Hey everyone! Breeze here.
As of right now, I am sitting comfortably in a dry, warm, four walled structure. I have a full stomach, laundered, dry clothes, and a comfy bed at my disposal. I am surrounded by 16 awesome thru hikers that carry on very entertaining conversation. To say that I am on cloud 9 would be the understatement of the century. It has truly been an awesome day. 24 hours ago, all of this was not the case. Quite the opposite in fact.
24 hours ago, Windy and I were hiding in our tents, trying to keep dry and warm from the thunderstorm that was all around us. Despite the miserable weather, I was able to sleep pretty soundly. This was mostly due to my awesome equipment, and the fact that hiking 12 miles up mountains in the freezing rain can take a lot out of you. Soon however, mother natured once again smiled down upon us and greeted with a cloudless, sunny day. That mother nature is a fickle mistress. Since windy and I had already planned on taking a short 7.5 mile day into neels gap, we decided to enjoy the beautiful morning in camp. As we cooked and cleaned up, we set all our rain gear in the sun so that it could dry before we packed it away. We ended up breaking camp around 11:30. Once we broke camp we had a really nice climb over blood mountain. I've been up to Blood a few times before, but the sights up there never fail to take my breath away. I took a ton of pictures and had a nice lunch up on the rocks while I soaked in the incredible view.
From the top of Blood, it was a quick, easy 3 mile downhill hike into Neels Gap. Neels Gap is home to Mountain Crossing Outfitter. Mountain Crossing has just about everything a thru hiker would want, such as hiker food, replacement gear, and even a hostel. With the weather turning for the worse, and the call of the showers, windy and I decided it was a good place to stop. A local church came by and dropped off several large pans of lasagna, a huge bowl of salad, and more brownies then even we could it. It was delicious and the best part was they did it all at no charge to us. They are wonderful people.
The hostel has a very unique vibe to it. Everyone is a thru hiker. Being in the bunk house reminds me of going to summer camp as a kid. Everyone is laughing, talking, and having a great time. Mostly everyone is excited just to be inside. Its funny how quickly everyone is bonding. I guess the AT just naturally brings people together. We are starting to run into the same thru hikers more and more, so it seems we may have a group on our hands before too long. I will keep you posted :)
Until next time!!