Sunday, April 24, 2016

Day 3: Neel's Gap

4/22: Priest Rock - Tesnatee Gap
Miles: 22.1 - 37.7 (15.6 miles)

The rain was still pattering away but much lighter and thankfully the giant puddles hadn't seeped into the tent. Slacking just a bit we finally packed up the tent protected by umbrellas in a sea of fog and drizzle. More misty than full on rain we passed people huddled in tents and a scarce few out hiking.

As we climbed up the much hyped Blood Mountain the rain came down in a full on downpour. The climb wasn't bad at all, more entertaining was the constant rotation of my umbrella as I climbed switchbacks, that rain was determined to come at me sideways.

The views from blood mountain...

We chatted with another hiker at the shelter on top then down to Neels Gap. A rocky descent with the trail a bit of a creek, but not slick like I was worried it would be. Then it was a nice break at Mountain Crossings, a full on gear store that the trail physically walks through.

The trail goes right through the corridor

Shoe tree, people who quit or just change their shoes?

I try to be social but there's one guy over talking everyone and other than allowing me to say hi I'm quickly shut down. Having absolutely no desire for that type of conversation I'm happy enough avoiding his entourage. One of folks we knew on the CDT works at Neels Gap, bummer for us he's not working but it's fun to talk to the former thruhikers working there and we score a hot shower.

Instead of people I spend my time with a resident cat

Isn't he (or she?) handsome

We dry our gear a bit, cobble a little extra food together and we're back on trail a few hours later.

Leaving we find more and more views. A few spots of rain and looming clouds threaten. There aren't great camping options so we push on. Tonight we aren't as lucky as the night before, by the time we got to Testanee Gap its pouring. We scramble across the road and find a shelter hidden spot and get the tent up. Thunder and flashes of lightning lull us to sleep.

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