We stopped at Neel Gap, which has an outfitter called Mountain Crossings. I needed to pick up my first mail drop there and I also needed to find out what I could do about my broken tent pole. I would be held up several days if I had to wait for my tent manufacturer to send a new pole. I decided to get a new tent. This is the second time my tent pole has broken. I ended up with a Nemo Hornet. It’s comparable to my Copper Spur 2, though a little smaller. I’m thinking this is a good thing in that it will help hold in my heat on cold nights.
The picture above is our cabin we stayed in at Neel Gap. We stayed at Blood Mountain Cabins, and split the cost 4 ways. Our cabin was named’ ‘Squirrel’.We were stinky, tired, and needed a shower and to do laundry. Since we arrived on a Sunday, the store was closed, and our key was left in an envelope. This also meant the that they would not do our laundry until the next day at 9:00. This meant that we would not even be able to leave the next day until around 11:00 a.m.
We had heard it was supposed to snow on Tuesday night, so we made tentative plans to get another cabin down the way.
I have been hanging with some girls who are all in their 20’s: Hannah, Anna and Bear Box (who got her trail name because she had been using a bulky bear canister.) I had heard that they were going to get a cabin, so I asked them if I could share their cabin. Most hikers like to do this because it reduces the cost of the stay.
When we left the cabin that morning it was cold and rainy. Later, it was windy, too. We had planned to hike to Hogpen Gap. We knew it was supposed to be bad weather that night. As we passed people, we began to hear through the hiker grapevine that there were tornado warnings with hail and wind warnings. We began to get a little worried.
We had planned to stay at a cabin the following night due to snow in the forecast. When we made it to our campsite, it was misty and we were all cold. While we were setting up our tents, a guy came up and introduced himself as Wok Man. He said he had trail magic in the parking lot. It didn’t sound right to me. The other girls left and I sat on a log, cooked my dinner and then got in my tent. The girls came back later saying that Wok Man (he was there with his wife and kids) were giving them dire warnings about the weather and that they had a shed we could sleep in. Im use to the kindness of strangers on the trail, but it seemed odd to me that he would be doing trail magic on such a cold, windy, foggy, rainy day and be out there with his wife and kids. I would later learn that he thru hiked in 2016.
The girls also said they were also considering seeing if the Cabins we had reserved would come get us early. I told them I was not going to stay in a shed and get in a car with people I didn’t know, but that I would go to the cabin if we could get in. Thankfully the cabin owners said they could come get us in 20 minutes, so we took down our tents and packed up as fast as we could. I was shivering by the time our ride arrived and very grateful we were getting out of there.
Later that night, a hiker named Mousy (who had a car-long story) arrived and stayed with us. Anna spilled soup on the couch and I told her she could either take the name ‘Soup Spot’ or ‘Couch Killer’. So Anna is now Soup Spot.
As I heard the wind and rain later that night, I was grateful we were in a warm and dry cabin!
We went to breakfast the next morning since Mousy had a car. It was awesome!
I ate the whole thing!
I was able to get a knee brace for my knee at the drug store. It was 75% off so I got it for $3.25. I also found a Mylar blanket.
We are planning to head back to the trail tomorrow. It is currently sunny and mild, but is supposed to start snowing late tonight, and might be snowing when we leave tomorrow morning.
I’m not sure how long I will be with this group. I’m the old lady in the crowd and not sure how they feel about that. It might be my imagination, but I’m picking up vibes. I think they are nice, but I’m thinking they might want to adopt Mousy and give me the boot. I’m just going to go with the flow and see what is around the bend.
So far, I have hiked 38 miles. It seems like I am going slower this time, but I’m trying to hike smarter. I started 2 weeks earlier, so I’m not too worried yet.