Made it to Neels Gap

Today was another slog in wet shoes through tons of mud. I started out at Lance Creek, just outside the bear canister zone. It took a lot of heart to put the wet clothes back on, but it had to be done.

The fog was very heavy all day. As I was headed out of camp I saw “Captain Lego” (if he is still going by that). I met him at Hiker Hostel the first night and he had a nice headstart since he didn’t do the approach. Its good to know I’m making decent time. I also met “Easy Strider”.

Later in the day I stopped at Woods Hole shelter. Why on earth is that so far off the trail!? AWOL’s guide says 0.2 miles, but I’m calling nonsense. It was surely farther than that. Once finally there I tried in vain to dry my stuff. The humidity made it impossible. Robert hiked in and another guy did too. Coming back up I met “Fireweed”, a PCT thru, and saw Melissa and “Blue Butterfly”. Melissa told me she was out for a really long section to around Roanoke.

I made it up Blood Mtn and found “Rock Ocean” again. He was eating with “Bullet”. I saw them again at the bottom in Neels Gap. It wasn’t a big mileage day, but I’m excited for my first night inside!

I got a bunk at the hostel, resupplied my food and got a frozen pizza. Baltimore Jack, multiple thru – hiker and general trail celebrity, was hanging around all evening. I also met a triple-crowner who is doing his second AT hike. He was fun to chat with. A Baptist church group also brought in pans full of lasagna, salad, rolls and drinks. They said they come out once a year. I heard they were also at Unicoi Gap with hotdogs for lunch. They were quite a nice bunch.

Tonight I also got my first shower in days. It felt far better than I anticipated, given how comfortable I still felt. Surprisingly I didn’t smell that bad. I think getting the merino wool shirt was a big help with that. My feet however are still disgusting looking and are getting calluses. Using a beeswax balm helps immensely after being mascerated (pruny from being wet).

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