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March 3 2023, Gooch Mountain Shelter to Woody Gap: I had slid off my mat in the middle of the night and woke up on the hardwood floor. Cole was spooning me. I scooted back onto my mat and spooned myself back into him. Part of why I loved cowboy camping was that cuddling was often inevitable.
People started to pack up early in the morning. Charlie made comments about someone on my side of the shelter snoring loudly and I said, “Well, good thing we all know it wasn’t me, because I’m a girl, and girls don’t snore.” Charlie laughed, “And I’m guessing that girls don’t sweat, they glisten.” Correct.
Pink made a hiker loop knot for my shoes so I would have solid footing for my upcoming walk and we were on our way! It was an extremely rainy and cold walk from the start. Most of us were set on going over Blood Mountain today, but once Pink and I made it to Woody Gap, we quickly realized it wasn’t happening. The rain started picking up and the fog made it so we couldn’t see too far in front of us.
I saw a ghost like figure across the road and asked Pink if there was a person there. Sure was! There was a guy shouting, letting us know he had trail magic for us!! Could not have been better timing. He sparked up our day by offering us Honeybuns, Oreos, Cheez-Its and he also offered some pop and Gatorade!
We were hopping in our spots to try to keep warm, however the rain grew more and more heavy. Water was cascading down our jackets and hats. Our packs were fully drenched, and soon, so were we. At that point I was shaking, but still couldn’t take the smile off my face. I was in my happy place—on the trail with the other hiker trash.
We called Above the Clouds Hostel to see if they could take us in last minute. Lucky for us, they came to save our asses right away. Disco picked us up at Woody Gap and we hopped into her car. She was known as the “quarterback” of the hostel—organized, cleaned, did anything that needed to be done and was always on top of it!
Shortly after, I got to meet the owner, Lucky, along with a sweet girl named Bounce! She immediately showed me the hot shower and I ran in without delay. I was standing under the shower head with steam coming off my body, holding back screams of pure ecstasy. Just moments ago, I wasn’t able to move my fingers and now, I got the gift of complete warmth.
After I dried off, I went into the hiker lounge area and enjoyed a foot massage machine (five times total). I journaled, then grabbed a blanket and laid down in the middle of the floor next to the fireplace. My favorite Pink Floyd song came on, Coming Back to Life. I felt my heart enveloped in a state of complete gratitude. I was dry, warm, and surrounded by those I loved. I closed my eyes and soaked it all in.
Lucky made a mass order for briskets/BBQ for all the hikers and we planned to pick it up in the late afternoon. It started storming outside and we all felt equally relieved for not being on the trail at that moment. Someone next to me goes, “Hope the electricity doesn’t go out.” Not even five minutes later, the power went out.
It was announced that a tornado touched down in Amicalola and was headed our way. As of then, we were only experiencing a “pre-storm.”Castles stands up and yells, “Well shit! I’m gonna go put my socks on!” None of us knew what that had to do with anything but we fully supported him.
A tree fell on a power line which fell onto the main road. Lucky quickly ran out to chainsaw it. Disco looked at us and said, “It’s funny because that’s the road we have to take to pick up the briskets.” Without hesitation, Pink ran outside yelling, “Well fuck! We gotta help him out! We gotta get our briskets!”
Thanks to Pink and Lucky, we were able to get our food and dine together as a hiker family. Electricity still out in the evening, we gathered in the lounge area and got cozy beside the fire. Cole rested his back on my legs as Pink gave all of us his legendary light show. He beatboxed and it sounded like he was saying, “I’ll beat that bitch from the back” and then it would shift to, “I’ll beat that bitch with a bat.” Then, he moved the light show by pointing it outside the window and into the neighbors house. There happened to be a hiker drying out their tent so they danced in front of the laser, flaring their tent up, down, and in circles. I could only image what the neighbors were thinking.
Pink gave us a finale as he beatboxed with his harmonica, however the house kitty didn’t seem to like it. She kept pushing her paw down on his hands and wailing, implying she wanted him to stop.
When 9pm hit, I went up the hill to our cabin to go to bed. Cole came in shortly after, walked up the stairs to my top bunk and threw a string of cozy lights onto the ceiling fan to provide some light. He continued to stand there and we just talked about life. I could tell there was gentle flirtation between us and a move that was about to be made, but Pink trudged in and invited him to smoke a doobie.
I journaled in my bunk and got contact high since all of the smoke rose up to me. I hadn’t been high like that in years. I didn’t even mind, if anything I thought it was pretty funny. I ended up coming down to sit with them, but due to being high—I said a bunch of weird shit, had a couple of laugh attacks and went to bed.