Tenting in the middle of nowhere by myself.
First of all, I’ve been meaning to mention this: Than you so much for the comments and texts and emails! I haven’t been able to respond much because I don’t have a handle on the connectivity or the life of my battery. Sometimes I can receive but not send. Often there’s no service. I figure I’ll have an orgy of responding when I make my next town stop—probably Hiawassee in 3 or 4 days.
So. They say every day on the trail, something wonderful will happen and something will make you want to quit. It’s so true! My wonderful came midway. My terrible is about now. Not terrible enough to want to quit, though! Because guess what? I’m past Neels Gap!
I got on the trail at 7:15 AM—my first experience with night hiking. Or predawn hiking, more like. Blood Mountain… what an experience. It wasn’t bad going up. Much easier than Sassafrass-my-ass. The worst was the blustery wind that’s persisted all day. There was a little snow up on the peak.
The view was breathtaking. Then the misery started. Coming down Blood Mountain is where it kicks you. Relentless rocky scrambles, blazes that are difficult to follow in places.
But the reward at the bottom: Neels Gap! I was thru hiker 259 in their register. They said a lot of folks have quit already because of that freak cold snap.
I decided to go a little farther, to Swain Gap, but there’s a family camped there. So I’ve pushed farther than I wanted to, and I’m sore as hell. I had to hang a bear bag for the first time. It’s a pretty pathetic job. I hope the odor-proof bags keep the bears away.
Phone battery is down to 45%, and that has to get me to Hiawassee. I’d better sign off.
Tomorrow it’s going to rain. First rainy day on the trail! Everything is an adventure.