Saturday, May 13, 2017

GA Appalachian Trail - Section 15 - Neels Gap to Woody Gap

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
4/27/2017 10.6 miles

Map and Guide Book: Appalachian Trail Conservancy, North Carolina-Georgia
Directions: Woody Gap to Neels Gap

Today we had pouring rain. There were possible thunderstorms in the forecast. As we hiked we periodically knocked on wood (trees) for luck so that we wouldn't get caught in thunderstorms. It seems to have worked :)

I wore my stupid Frogg Togg rain pants that are WAY to big for me. I miss my regular rain pants. I have my eye on some really lightweight rain pants made my ZPacks. My rain pants at home are full zip. I bought them after a hiking trip to Scotland, where I decided full zip pants would be great - since we took our rain pants on and off so many times during that trip. Now I'm back to thinking non-full zip would be great due to the weight savings. Today, I kept tripping over my rain pants.

We hiked up to Blood Mountain. We've heard so much about how great the views are on Blood Mountain. The sunsets. We saw nothing. We stopped in the stone building at the summit with 6 others. I was originally thinking we wouldn't stop, because I wanted to make sure we missed out on the thunderstorms which of course were scheduled to arrive around the time we reached the summit. But, it was so nice to just stop and not be out in the rain. We sat on the floor and ate our warm soup. Yeah for warm soup!

Today someone wished us a "blessed" hiked. We are in the south. I am working on being open minded and taking it all in. Glen really, really wants to be given a trail name. He doesn't want to give himself one. So far he is out of luck. I'm guessing it is easier to "earn" one if you are backpacking and spend more time with others at camp. We mostly see people only once, though a few people we've been lucky enough to see a couple times.
Leaving Blood Mountain, we hiked down in ankle deep water. I took it slow, not wanting to slip on any rocks. We had no views of course due to the pouring rain. At the bottom, we reached the Mountain Crossings store. The trail actually goes through the building. Outside, there is a tree with many, many pairs of boots hanging from it. We've heard these are from people who have quit their hike early on. Others say it is from people who switch from boots to trail runners. We had quite a while before our shuttle pickup, so we went shopping of course. I looked for new rain pants, but they were all too long. Rain pants aren't cheap, and if I'm going to spend good money on another pair, they have to fit right. We stocked up on bars, and then after we couldn't find any reason to waste more time inside, we went outside and found a covered area where several other hikers were hanging out. We heard that either the store or camping area was closed for a week here due to Norovirus. There were signs at the store about how to deal with it. We had 1 1/2 hours to wait for our shuttle. Someone stopped by asking if anyone needed a ride. The support for hikers down here is amazing. We were chilly from being wet (at a certain point rain gear is just useless) and happy when our driver pulled up. book said 10.6 miles. We didn't bother using a GPS to track our miles.

I think this is a view
Really happy to be out of the rain on top of Blood Mountain

There is a closed off fireplace inside. We would have loved a fire.

Mountain Crossings outfitter. Just wet.

Notice all the boots in the tree above me.

Hanging out after shopping

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