Appalachian Trail 2010

Neels Gap

Well, we have made the first 30 miles. I’ll be semi-brief.

The Approach Trail kinda sucked. The last mile it started sleeting hard up to Springer. We stayed for about 15 minutes on the top where a ridge runner was taking a poll of hikers and he told us we could make it to Stover Creek about 2.5 miles downhill..WOO! The downhill was nice.

We stayed there that night with a bunch of other hikers and a group of Scouts who were too prepared and carried too much weight. It snowed a little bit while making dinner.

We headed out of Stover Creek the next morning and walked a nice couple of miles in flat/downhill terrain, through a nice rainforest-esque type climate. Hit a hard uphill to Hawk Mtn shelter where we had lunch. Then hoofed it to Horse Gap and up a then unknown mountain named Sassafrass Mtn which was a complete beyotch. It doesn’t help that we still have a runny nose from the wind and have obtained a slight cough. After all of that we made it to Gooch Mtn Shelter for the second night. Same folks there and a few others as well. Nice areas with privies and water sources.

Yesterday we woke up to finally a break in the clouds! Sunshine! Well, for most of the day. Near Woody Gap there was a rough wind blowing through the gaps and it was pretty brutal. We weren’t sure if we’d make it to Woods Hole or Blood Mountain Shelter. Blood Mountain is the highest point south of Clingmans Dome. We had a dinner break before the hike up the mountain because I was zapped of energy and then we hit the mountain. The wind was howling and there was a combination of snow/sleet/ice on the mountain. Most people stayed at a campsite down below but we were the only nuts who kept on going. It was pretty rough up there, no one else at the shelter, a stone building erected eons ago. Had a few snacks, put up the tent and got in. Surprisingly we got pretty warm in the tent, though we were on a slight hill and I kept falling into Chris.

Oh, the only other person to come up was a guy bagging all the 4K peaks on the AT. This morning a few people made it to the top just as we were leaving and the clouds began to break for a nice sunny walk down the hill. The south face is pretty easy compared to the north face…it would have been brutal. We missed a blaze and ended up going down a rock face we didn’t have to…oh well. Climbed back up and found the trail again.

Rolled into Mountain Crossing before lunch to burgers *MMMM* and got a nice shower (hot/cold…aka very short) and now will do a small load of laundry and pick up a few essentials. Got our food drop, too.

So far all is well. Hips hurt on the downhills, calves ache on the uphills. *no blister yet* Keep those fingers crossed. Feeling good…four days or so and we’ll be in Hiawassee.


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