Last night I camped just behind the Mountain Crossings building at Neel’s Gap. There were two other hikers at the campsite with me, Jacob and Emily from Boston. They are college students who have taken a semester off so that they can hike the AT. They are really nice and I hope to see them again.
I left at 8:00 this morning and did not see many thru-hikers throughout the day. I made a stop for lunch at Low Gap Shelter and met Hurricane from New Zealand. He is an experienced long-distance hiker who has already completed the Pacific Crest Trail. He said that he attempted the AT last year and made it as far as Damascus, Virginia but had to return home because his wife missed him too much. She must have gotten her fill of him because she cleared him to try it again this year.
After a short break at Low Gap I decided it was too early to stop hiking for the day so I continued on to Blue Mountain Shelter. It was a 20-mile day and I’m glad I did it but I may be a bit sore in the morning. There’s a great group at the shelter including Buffalo, Navigator, and Hard Ass. The shelter is completely full and there are a lot folks in tents too. Someone built a great campfire and we stayed up until 8:00, when it gets dark here, talking and laughing.
There was one sad thing about today… at some point in the middle of the day I came upon a young couple who had stopped on the trail and the woman was crying. It turns out that she had just gotten off the phone and received news of a death in her family. Her boyfriend said that they were going to have to hike eight miles to the nearest crossroads then catch a shuttle to the Atlanta airport to fly back home. I feel really sad for her.
If I feel good tomorrow I am going to try to do another 20 miles to Dick’s Gap so that I can go to church in Hiawasee on Sunday morning. It will be nice to go to church on Easter Sunday.