I finally made some decent mileage on the AT today. I’m at Cooper Gap for a trail mile of 12.3. Since I started at 0.2, it gives me 12.1 for today. My first 10 miler on this trip. Originally I wanted to hit Gooch gap, but Sassafras Mtn kicked my butt.
I was going to push on until a water source but famous trail angel “Miss Janet” was in the area. I’m pretty sure she left the big cache of water here. There is a decent stretch without water. She stopped by and handed me a Mello Yellow. It was much appreciated.
Hiking during the day I met some more new people. One was an ex-marine carrying an 80 lbs pack. Apparently he ditched a bunch along the trail today. Four girls from Dartmouth were out doing the GA section. They stopped at Hawk’s Mtn shelter with a several others I knew and a few new faces. I had fun chatting everyone there up during the early afternoon when I took a break.
Just before the shelter I was a bit worried. I could smell smoke and ash was raining down. Turns out there was a prescribed burn. I met the fire crew when I got to the bottom at Hightower Gap. The next stretch was a big climb. I was looking over my guide and decided I had just passed Justus Mtn and was almost to Gooch Gap. My heart sank when I saw the sign for Horse Gap, 3 miles shy of where I thought I was. I suppose I’ll learn a mile before long, but that crushed my spirits.
My plan is to stop before Jarrard Gap and the bear canister area tomorrow. That will give me an easy day getting in to Neels for my first resupply, a burger, and a bed if still available.