April 1, 2017
I dreamt of bears last night. Three cubs and a mama split on both sides of the trail! Scary! I woke up around 6:30 and tried to very quietly start packing up. I hit the trail around 8 for a chilly start.
I was treated to a steep hike with a nice overlook where I stopped for a picture and a snack. I tend to eat constantly while hiking and have plenty of jerky and peanut butter. A hiker I met named Dustbuster passed me; then I passed her; then she passed me…
At one of my snack breaks, a hiker caught up to me and we talked for a bit. We set out at the same pace and hiked and talked until I stopped for lunch. I decided to lounge for a minute and just soaked in the nature around me. After a couple of hours I finally caught up to Alex (the hiker from before) and met Snowbird as well. Both hike about the same pace as me so we stuck together until Blood Mountain.
Blood Mountain was full of day and weekend hikers and the sky was hot and hazy. I was very unsure about the amount of water I had left and was anxious to get to Neel Gap for filtered water and maybe some snacks! There were some good sights on the way down but I was happy to see the road and cars parked at the store.
I bought a couple of candy bars and then was given a third. This made me so happy that I signed the trail log and hiked on without my stick. Second time thus far. After going back for it, I hiked the last 1.1 miles to Bull Gap. There, I met Terry, who is thru-hikers for the second time, and Bill, a week-long section hiker. Dustbuster arrived next followed soon after by Alex and Snowbird!
We all had our tents in the same section with a fire burning to eat and talk around. There are just as many people camped here as there were at Gooch, but we’re spread out so far that it doesn’t seem crowded. It’s pleasant. Tomorrow, I’ll hike almost 18 miles to get to another shelter. Three more days until I’m in Hiawasee for a small resupply and maybe a burger. And WiFi so I can get my pictures uploaded.