Today, we planned on heading to town to resupply and, well, clean up again in a hotel. Why not!?
We didn't actually get started until about 10:45 am, but it was only going to be a short day, 8.5 miles or so to Unicoi gap. Tinklebell showed up before we hit the road and showed us the horrible blisters she had on her heels. Emily gave her some of our thick deluxe moleskin which, so she says, turned her human again. It felt good to give her something back after she gave us some ibuprofen back in Woody Gap (though here she immediately gave Emily kt tape for her knee, so we still owe her). People are willing to give whatever you need. If you're planning an AT trek and you're worried you don't have everything, don't stress. Someone will be able to help you out and you will get to pay them back later.
We hiked with Tinklebell for a while and she told us some of her travel stories. She chatted about rattlesnakes, how she almost hiked the Narrows in Zion in winter on a dare, the time she had hypothermia. There's probably a better trail name for her out there based on this knowledge.
The hike was cold along the ridges in the morning, but we warmed up fast. People stopped to stay at the Blue Mountain Shelter but we carried on. Emily's knees started to give her trouble. We really needed poles turns out. Oops. However, we found her a sweet wizard staff to keep her going.
On the way down we ran into a guy we met briefly on Blood Mountain a couple of days prior. Turns out he was also heading to Helen that night. He said if we waited at Unicoi Gap he'd give us a ride in. He also told us that people were grilling down at the gap and we might catch them if we hurried. We missed them sadly. We also met a guy with two huge bloodhounds bringing up fruit, cool whip, chardonnay, cheese and crackers up to the shelter. Double miss!
Richard did swing us over to Helen. We were hoping to buy him some beers to pay him back, but after we got dinner (giant burgers at Bigg Daddy's and a couple beers for Tyler) we were too wiped to do anything but shower and watch Forensic Files. While showering, Emily dropped a tiny shampoo bottle on her toe and broke a new toe. Good things she's one tough cookie!
And, before we close this post. A word on Helen. Helen is probably the most hilarious place we could have chosen to stay in all of Georgia. Mostly, Emily's pictures will have to do the talking, but yeah, it's like an attempt at a Bavarian/Swiss/Austrian village. Our favorite restaurant name was Viele Margaritas.
Tyler's steps: 21,117
Emily's steps: 23,879