AT - Day 97

The temperature fell near freezing during the night. Dirty Boots and I got up before daylight. Percalady, Tweety Bird, Mijobi, and Sunshine joined us for breakfast and gave us an encouraging send-off. A magnificent, clear day dawned as we hiked by flashlight. The trail was benign. The elevations didn’t bother us. We just slowed a little for them. To our amazement, the landmarks and trail crossings flew by sooner than expected. The temperature held at 40 degrees on the shady side of Springer Mountain, but hiking warmed us. With the moon still showing in the blue sky to the west, we reached the plaque at 9:45 a.m., much sooner than we expected. I walked across the rock in disbelief. Could this really be it? Hugs, pats on the back, and congratulations followed. We celebrated quietly for three quarters of an hour, feeling elation and relief. Nothing could intervene now.

Dirty Boots and I arrived at Amicalola Lodge at around 1:30 p.m. When I called home, Tricia exclaimed, “How’d you do that? Yesterday morning you were 40 miles away.” Counting the approach trail, she was nearly right. We feasted at the buffet while waiting for our rides.
Dirty Boots later wrote, “Hello Pasta Man — Mr. Linguini, it sure was great to finish together in style... the trail seems so idyllic a place now that I’m not walking 15+ miles a day.”