But it was a cold hike and it did not help that I had to go up over 4,000 ft again for the last time on this hike. The hotel manager of the Copper Inn motel brought me back to the trail entertaining me with stories of how he had to defend himself as a cyclist against car drivers with a pistol. Welcome to America! He and his wife had been very helpful and hiker friendly and the motel is decent although the state of the motel owners teeth might have led you to other conclusions.
My last day on the BMT and my first day on the Pinhoti involved a lot of stream crossings. Again and again I had to get out of my shoes to wade across a stream. Nothing dangerous but very time consuming. In summer I would have kept my shoes on but I did not want to risk frozen boots in the morning. I was glad to finally reach the Pinhoti Trail. From now on elevation would be much lower, hopefully less climbing and warmer temps. But unfortunately the Pinhoti is not finished yet and involves two major road walks in Georgia. The first one through Dalton was coming up now and I was facing 23 miles of walking on pavement. I had timed it that I camped right before the start of the roadwalk where I had finally T-mobile reception again. Could I dare to send out a CS request for the next day? I decided to give it a try and was delighted when my host accepted my request next morning. The roadwalk did not seem too bad now with the prospect of meeting some interesting people.
Although roadwalks are never ever great this one was not too bad. I was routed on relatively quiet country roads and once in Dalton there was a sidewalk all the way. But what really made my day was seeing my beloved Aldi right on this roadwalk! No Snickers bars and horrible gummi bears, but good German chocolate and cheese for resupply. I spent another 40$ on chocolate and left delighted for the last 4 miles into Dalton. I quickly found the outfitter but unfortunately the only closed cell foam pad they had was a heavy and bulky Ridgerest. But I did not have much choice. It was either that or constantly being afraid of another puncture of my unreliable Neoair. I sucked it up and bought the Ridgerest. 40$ is not that much money for peace of mind for the rest of my winter trip.
My CS hosts in Dalton were an interesting lesbian couple with an adopted son. It was interesting to hear about their experiences in the conservative South. This is what I love about CS: you meet so many different interesting people.