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D-Day -1 Pizza, Climbing, and Psychedelic Gnomes

The last time I was at a Mellow Mushrooms was almost eight years ago. I was on a 48 hour pass after having just completed basic training at Fort Benning. I remember sitting around a large wooden table with members from my platoon while we discussed how we were going to spend our pass. The conversation revolved around how we should schedule our day in order to eat as much food as possible.

That day each of us ate an entire large pizza. It was the best pizza of my life.

Friday May 6

Yesterday we hiked up to Lookout Mountain. The view was great. The rest of the park was an odd mix of old-timey Silver Dollar City and creepy psychedelic gnomes. Apparently the people who built the place were really into fairy tales and fueling children’s nightmares.

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We(my girlfriend Jillian and I) spent the afternoon climbing at High Point Climbing in Chattanooga. The facility was HUGE! 30,000sq ft. My favorite routes were on the outdoor walls. It may have had something to do with the delicious aromas drifting from the Mellow Mushrooms next door. Or the spectacular view of downtown Chattanooga. Probably the pizza.

We climbed until our hands were raw and then it was finally time! Time to eat the best pizza on the planet.

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Saturday May 7

Today I spent way too much money at REI buying last minute items. Then we hiked the approach trail at Amicalola State Park. The approach trail is an 8.5 mile trail that starts at the Amicalola State Park visitor’s center and ends at the official Appalachian trail-head.

I was expecting a gentle climb winding through the woods… I was wrong.

The first mile of the approach trail was some of the most challenging hiking I’ve ever experienced. The trail follows the Amicalola falls and features 800 steps that go straight up. Brutal. But the views were worth it.

The water fall is breathtaking. Well worth the tough climb.

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That’s all for now. Tomorrow morning I’ll hike the approach trail and will be officially hiking the Appalachian Trail sometime in the afternoon.

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