Days 75, 76, and 77

Day 75, June 17, Cheese Factory Campsite to Whitley Gap Trail

Hiked today 18.5 today’s ascent 4160 feet total hiked 1259

Today I slept in a little bit, getting up around 6:20 AM. I grabbed my stove water and my bear canister from its hiding place and made myself breakfast. Today was muesli, coffee and peanut butter and honey. I broke. It was on the trail a little after 7:40 AM.. Today will not be as challenging. as yesterday, FarOut says I only have less than 4000 vertical feet to ascend first over 5000 yesterday.

This is a view on my way up the first climb of the day, Rocky Mountain, I’m getting fairly close to the top.

Today I hiked over three mountains and many substantial hills of 400 feet or more.  No other views though.

Today felt pretty long.  I rested and ate at two different shelters along the way.  It was nearly 6:00 by the time I settled on my tent site.

I am stealth camping at the beginning of the 1.2 mile trail to Whitley Gap Shelter.  There is no good place to put my bear canister because it’s all downhill from here. So for the second time in the entire hike I am leaving it in my tent vestibule,  So far no bear has ever bothered the canister and I hoping that tonight is not the exception!

Springer Mountain will be 1297 miles.  I will camp near the end of the trail Wednesday night and hike the 9 mile approach trail to Amicalola Thursday.

Day 76, June 18, Whitley Gap Trail to Woody Gap (Above the Clouds Hostel)

Hiked today 17.5 today’s ascent 4260 feet total hiked 1277

I just started hiking and this is the first view of the morning at 7:30 AM. It is a little cloudy and humid but the temperature is nice.

These are the views to the southeast near the top of Cowrock Mountain. This was about 1 1/2 miles into my hike.

I stopped at the  Mountain Crossings outfitter/store at Neel‘s Gap and had a whole pizza. I also bought some resupply meals.  Then I arranged a shuttle, a hotel room, and a flight to get home. I’ll be coming out at Amicalola on the afternoon of Thursday, June 20 at about 1:00 PM.

This is a picture taken as I hike up Blood Mountain nearing the top. Blood Mountain is right after Neel‘s Gap.

This is the view looking south southwest from Blood Mountain. This is probably going to be the best view and it is spectacular. This is almost the top.

This is the view from the rocks which are behind the shelter on top of Blood Mountain.

And here’s a picture from those same rocks looking down on the Blood Mountain shelter, which is a substantial stone building.

This spectacular view only a mile from the end of my hike is from the side of a mountain in an area called Big Cedar Ledges.

I arrived at Woody Gap at around 5:30 and called the hostel for a ride of 1.3 miles to the the hostel.  The road is too dangerous to walk!

Lucky, the owner of Above the Clouds, was thrilled when I told him I was a SOBO who had hiked over 1200 miles.  There are 17 people at the hostel today but I’m the only thru hiker.  The rest were section hikers and day hikers.  It was a great group.

Lucky made a huge plate of spaghetti for me and salad for everybody.  It was a great dinner!

Day 77, June 19, Woody Gap to Springer Mountain Shelter

Hiked today 20.3 today’s ascent 4480 feet total hiked 1297

It’s 8:10 in the morning on Wednesday, June 19 and I’m just starting the trail at Woody gap. I had a great stay at Above the Clouds hostel and I really appreciate the owner Lucky, who just dropped me off at Woody Gap.  Today will be my last full day on the trail as I hike to Stover Creek shelter.

This is the first view of the day and it’s beautiful.  This is from near the top of Ramrock Mountain at 8:45 AM looking south. You can see all the low mountains spread out in front of you and higher mountains far off in the distance.

It’s a perfect day for hiking with temperatures in the low 70s and strong breezes.

This is another view off Ramrock Mountain, this time the trail wound around to face some closer ridges. It’s still looking south though.

Here’s a typical stream crossing on the Appalachian Trail.  The AT is such a great trail!

This is called Long Creek Falls. It’s not super spectacular, but it is very pretty.

I originally planned to hike 17.7 miles and stay at the Stover Creek shelter, but I felt great when I got to the Stover Creek and decided to continue on to the Spring Mountain shelter 2.6 miles further on.

I arrived at the Spring Mountain shelter around 6:50 PM. There are lots of gnats, biting and swarming. I quickly set up my tent, fetched and filtered water, then made dinner. The gnats bit me many times while I was eating and now my arms are bumpy and itchy.

Tomorrow I only have 0.2 miles left of the Appalachian Trail and then I hike 8.8 miles on the Amicalola approach trail. I should be out at the Amicalola Visitor Center by about 11:30 AM but my shuttle driver is scheduled to come at 1:30 PM. I’ve asked him to come early, but he said he’s pretty booked and may not be able to come very early.

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