Day 4 – Hellos and Goodbyes

Day 4 has been bittersweet.

I ended up having one other shelter-mate (Ashley) at Wood’s Hole Shelter. It was a windy night and we took advantage of the privacy to set up both our tents inside the shelter (we would not have been “those” people if other hikers were around). My tent was still damp from the deluge at Hawk Mountain Shelter, and it aired out nicely overnight.

It was nice camping so close to the summit of Blood Mountain, we made it to the top around 10:30 AM. It had some of the best views I’ve seen on the trail thus far. I also took the opportunity to hang from the rafters in Blood Mountain Shelter to decompress my spine. I feel like I’ve gotten 2 inches shorter from the weight of my pack.

As easy as things were on the way up, the way down was a different story. It was steep 3 miles down and our knees were kicking and screaming the whole way. The outline of the famous Mountain Crossings store through the trees at the bottom was a welcome site. This is the end point for many hikers and victims of Blood Mountain, evident by the hiking boots hanging in the tree out front.

I took advantage of the pizza challenge and ordered a pepperoni pizza and crushed it in about 20 minutes. About 1500 calories and 50g of protein in total.

Little did I know this was going to be where Ashley and a few others from our Hawk Mountain Shelter Tramily (Trail Family) would be calling their hike early.

Momentum is contagious and swings in both directions

I started to question my own motivations. My feet and knees were aching. I acquired a new blister now making 4 in 4 days and considered staying in a hostel again that evening.

Shortly thereafter, I met up with Merick and Gavin. I met them at Justus Creek a few days prior. They were headed to camp at Bull Gap just a mile further. I didn’t really need a resupply and my devices were charged. I also felt better after a couple hour rest and decided to press on.

Everyone makes their own decisions and needs to hike their own hike. I knew my hike wasn’t ready to end and I’m glad to have moved forward.

I dipped my feet in the icy creek for 20 minutes when we arrived at camp. That and a contact high around the campfire did me well. The night sky treated us to the best stars I’ve seen in a while. I’m feeling good about the 10-mile days coming up.

Thanks for listening! Stow away in my pack and stay tuned for Day 5 on the AT.

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Comments 2

  • Taylor Ours : Apr 19th

    Enjoying keeping up with your journey man!

    • Derek Witteman : Apr 20th

      Thanks Taylor! I appreciate the follow 🙂


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