Day 4 – We Hiked All The Way To Neels Gap To See The Eclipse On The Appalachian Trail

Day 4

Start: Lance Creek

End: Neels Gap

Miles Hiked: 7.3

Total Miles on AT: 31.3


Town day!!! Only 7.3 miles stand between us and town (and food and a shower.) Let’s do this!

Today also happens to be the day of the solar eclipse. Even though we were not in the line of totality, we should still be able to experience part of it.

Last night’s sleep was uneventful. It wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t interrupted by the cold or random yelling. I think I’m going to have to give in and get an inflatable pad. My bones aren’t getting any younger, so I need something a little bit more comfortable.

There weren’t too many people around when we were ready to eat breakfast. One other hiker was finishing up his meal while another was finishing up his morning chores. We left behind 2 campers when we left (around 9:30 am) to begin our ascent up to Blood Mountain.

Our morning climb was pretty quiet until around Jarrard Gap. We took a break just above the gap because I needed a mid-morning pick me up. My Clif bar did just the trick. As we were sitting there, a slack packer that we had seen a couple of days prior passed us going SOBO. We chatted for a while and then he kept moving.

Blood Mountain is home to the oldest shelter on the AT, built in 1934. It is also the highest point in GA on the AT. The climb up wasn’t bad at all. For us, it was a bit slow-going because of fatigue and low blood sugar, but I was definitely anticipating something a bit more strenuous.

However, when we reached the top, the views were amazing. First, we explored the shelter and signed the log book (with my own pen to avoid norovirus.) There was a collection of boulders right next to the shelter that I climbed up. The view stretched out for miles and miles, the horizon a hazy blue.

Blood Mountain Shelter

We spent a while up there before heading down. The views were even better to the north, with several flat rocked areas perfect for sitting and enjoying the landscape below. I was surprised that there weren’t more people up there waiting to view the eclipse. We contemplated waiting for it up there, but we still had a couple of hours to go until the peak of the eclipse.

While the trail up Blood Mountain wasn’t that bad, the way down was a whole different story. Those first 1.5 miles were brutal! Not only were we hungry, but my knee was hurting to high heaven. I could barely step down on my right knee, so I had to concentrate on stepping on my left leg. I realized I needed to engage my glutes and right quad more when hiking to avoid the pain, but the damage was already done.

When we got to Flat Rock Gap, the trail smoothed out and was much more manageable. With only a mile to go, I practically flew down that trail and did a little dance when I spotted the road leading to Neel Gap.

Mountain Crossings then came into view and before I knew it, I was crossing the road. We made it!!! Of course, I had to take a picture of the famous shoe tree and buy some souvenirs from Mountain Crossings. I picked up a Nemo Tensor inflatable pad (I guess I’m a convert now) and a couple of stickers.

Before we knew it, it was time for the eclipse! Someone was passing around an extra pair of eclipse viewing glasses. A chorus of “Oh, wow!” could probably be heard a mile away. What a special treat!

We got a ride to a cabin we booked and went on down to Blairsville for a hearty meal. We have 2 zero days here to get some work done (yes, the work never ends) and then we’ll be back on trail again!


And that’s day 4.

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Comments 3

  • Doug : Apr 20th

    I am enjoying both your blogs here and your vlogs on the Tube. Glad you’re enjoying your hike

    • Jen Brown : Apr 21st

      Thank you

  • Gary : Apr 21st

    Nice blog, finally someone with good grammar!


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