|Friday morning I slept in a little while and when I woke up MadCow was already packed and ready to go so she headed out (she was the fastest hiker in the group). The rest of us took our time eating breakfast and packing up. This day Lynn decided not to hike so she rode along with Swallowtail while the rest of us hiked a lot of up and down trail. The trail first went steeply uphill and then skirted around Hawk Mountain then went down to Hightower Gap. Then it was up again and then down to Horse Gap. Then at the end of the day we went up again to the top of Sassafras Mountain then down to Cooper Gap. Altogether this day we did about 6 miles.
At each Gap Swallowtail and Lynn arrived by vehicle right when we did by foot so it was perfect timing! By doing this they could also carry our packs, if we wanted just to hike a section or two without them, and they also had water for us at each Gap. MadCow carried her pack the entire trip, Dyan and I carried our packs the entire way except for Horse to Cooper, and BettyK and JaneC decided to hike sans pack most of the way.
At Hightower Gap we ran into a couple who were planning on going as far on the AT as they could… but the problem was they started out with incredibly heavy packs. The packs were at least 20 years old and were heavy external frames that were packed full. Swallowtail gave them a ride down to the hiker hostel in Dahlonega so they could go through their gear and get rid of some and they were very grateful.
At Horse Gap we ate lunch with a couple of friendly guys. It started to sprinkle while we were here so we decided to not camp on top of Sassafras, fearing even worse weather. We instead hiked up and over Sassafras to Cooper Gap where Swallowtail and Lynn were waiting for us. They had set up a tarp for us in case it was pouring when we arrived! It wasn’t, fortunately, but later as we were cooking dinner it decided to rain, so we all gathered beneath the tarp. Jane had a crossword puzzle that we managed to complete, working together as a group. It was a lot of fun and we giggled a lot... Especially when Dyan answered “Hippo!” to the clue “A Nile Reptile.” We teased her mercilessly even though she said she didn’t hear the “reptile” part. We also laughed at Swallowtail when she tied her hat down to protect her ears from the cold air. The black and white hat then resembled that of a flying nun! So we called her the Flying None, referring to the fact that she wasn’t doing any hiking (yet).
That night it didn’t rain much more, but it was windy. I enjoyed listening to the wind in the trees.