Mile 0.0 – Mile 31.7
First off, I do realize mile 2.7 isn’t impressive at all. BUT – Jess and I actually hiked 11.5 the first day and almost all of it was uphill. We started at the approach trail climbed 606 stairs to the top of the falls, continued up to Springer Mountain, took a break at Springer Mountain Shelter, and set up camp just a tenth of a mile away from Stover Creek Shelter. The creek is 10 paces away from my tent right now. A pretty prime spot completely surrounded by rhododendron.
Today I heard an owl, saw my first white blaze, encountered several butterflies, signed in my first trail log, met some new people, walked over and on beautiful glistening rocks constantly which I’m pretty positive was mica and made the approach trail feel like a magical sparkly road, and the weather couldn’t have been better. Pretty solid first day.
I wasnt as sore as I’d thought I would be. Summited 3 mountains today. I learned that it’s hard going up but harder going down.
Today I heard AND I saw an owl. It was beautiful.
We’re tenting at Gooch Mt Shelter with about 25 others. Jess and I made beans and rice for dinner. It was satisfying.
Another 2 mountains down. Big Cedar Mountain had a pretty great view. I felt that the climb paid off.
Something today that I thought was pretty cool – I have been missing a tent stake since day 1. Today while we were setting up my tent on a ridge, I knocked a couple leaves over and there was a single tent stake. I know it’s a cheesy and maybe overused saying “the trail provides” but I mean , it was pretty great.
Tomorrow is Jess’s last day with me. We’ll be summiting Blood Mountain which will be a good one. A good sweaty tough one. It’ll be about a 5 mile 1500 foot climb from Lance Creek (where we are now) and a mile and a half down to Neel Gap.
I guess norovirus has been going around from Lance Creek to Neel Gap. Norovirus is a nasty stomach bug that I’d care not to have. We ended up getting the news a few miles back and filled up every water bottle and water bladder we had. Carrying the extra weight sucked but I’d do that over liquid poops and yacking for 3 days straight.
I’m glad we took an easier day today. The sun was beating down hard all day and Jess’s blisters are seriously scary looking.
Made it up Blood Mountain and to Neel Gap. We got an earlier start today since I knew it might be nice to relax this afternoon and evening. I honestly was surprised the climb wasn’t as hard as I thought. I either psyched myself out by the look of the elevation climb in my guide book or maybe I’m in a little better shape. Either way, the view was so pretty.
Jess and I are finally showering and going to grab a beer before she heads out. So glad she’s been with me these first 4 days. A pretty great bud.
Oh, and I’m doing some laundry. I smell…not all that great.
Random thought – I have heard people say Neel Gap and Neels Gap. But which one is correct? The sign at Mountain Crossings says Neel.
End of Day 4.
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