Day 18, Mar 19, PT 231.3
Crispy pick me up this morning at 7:30 and drove me to the Simms Mountain trail head, at PT 210.0. This knocked off about 20 miles of road walking. And I learned how Crispy got her trail name. Seems she hiked Joshua Tree a few summers ago without a sun-shirt and got very sunburned. Ergo.. Crispy.
The first 10 miles today were easy walking on an old railroad right-of-way. A little boring, but flat and fast. The morning started cold, below freezing, but it warmed up quickly and was perfect for hiking.
I felt so good today I decided to push past my intended campsite and ended up doing a 21+ mile day, my longest so far. I saw three more deer this morning. I’m assuming these are Whitetail deer because they have these huge white tails.
I ended up stealth camping between a couple of radio towers, right next to what appears to be a cell phone tower at the top of a ridge. This is not an approved campsite, but there isn’t anything for some distance and it’s relatively flat here.
It’s supposed to get down to 25° tonight so, once again, I have put my water filter inside my quilt to keep it from freezing.
Day 19, Mar 20, PT 253.1
Another big day, almost 22 miles, my longest so far. That means in the last two days I’ve done a total of 43 miles, which is a record for me. It was very very cold this morning, definitely the coldest start so far. My water tube froze. I’m guessing it was below 25 degrees last night. It was the first time I’ve hiked with my micro-puff. And I kept it on for several hours. It made for a slow start.
I had just started hiking when a couple of trucks showed up at the radio towers. Nobody said anything. It turned into a lovely hiking day as it warmed up by the end of the day I was down to one layer and had my short sleeves rolled up.
I saw no other hikers today or anyone for that matter. The trail was the usual mix of woodland trails, rocky ridges, and road walking. And I had to wade both East and West Armuchee creeks.
And there were some nice houses on the road walk (and no dogs!).
I ended up çamping at a flat spot just after wading East Armuchee Creek. Always nice to camp next to water.
Day 20, Mar 21, PT 272.1
Yet another big day, 19 miles. I’ve done 62 miles in three days, something I’ve never done before. In the last section I averaged 16.5 miles a day and so far in this section I am averaging over 20 miles.
And the cold snap appears to be breaking, it was a balmy 37 degrees this morning. There was a little bit of road walking today, mostly on dirt Forest Service roads. These can be a nice break from a rocky trail. This was also a ~3,500’ ascent day that started with a 1,000’ climb to the top of John’s Mountain…
… with stunning views at the top.
It was another lovely day. The cold nights aren’t fun but they always seem to be followed by cool, sunny days that are just perfect for hiking.
About 4 miles from my camp I met another through hiker, a SOBO (south bound hiker, I am a NOBO)., who started about a week ago. His trail name is Harpo, and he proceeded to demonstrate why.
I camped at the last water source before Dalton, Swamp Creek. This leaves me roughly 13 miles to get to Dalton tomorrow. It looks like pushing it was a good idea because it is supposed to start raining tomorrow (a day earlier than the forecast I had in Cave Spring).
Day 21, Mar 22, PT 195.1 and Dalton!
It wasn’t supposed to rain until tomorrow! Started raining about 3 AM this morning (and rained fairly steadily until late afternoon). I loaded up my pack from inside the tent so the only thing left was the tent to take down in the rain, which was not fun.
The rain here is not like what I am used to in Houston, where a thunderstorm comes through and it rains for an hour or so. It seems to rain all day when it rains here. More like Seattle.
So it was a slog hiking in the rain all morning ending up on a pretty busy, two lane paved road for the last couple of miles into town.
Too bad about the rain because I think there would’ve been some pretty decent views coming down off the ridge into Dalton.
And I blew out my left croc again, my repair from a week or so ago finally failed. I have to decide whether to get new crocs here in Dalton or try to repair them again.
Days 22-23, Mar 23-24, PT 285.1, Dalton Zeroes
Dalton is the largest town on the PT, with about 140,000 people in the metro area. So it has all the services a hiker might need but, it is also a typical car-centric American city so everything is spaced out. I am staying at the Red Roof Inn, among about 10 other hotels next to I-75, where I entered town. Grocery stores are fortunately close but the Academy is a 6 mile round trip
I’ve decided to do a double-zero here to get back on my schedule. And I can probably use the rest after pushing so hard in the last section. I have only one more section to finish up my hike. I plan to Uber the 25 mile road walk out of Dalton, the second of the two long road walks on the PT. Anything over 5 miles on paved, highway speed, no shoulder roads is too much for me.
And I am obsessing a bit about the weather – I don’t want to hike all day in the rain again. Looking ahead to the four days of hiking I have left, it looks like it will rain on two of them, but stopping around sunrise both days. We will see.
And I celebrated the 285 miles I have done in typical fashion…
One thought on “PT 190 to PT 285, Dalton, GA”
You are crushing it. 20 miles a day, damn. Enjoy that martini!!
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