Early start to the day…up at 5am….as we wanted to make it to the parking lot right before the summit with the whole group. Not a stellar night of sleep as we were excited about completing the trail, we were way too warm in our winter sleeping bags, and the 11th hiker in our summit group showed up at midnight. He had hiked 45 miles that day….craziness.
Trail was quite good for our last day. Fairly smooth, and the climbs, while somewhat steep, were quick and well-stepped. The rockiest part in all of Georgia was probably the last .9 miles to the summit from the parking lot.
At the parking lot, there were many family members of our group….as well as JTree and Whiskey, two hikers that we had been with in the early part of the hike and had not seen since NH, and who had completed the trail the day before us. They had a table setup with a great assortment of food and beer and had brought us champagne, it was great!
Got up to the summit fairly quickly. Our whole group walked together with Sweet Pea leading us. The summit had a nice view, albeit hazy. There are a couple plaques on top of the summit and the final trail register. We signed the book and everyone took photos.
We are hiker numbers 42 and 43 of the registered Southbound thru-hikers for year 2011. Apparently, this has been a record year….usually just 30 or so total.
Took showers and had dinner once at the lodge at Amicalola State Park. Relaxed. Hard to believe we are finished. Looking forward to our first day of not walking miles since New Jersey.
Will post some reflections and thoughts on the journey in a coming post…it has been a great adventure, we are thrilled to have made it to the end.
Thanks to the many folks who have helped us along the way, and special thanks to Kelly, who helped us with our maildrops and gear that needed to be changed along the way, and to Bonnie, who took care of our mail and made sure we got our bills paid while on the trail. Also, grateful to all the other hikers that we have met on the trail.