Day 5. Had to say goodbye to Gandalf and The Captain today. We had such an amazing 4 days, and I was sad to see them go, but by the time this publishes, they’ll be back to just Craig and Rob. Still great guys (and great names), but their AT story is over. (for now?)
After seeing them off at Neels Gap, I reconnected with the gang from yesterday that has quickly become my “trail family” or Tramily, as it is affectionately called among hikers. Steve, Julia, Rachel and Kyle … or Santa, Jukebox, Fun Facts and Huevos, as trail names go. Wait, Huevos? Wasn’t his name 8-Bit? Yes, it was … but he is obsessed with eggs and felt that name was more appropriate. After a 5 year old yelled it at him on top of Blood Mountain yesterday, i guess it stuck. So bye bye 8-Bit, Hello Huevos. And yes, he really likes eggs that much. He even hard boiled a few before today’s hike.
I also got a trail name today, but I’m not sure if I like it enough to keep it yet. I’ll mull it over tomorrow and consider whether to keep it and share it.
Now, as today’s hiking goes, the magic word is POLES! I don’t know why I resisted them so long, it really is a game changer. Between that and the brace, my knees were back to full strength today and the 11 mile hike was a breeze. I would have gone further but don’t want to press my luck too much.
Met a couple new friends today at Low Gap shelter, mainly because they started after me but hiked faster. One girl named Emilia started on March 3rd and already caught us. She’s averaging 17-20 miles a day and will probably finish by June.
Another guy named Braveheart … and yes I’m jealous of the name … is here too, and he is today’s celebrity. He saw a bear. He was probably only 10 minutes behind me at the time, and I was scanning the wilderness eagerly, as I knew this was an area for common sightings. I saw nothing. Braveheart was hiking alone and said the bear bluff charged him and then ran off. Scared him to hell of course, but made him a hero to everyone at the shelter as well. We are sleeping about a mile from where that happened so hopefully the bear ran the other direction … I want to see one, but not while I’m sleeping. I’m sure I’ll get my chance another day.
Rain is coming tonight (update, just started), but it will supposedly dry up by morning. I opted to setup the hammock, versus sleep in the shelter, so I’ll have to dry stuff out some time tomorrow if possible. Only 2 days to the Top of Georgia Hostel though, so it’s ok if things aren’t ideal for a day or two.
Just before bed, we got a campfire going and Santa pulled out a pan of popcorn. Huevos roasted it over the fire for us and we ended the night sharing a giant tub of hot buttered popcorn! Tomorrow is my longest day yet, at over 15 miles. If the rain lets up, it should be another great one in Georgia. Hello Neiman!
- Start Mile: 31.1
- Start Time: 09:15
- End Mile: 42.6
- End Time: 16:00
- Miles Hiked: 11.5
- Miles to Go: 2148.3
- Lodging: Low Gap Shelter