I slept reasonably well last night considering it was my first night on the trail. I stayed nice and warm in my sleeping bag even though the temperature dropped to the low 20’s and there was a fair amount of wind. I have a sleeping bag rated to 15 degrees and a bag liner that adds another 10-15 degrees of warmth. So you think I’d be fine without the liner but I am sure that I would have been very cold without it. I almost ditched the liner before I started but the Princess talked me out of it. Thanks Sweetheart!
Today I walked another 15 miles to Neel’s Gap. It was a sunny day and the temperature got up to the high 40’s or low 50’s which is perfect for hiking. The wind was pretty strong, though, so I got cool whenever I was on exposed ridges or on the windward side of a mountain. Just before I reached Woody Gap I was cruising along in the warm sun with no wind and I came around a bend and heard a sound like a train. It was just the wind blowing through the gap.
At Neel’s Gap I stopped at Mountain Crossings to pick up a resupply box that I had dropped off on Tuesday. The box has enough food to get me to the Blueberry Patch Hostel in Hiawasee. Mountain Crossings is a fantastic outfitter with the best selection of gear for AT hikers that I have ever seen. I talked to Baltimore Jack and Will and got some good advice about staying warm at night. When I was there in Monday I picked up a very light down jacket that is incredibly warm. Jack recommends that I sleep in it if it gets any colder than it has been. I’ll keep that in mind.
Tomorrow I’m heading to Low Gap Shelter which is only 12 miles away. That will be a relatively easy day. I may go a little farther but according to the guidebook there are not any good campsites with water until about the 20 mile point and I don’t know if I want to do a 20 yet. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.
Here’s a photo of the shelter at Blood Mountain, which is the last mountain I climbed today before reaching Neel’s Gap.