4 th day-Neel Gap to Low Gap Shelter

Got a late start out of Neel Gap today, which turned out to be a mistake as it exposed me to an afternoon rain shower . Oh, one of the pictures on a previous post was of a tree in front of the store at Neel Gap, where hikers throw their shoes when they quit the trail at Neel Gap. Apparently a large number quit here. I can’t say I blame them as the trek from Amicolala Falls is very hard. Throw in a little rain and you have the makings of potential problems.

The walk this morning was nice until the descent from Cowrock Mountain to Tesnatee Gap, which was steep and difficult. At the bottom of this descent, we encountered some Trail Magic from a church group. The food and drink was much welcomed. After an hour or so on the climb out of Tesnatee Gap, the rain and hail, yes hail, began. It was coming down hard. When I arrived at Low Gap, Bradley, one of my new found friends directed me to a flat area to pitch my tent. Most of my things were wet. Fortunately, my sleeping bag was only peripherally wet. I discovered that if I slept with wet socks on my hands in my sleeping bag

, they dry quite nicely during the night. Cooked dinner in the rain at the shelter. Had a good nights sleep despite it raining.

Here are a few photos from the day.

Catching up

The Trail has been busy the past week, which has kept me from updating the blog daily, as I was hoping I might. This has been due to a number of factors – long hiking days, plenty of rain, and inconsistent internet connections.

Each day consists of 8-10 hours of hiking, followed by pitching my tent or finding a place in a shelter, then cooking dinner with my jet boil, followed by hanging my bear bag. When I have time, I do my written journal, which is summarized in this blog. It’s lights out at 8:20-9:00 as that’s when it gets dark. We typically are up at day break and break camp by 7:45-8:00. After a week, I’m getting into the rhythm of the Trail and have made a lot of new friends from various backgrounds. More about than in a later of post. Too bad it’s going to end in a couple of days.

I’ll update day 4 tonight, then the rest in a couple of days when this grand adventure ends.

3rd day

The third day took me over Blood Mountain to Neel Gap and the hostel, the first place to get a shower. We had a rainstorm to take us up and over the mountain. A guy named quartz was at the shelter at the top. He had hiked up that day to feed hikers tea and coffee. I was followed by a dog for about 6 miles to Neel Gap. He finally got some food from the guys at Neel Gap. My dinner that night was a reheated Red Baron frozen pizza with a coke. Tasted so good! Very diverse and interesting group of people that I’m meeting. My bunk mate told me this was the first night that he had slept in a structure in 2 months. He has been living in a van and camping for the last 2 months to prepare for the AT.Well it’s sunny today, so looking forward to the day.

2nd day

The second day was a 12 mile hike over bridges through streams and up a couple of hard climbs, including this beast of a mountain called sassafrass. Was wiped out at the top. Was another 3 milesuto the shelter. Another 7 hour hiking day. The shelter was packed and included the special feature of 2 guys snoring all night.

The first day thoughts

The first day began at the bottom of a waterfall at the amicolala falls visitors center, from which followed a760 step hike up! I then hiked the Approach Trail 8 miles to the top of Springer Mountain-and that’s just to get to the start of the AT! Hiked another 4 miles to the first shelter. Didn’t get to camp til 7 pm. Made a nice rehydrated quinoa bean dinner.