Hikers wait out rain that never came

Bama➡️ Baxter Day 37 & 38

Day 37: 7.5 miles

This morning I woke up nice and early to begin my morning climb up Blood Mountain. I was one of the first ones out of camp and was feeling really good. The climb was long but surprisingly gradual. I was surprised that I was able to make my way up without stopping to take any breaks.

It was a cool morning but by the time that I got up to Blood Mountain the sun had come out and warmed me up. I got some great views at the top and did a couple small scrambles up rocks to take photos. Then I made my way down the descent toward Neels Gap.

John caught up to me along the descent and we wound up walking and talking for the rest of the way. We got to Mountain Crossings around 10am which was great. I dropped my pack and headed inside for some food.

I got to finally meet Sugar who worked at Mountain Crossings. She did the PCT last year and just finished the Florida Trail. She was hiking with some of my PCT friends this year on the FT. It was really nice to talk with someone who it felt like I knew. She even hooked me up with a delicious loaded salad which is exactly what I needed.

I got some microwave breakfast sandwiches inside and sat at a picnic table to feast. Magic Jim and Gucci were there who I met yesterday near my campsite. I also met another hiker Lynx who I had heard about through some other people. And to top it off there was a hostel cat! He was absolutely adorable and cuddly.

As the day went on I got some journaling done and met a bunch more hikers. It was a really nice day. I made a couple phone calls and what not. Then around 3pm we were able to check into the hostel at Mountain Crossings. It was a 10 bed bunk room and it was full for the night.

The rest of the day I spent hanging out with hikers, journaling, and eating lots of food. I wound up hanging out in the hostel with John and two other hikers Purple Pioneer and Kyle.

Day 38: 11.2 miles

This morning I woke up in the hostel bunk room around 6am. Nearly everyone had the goal in mind of getting an early start to the day. It’s supposed to rain a lot today. That meant that we wanted to get our miles in early and hopefully get a spot in a shelter for overnight.

I packed up my things and got ready to go. Then John and I set out to begin hiking. We’re doing such similar mileage that it just makes sense to hike out together, which is really nice.

The start of the morning was quite nice. The rain held off for a little while. I was surprised to see how many people were still in their tents as we hiked by. Even by 10:45am some people were still set up in their tents. But everyone is in a different place right now on their thru hike. We’re only 30 miles in which is still quite early days.

The rain began part way through the morning but was light enough not to soak us completely. We just pushed through and kept on walking without taking a break. There’s really no point to stopping for a break when it’s raining out.

By 12:15 John and I arrived at the Lower Gap shelter which was 11.2 miles in for the day. We made really great time considering the rain and the amount of uphill that we had to do.

When we got to the shelter there were a few people already set up inside. With a forecast of rain all day the shelters usually fill up super early. And by 12:30 the entire 7 person shelter was completely filled.

The rain subsided just as we arrived but we still got set up in the shelter. I laid out my pad and got everything sorted. Then I took the brief opportunity of the sun being out to dry my gear. Fortunately nearly everything stayed dry except for the clothes I was wearing and my rain gear.

Everyone hung out and talked in the shelter. There was an Austrian guy there who spent most of the afternoon sleeping. Then there was a guy Captain Blaze, Scott, and M City (aka Meticulosity). It was a nice group and I enjoyed having a lazy afternoon in the shelter. The funny part was that the rain wound up holding off and it was actually a really nice rest of the day and night.

I made dinner around 2pm because I had nothing better to do. Then I ate a ton of snacks for the rest of the night. The shelter even had service so I was able to reserve a room for myself for Hiawassee, GA for two days from now. The plan is to do a full day of walking tomorrow and then have a short day the following day.

As the day went on a lot more hikers arrived and tented or hammoked nearby the shelter. Kyle and Purple Pioneer arrived as well, who we stayed with last night in the hostel.

Someone started a fire and we all sat out for a while before finally calling it a night.

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