In preparation for a much longer trail (55mi) on the Georgia Loop, we bought some new gear and need to test it. So we chose to do the Butterfield Hiking Trail (BHT), a 13-15 mile loop depending on which source you use, to break in our gear and develop a good routine for the trail. This time we brought some friends to come along with us, one of which is a native of China and has never been on a hike like this. Her husband used to be an avid hiker and was thrilled at the idea of getting away for the weekend.
So here we are on our second night on the trail. I’m laying in my hammock as I write this post. I can somehow hear my husband snoring in his hammock over the pervasive flowing water from the river bed behind our camp. Off in the distance I hear the occasional laughter of another group of hikers. Their lanterns pollute the night with an artificial light. The camp fire is slowly dying down to embers. And Moo Moo, our dog, is passed out hard on the dirt beneath my hammock.
Today (Saturday) was our first actual day to hike the trail. Yesterday everybody had to wait for me to get off work at 5 before we could leave. We didn’t make it to Devil’s Den until 7:30ish. To hike this trail you need a free permit from the service station which closes 5:00 pm. So we camped just outside of the state park where part of the BHT ventures out. The next morning, this morning, we got up and out just in time to get to the station as it opened to get the passes.
We hiked approximately 7.5mi. I’m a little disappointed about or mileage. For our trip to Georgia we’ve allotted ourselves 5 days hiking time to complete it. That means we need to hike a little over 10mi a day, and I set this as our goal to meet.
We were just too worn out. There were several changes in elevation. Tim’s hips were hurting his from his pack. My toes were killing me from breaking in my new boots. Our Asian friend, Wan, was hurting from her pack not properly fitting. And a boy scout troop who we kept playing trail tag with was ahead of us and going to beat us to the Junction camp. So we decided to turn back at the last minute to some camp sites we just passed and made camp early at 4pm.
We decided to split up camp tonight. Our friends chose a comfy site with plenty of stone chairs with backs to them. We chose a site that had fewer stone chairs, but better access to the river bed for lounging and soaking our weary feet.
I took the afternoon to indulge myself since we had so many hours before nightfall. Our water access provided a huge flat rock to sun bathe on. Tim has told me that I remind him of a lizard with the way I can soak up the sun. I thought about that, as I did just that on that huge rock in the middle of the creek. Then I made a little stone tower on my soaking rock and took in the view before going back to our camp.
There was still plenty of sunlight so I decided I would make another rock chair for our site. I also made a bench/cooking station, and tidied up the fire pit. The fire pit is quite impressive. It’s been built up fire after fire on layers of ashes and creek rocks. This is the most awesome campsite I’ve ever stayed in.
Tomorrow morning we wake up early at 6, and will try to get hiking by 7. Hopefully we can finish this trail by noon and get back home before it gets dark again.
We were not as prepared for this trip as we should’ve been. In the rush to get out of the house at 5, we forgot toilet paper and eating utensils. I didn’t pack my bag full the night before or else I would’ve known my new sleeping bag is too big for the pack. It actually warped my frame to where it juts out into the center of my back. We ended up ditching my sleeping bag this morning in the car before we went on the trail. I manage to re-straighten my frame so it didn’t bother me. Also, we need to remember to eat more often. Tim crashed pretty hard because he didn’t eat that much during lunch and didn’t snack very often. We need to make a permanent check list for everything that needs to come with us on the trail.
My feet were in so much pain. It’s been years since I’ve worn real hiking boots. I normally wear these minimalist tennis shoes that I think are very comfortable, but they started to come apart at the sole (after several years of use). I decided I needed real hiking boots for the Georgia Loop. I’m going to change out my insoles for poron cushions and get some toe socks to prevent blisters.