Trail Update: Day 1-7

Day 1: Springer Mountain to Hawk Mountain Shelter 8.5 miles

Monday February 19th, 2024

Obligatory photo of the terminus plaque

It has been an amazing start to my thru hike. I have been blessed with such good weather to start. Traveled 8.5 miles from Springer Mountain to Hawk Mountain shelter where I pitched my tent for the first night out.

It was a beautiful morning and the birds were all out playing their songs. The hike was pretty straight forward, with some really beautiful creek crossings and mountain laurel abound. Met some other thru hikers for the first time on trail.

Day 2: Hawk Mountain Shelter to Woody Gap, 12.5 miles

Left Hawk Mountain Shelter and made it 8.5 to Gooch Gap by 1pm and was not ready to stop! I was planning on staying at Gooch and easing into the thru hike with some slower days to start, but didn’t want to end my day that soon.

Since I did not get a lot of sleep, I called into a hostel to get a room to try and get some sleep. Above The Clouds is a great hostel, I highly recommend if you are coming through and need a bunk, zero day, or slack packing to happen. Lucky is a great host and there were a ton of awesome people in the hostel. Good conversation was had all around.

Day 3: Woody Gap to Bull Gap, 12 miles

View from Preachers Rock

I saw some of the most amazing views on this day and hikes up some amazing mountains. Preachers Rock was a beautiful sight and I can see why a preacher would want to hist a sermon there. Breathtaking views all around and as the sun rises the entire landscape becomes illuminated. The views only got better from there when I got to the top of Blood Mountain. Got to meet some more awesome section and thru hikers on this day. The hiking world is awesome, so many giving and thoughtful people.

It is weird though introducing myself as my hiker name. I earned off the Appalachian Trail and told a few other hikers about it. Shedder is my trail name and it is going to take a bit for me to get used to people calling me by my trail name.

It started to get super windy during this hike as we were descending Blood Mountain to get to Neel’s Gap. Mountain Crossing Store is a cool little store that has a lot to offer to hikers and tourists a like. I got my first trail magic from this store, a free Red Baron pizza that I shared with a fellow hiking companion. From there, went up the hill a mile to Bull Gap to set up camp for the night. It was a great day of hiking.

Mountain Crossings Store at Neel’s Gap

Day 4: Bull Gap to Low Gap Shelter, 10 miles

Spent the day on the move in order to get to Low Gap Shelter before the storms came in. Supposed to thunderstorm over night. Again left with some breathtaking views all day on top of some of these mountains.

One big thing I have been learning is to take my time. The mileage is there, but take some time to stop and enjoy a view, an animal, or a tree. Take the extra second to admire nature. I am not going to be winning and land speed records for my hike, so I might as well enjoy it.

Made it to the shelter along with a host of other people, some new friends and a friend that I have not seen since day 1. Five of us hunkered down in the shelter and I got to look outside and watch the lightening flashes over the course of the night. Love watching some good old thunderstorms.

Low Gap Shelter

Day 5: Low Gap Shelter to Tray Mountain Shelter, 16 miles

This was a hard hike today. Hiked up three 4,000’+ mountains, ending on Tray mountain that was 4,300’. This was also made hard because weather. The storms that rolled through the night before were not done, even though as the sun rose we were originally greater with blue skies. There was a sideways slushy rain falling horizontally from the sky because of the high winds.

The fog and rain hiking out of Low Gap

This day went a lot longer than I wanted. Originally I wanted to go to Cheese Factory Campsite, but the wind was just screaming up and across that open area. Even the mountain laurels could not block the wind. So had to keep on climbing to a place where the wind was not a problem for sleeping. Even though the hike coming out of low gap was not difficult, the rain and wind made it more difficult than what it needed to be.

Met with some more gorgeous mountain veiws

I got up to Blue Mountain shelter to get out of the weather and change out of some soaked clothes. At that moment, the rain subsided and the sun came out. Thank goodness the rest of the day was sunny and dry, albeit cold. For the first time I second guessed my intentions for this trip. Bad weather can have that effect. When on top of Tray Mountain, got to meet some new hikers and I had my first camp fire on the trail.

Day 6-7: Tray Mountain Shelter to Deep Gap Shelter, 7.7 miles then Deep Gap Shelter to Dick’s Creek Gap 3.6 miles

Day six started out very cold, hiked for not even a mile and it started to snow. Combine this with the wind and it was cold.  It was a relative short day so then tomorrow I could resupply and have a Nero day at Hostel Around The Bend.

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Comments 1

  • Tom : Feb 26th

    Looks like the hike has started out good. Yes, take the time to appreciate all the scenery on the trail. Nice pics.


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