Friday, May 4, 2012

Pine Mountain Trail - Day 1

It's been about a month since I did this trip but I have my notes on my phone so it should be pretty accurate! (Writing on June 6)

The semester had just ended and I wanted to get out and do some backpacking to relieve the stress of nonstop studying. I found the Pine Mountain Trail was the closest option to Auburn so I did my research and decided to head out there. I left AU on Friday morning for the hour drive to FDR State Park to register and get my backcountry permit. Georgia State Parks charges $9 a night to camp but those fees are waived for Pine Mountain Trail Association members. Since membership is only $25 and includes a map, it was worth it to become a member.

The first day I hiked east from FDR State Park visitors center to Sparks Creek Campsite. I barely saw anyone out on the trail that day, just 1 couple and a dog in 13 miles. In general the walk was fairly flat with a few little uphills that got me sweating but nothing like the mountains I've hiked on the AT. It rained off and on throughout the afternoon, but the canopy kept me mostly dry. I used my pack cover as well just in case it started pouring. The water was flowing nicely and it was cold. A little aquamira and it tasted delicious. I saw a bajillion lizards throughout the entire day. I only got one picture as I tended to scare them away before I could get the camera out of my pocket. There were also a lot of woodpeckers and the bugs were worse than I expected. I had a few bites on my hand and found a tick on my leg. When I got to the campsite I was only one there, but someone came in later when I was in my hammock.

When I got to camp, I found plenty of trees to hang the hammock on but settled on a spot as far away from the trail as possible. I had taken some ranch dressing cups from ChickFila to make chicken salad wraps which were good. I overestimated my hunger for this trip and ended up not eating most of the snack stuff I brought, but I did take down most of my trail mix and all the fig newtons. I settled into the hammock early and wrote my notes for the trip. It was warm but got a little chilly in the night. I had written down in my notes, "Blue pad was a waste of money and weight" because I couldn't get it to stay in the hammock for under-insulation. By the end of the trip, my feelings about the blue pad would change...(foreshadowing)...

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