Day 4 – Neels Gap – Low Gap Shelter — 11.4 Miles
Today I wanted to take a shorter day so my body can have some time to rest. I’ve been hitting the trail pretty hard so getting to camp early and resting is what I needed. I woke up pretty early at the hostel, cooked some oatmeal, and I was on my way. Said my goodbye to Undertoe because he was heading to the shelter 19 miles away and I planned on staying at Low Gap Shelter just 11 miles away. I have been so lucky with this weather and today has been another beautiful day. The morning started out cold and very windy and the wind didn’t let up until the afternoon. I passed a few thru hikers who also stayed at the hostel the night before and exchanged hellos with other hikers going the other way. I passed someone who I recognized that worked at the outfitter from yesterday. I stopped and moved to the side and said, “You guys can go ahead.” and the guy said “did you just call me a goat head?!” Haha I thought it was funny, probably had to be there, but honestly he did kind of look like a goat. He also told me the next climb was going to be pretty tough so I should eat some snacks and be ready. He was right. I walked up Wildcat Mountain to get into Hogpen Gap and it has been the toughest climb thus far. After that though, the rest of the way was pretty flat. I stopped for lunch on top of Poor Mountain and let my clothes and feet dry out. I ate a tuna wrap with two tortillas, a peanut butter wrap, and some beef jerky. I feel my hiker hunger kicking in because I was still eating snacks all day as well. I try to eat every hour and drink as much as possible and it seems to be keeping my energy level high. I got to camp at around 2 o’clock and the first thing I did was soak my feet in the stream. Holy shit that felt so nice. I set up my tent and talked to all the other hikers at the shelter. It’s cool to see where everyone is coming from and why they’re hiking. I’ve met people from all over, Florida, Texas, California, Virginia to name a few. Tonight for dinner I had some chicken and rice soup and it was amazing. My body feels good and hopefully I’ll get a good nights sleep tonight! Another 15 miles tomorrow.
Day 5 – Low Gap Shelter – Tray Mountain Shelter — 15.4 Miles
I didn’t get too much sleep last night. I’ve yet to sleep throughout the night since I’ve been here and last night I heard sniffing outside of my tent. I shook it off and just thought it was one of the dogs that are hiking the trail, but honestly who knows haha. I made grits and coffee this morning for breakfast and I’m definitely going to be doing that more often. I left camp at around 8 o’clock and filled up my water bottles at a stream that I passed by. I know my hiker hunger has definitely kicked in because I ate all my snacks for the day before 11 o’clock. I can’t seem to eat enough food and it’s only five days in. I’m probably eating around 3,500 calories, so when I resupply tomorrow in town I’ll plan for 4,000. I stopped at a shelter 8 miles out at about 11:30 and took my boots off to air out and rest my feet and have something to eat. I ate two tuna wraps with tortillas and some beef jerky. I met section hikers Laurie and Two Pack. Two Pack got his name because when they were hiking the approach trail, he carried both his and his wife’s backpack up the stairs. (Out here on the Appalachian Trail people will go by a “trail name”. You can choose your own, but most people will be named on the trail because of something you wear or do or say or however) Two Pack and Laurie left while I was eating and I relaxed for a little bit more before I headed out for another 7 miles. I eventually caught up to them on the trail and talked with Two Pack for a bit before he stopped and waited for Laurie coming down the trail. He calls up for her and told me that she’ll yell if she’s ok and whistle if she’s in trouble. I kept walking and heard a bunch of rustling in the woods and looked up and saw a group of about 8 wild hogs running away from me. I thought at first it was black bears, but I don’t think it was. I stopped to eat again, a peanut butter wrap and protein shake, and some hikers that I’ve been seeing st the shelters since the first day caught up to me. Steve, Spaceship, Flauge, and Camo. Camo is a beautiful Shepard dog and Flauge is his owner. We ended up hiking together to Tray Mountain Shelter. The climb up Tray Mountain was tough so when we got to the shelter we were pretty beat. We got water, cooked dinner (I had pad Thai) and posted up in the shelter for the night. Tomorrow I plan on going to Top of Georgia Hostel to shower and do laundry and they have a shuttle to take us in to town to eat and resupply. Should be out of Georgia and into North Carolina in two days!
Day 6 – Tray Mountain Shelter – Dicks Creek Gap — 11.6 Miles
Last night the stars were the best I’ve ever seen them. It was crazy looking up and being able to see so many. The shelter wasn’t too bad last night and I had a decent sleep. Most of the shelters on the A.T. have 3 walls and a roof. I decided to sleep with my head facing away from the walls so the mice wouldn’t bother me as much and I think it worked. I woke up at around 6:30 to two older guys packing up and heading out. It was pretty cold this morning so I threw on my puffy coat and made some coffee and a peanut butter wrap and I warmed up nicely. Steve, Flauge, Spaceship, Camo, and I planned on hiking to Dicks Creek Gap to stay at Top of Georgia Hostel and catch a shuttle into town to eat and resupply for food. We left the shelter around 8 and hit the trail hard, hitting around 10 miles in 4 hours. There were a couple tough climbs, but mostly pleasant hiking. The weather has still been in our favor with the sun out and low 70’s. Perfect hiking weather. We got to Dicks Creek Gap and started walking the half mile down to the Hostel when the shuttle leaving for town passed us and picked us up. There were two shuttles from the hostel going to town, so we got dropped off and decided to take the second one in. This hostel is one of the homiest feeling spots I’ve seen so far. We got a complimentary soda when we got there and they did laundry for us! They gave us scrubs to wear as our laundry was being washed and luckily my laundry was done before we went into town because the ones who didn’t had to wear their scrubs haha. We went to Hiawassee, Georgia and the crew I mentioned above, along with another joker named Jared, went to a Mexican food place which was amazing. I ate so much. We went to a grocery store for food and came back to the hostel and packaged my food for the next five days. I’m trying to eat about 3500 calories. I plan on a long day tomorrow, maybe 16 miles, but I’ll be done with Georgia and into North Carolina!