Dick’s Creek Gap in a few days. At that point, we’ll resupply for three additional days to take us to Franklin, NC.

Already having enough carbs left over from last week, I went with the protein basics – beef jerky, salmon packets, granola and almonds. I also bought more fresh kale. I think it’s awesome for backpacking – it lasts 2 to 3 days in a Zip-lock bag and can be added to just about anything.


Getting my kale ready.
I then stopped by the Discount Pharmacy and bought athletic tape and a $2 mystery grab bag – hilarity ensued. Savage got earrings and Kool-Aid won himself a shell necklace. All was not lost – a roll of quality toilet paper was included (as was an Easter bunny party favor, now packed deep in my bag, just waiting).

And then dinner at the AYCE. This was the first meal I’ve had since starting this hike where I ate considerably more than I would normally eat without feeling over-full. I was stuffed, sure, but it felt good, like my body was already putting the food to good use.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel room to ready ourselves for the week ahead. I booked a room for this coming Sunday in Franklin, NC, hoping our mail drops would be waiting for us when we arrived.

I’m now downstairs in the lobby of the hotel, typing away. Savage and Kool-Aid are passed out. I need to join them as the next few days bring some of the toughest hikes on the AT in GA.

I should briefly mention an encounter I had today with Ms. Janet, an AT legend. She pulled up in front of our hotel to get coordinates for her GPS. Ms. Janet dedicates her free time to helping thru-hikers as best she can all throughout the North Ga mountains. She was trying to figure out how best to get to Addis Gap near Tray Mountain to help out in the emergency extraction of a hiker.

I helped her figure out her new Garmin and, as she cranked up her conversion van, she asked if I had a trail name. I told her that folks had been calling me “Dad” (or “Cool Dad” when I was in a good mood). She smiled and confirmed that Cool Dad fit best.

It’s official. I’m in a club that hands out nicknames and a de-facto leader of this club gave my nickname the okay. I know how this must sound – pretty dorky and ridiculous, right? When I sat at home for years reading AT journals like mine, I always rolled my eyes at the trail name business. But I’ll be honest, it was kinda cool to know that, for as long as I do this thing and maybe longer, I’ll be known as Cool Dad (or just Dad in a pinch).

Breakfast: one biscuit with canned country gravy, 6 strips of paper-thin bacon, two cups O.J., two cups coffee.

Lunch: 6-inch Blimpie Best with double meat.

Dinner: Oh geez. Three porkchops (two deep-fried, one baked), one cup of gravy, plate full of raw broccoli and raw sliced green peppers, dinner roll, two serving of strawberry shortcake.


Dollar General (camp shoes, plus a phone charger for Savage): $13.00

Ammo Shop (really should pay more attention names): $11.95

Post Office: $13.45

Outfitters (at Budget Inn): $164.65


Ingles (for food resupply): $67.15

Hiawassee Discount Pharmacy: $3.34

Daniel’s AYCE: $8.95

Note: I know I’m spending much more on gear than I expected. I’m okay with it – it’s only the result of trial and error. After this week, I’m not expecting any substantive purchases until I buy boots. I’m learning.

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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