Neels Gap to Dicks Creek Gap

Another great week!

Full of surprises, new faces, and new places. An unexpected, early stop in Hiawassee, our first zero day (day without covering miles on the trail), and a cabin for a couple of nights. How can so much fun be had in so little time?!

To Bulls Gap from Neels Gap

We made our way from Neels Gap with the quickness. Full of pizza, pumped from getting our first resupply, and ready to get into the next camp. With Bull Gap only about a mile from Neels Gap we knew it wouldn’t take long to make it. Usually the way it goes is the closer the destination, the harder we push.  It’s as if we are trying to see how quick we can make it. Always trying to cover the next mile quicker than the last.

We arrived to camp to find that we would be making new friends. That night we camped with Neemor, Jade, Amanda, and Maine (she will be called Maine until I recall her name). We all had a nice time hanging out around the camp fire, having our dinners and chatting until everyone was ready to sleep.

Monday, April 6, 2015

We were all expecting to wake up to rain according to the reports we heard the afternoon before. When I woke up around seven and looked out of my tent to see that the ground was not wet from rain I decided there was no reasom to get up quick to pack. I probably should have though because during the extra half hour that I layed around the rain we were expecting decided to show up.

This day turned out to be our longest day of hiking yet. We covered 11.8 miles in the rain. A constant drizzle. Even when the rain would cut back for a bit, the trees were so soaked that the drops coming off of the branches made it necessary to wear our ponchos all day. The most unfortunate thing about this day was that Keebler (yes, Rory finally got a good trail name) slipped during our push up from Tesnatee Gap and aggravated a prior injury in his back, causing him to have a lot of difficulty covering the miles during the second half of the day.

Our day would’ve been shorter too but our arrival at the packed Low Gap shelter by a large group that was less than enthused to see four more show up made it clear that we might as well push on to the next site. Poplar Stamp Gap. We were glad we did because this gap was completely open and we had a great time camping with thru hiker Glacier and her two sisters Cookie and Tumbleweed. They were funny, offered us leftovers, and just pleasant to camp with.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

So this day is where our plan for the next few days changed. Letting us experience the freedom as thru hikers to do whatever we want. We decided, as we had months before if we found one of the four of us needing to take a break, to head out into Hiawassee to let Keebler rest his back for a few days. We caught a ride from Unicoi Gap with Shuttles from the Budget Inn.

We enjoyed a good night in town. Hung out with other hikers, got dinner, and did laundry. Keebler and Kaveman let Zoltan and I know that they wanted to stayed for another night in town and so we decided to catch the early shuttle back to the trail, knock out the 16 miles between the two gaps with access to town, and then meet them back at the trail head to continue on.

Solid plan. Zoltan and I were stoked to get back on the trail and see how much land we could cover.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

We were up at 7:30, bags packed and ready to go. We left the room and walked through town to reach the Georgia Mountain Restaurant that we had passed the night before when heading to dinner. I had a delicious egg, bacon, and biscuits with gravy breakfast. We hustled back to the motel to catch the 9am shuttle back to Unicoi Gap.

We reached the gap, stretched and hit the trail covering the first 2.7 miles, up and over Rocky Mountain, in our first hour. Next was Tray Mountain. One that I was personally excited to summit as I have had friends tell me about it in the past. We were cruising. Covering land pretty quick, giving us time to summit Tray, stop at the shelter, and spend about an hour or so hanging out having lunch.

We left the shelter with plans to hike to Addis Gap and camp for the night. Only about 11 miles, giving us about 5 miles to the next gap to meet the others. We reached the gap with plenty of day left, even after hanging at the Swag of the Blue Ridge for a little more than an hour. With the water being 0.5 from camp and an already packed site we decided to climbed the next 1.8 miles up and over Kelly Knob to Deep Gap shelter. This was a hell of a climb, especially at the end of the day. One mile up 850 feet of elevation and the other 0.8 descending around 600 feet. We were happy to make it to a nice site and have good conversation with the other hikers.

Thursday and Friday, April 9-10, 2015

Well plans continued to change. For the better! I learned that Zoltan’s girlfriend, mother, and sister were renting a cabin for us Thursday night to stay in after we knocked out those miles. And then as we learned the weather would be bad Friday, another night was rented to avoid hiking in the storm.

We made our way back in to Hiawassee, catching a ride with Shuttles. We hung out at the inn for a couple of hours before our folks showed up to take us to the cabin. While waiting I had probably the best Blizzard from DQ I have ever had.

I passed out during the ride to the cabin. I woke up in Young Harris, Georgia on a dirt road just before we arrived at the destination. The cabin is great. We’ve had a really nice time hanging out with everyone one good last time before leaving our home state for a while. We also made sure to eat really well. Grilled chicken, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and then spaghetti tonight.

As perfect as the past two days have been, I can’t wait to get back on the trail. We leave Georgia tomorrow! Only 9 miles and we’ll be cruising into North Carolina.


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