*Six Moon Designs would like to note that Adrian's blog was written right before COVID 19 began and is no longer on the trail. We hope this batch of his trail reports helps provide inspiration for a future hike or nostalgia of a previous time on the trail.
Neel Gap to Popular campsite
13 March 2021
Wet, foggy but pleasantly warm.
Thumper once again decided to stay back at Blood Cabins till 11 am but it appears that both Thumper and Whynot did not make it to Low Gap, while I made it to the following campsite with Phoenix and No Worries.
It was a surprisingly sunny and warm day. But there seemed to be plenty of hills to climb all day. However, the climb out of the gaps is always a lot of fun and it is pretty cool to see your group ahead of you and behind you while on switchbacks.
We arrived at Low Gap with over 30 tents scattered all over so after chatting about it, the 3 of us decided to move on to the next campsite which was only 1.4 miles ahead.
Another warm night on the Appalachian Trail. I still can't believe that my socks are drying during the night even in the wet nights.
I noticed some distancing between myself and Phoenix/No Worries so I hope that my mental illness did not do anything to start this distancing.
Popular Campsite to Cheese Factory
14 March 2021
Cool morning with light showers with a great sunny afternoon.
A tad cooler to start but it was an incredible warm hike to Blue Mountain Shelter and eventually the Cheese Factory...
Big climb today was hiking towards Blue Mountain Shelter. There were plenty of challenging rocks on the climb towards it.
Now waiting for Thumper but rumor has it that he might have arrived at Low Gap last night.
I had a very sad goodbye to Phoenix today as she wanted to go solo like the other girls but at least I gave her an incredible 6 days to get used to the AT. She also told me that we were putting too much pressure on her to reach our goals. My final comments to her were to be strong, stay on the AT and get to Katahdin.
The highlight of the day was meeting Pappy again. He even remembered me from my 2018 hike and that says something about my charisma eh?
Eventually, I see some members of my bubble start to show up at Blue Mountain Shelter.
3 hours later as my camp was set up, Thumper and Whynot showed up and the told me they wanted to go to the Cheese Factory campsite because the shelter was starting to look like a zoo again. Sigh...
I found out that those 2 had placed a bet on whether or not I would be waiting on them. WhyNot guessed correctly while to my surprise Thumper thought I wouldn't be waiting for them.
I quickly packed up my gear and we all headed to the Cheese Factory. We arrived to find the campsite basically empty.
As I stated earlier, I guess we were in a very big bubble in 2018 and all campsites seemed full. But so far only strategic shelters were a zoo. While our current 2020 bubble seems to be missing, Thumper thinks most of them got off the trail at Hiawassee.
What a day, a sad goodbye, happy reunion, crazy climbing and biggest mileage day to date.
Cheese Factory to Deep Gap Shelter
15 March 2020
Beautiful, Foggy Day.
Well, the fellowship is 3 people now as King Jon and Lady Phoenix left our group yesterday.
So it was back to hiking with Sir Thumper and Squire Whynot again.
After a couple of hours, I took the lead again and raced to the Dick Creek Shelter.
The tough climb today was Kelly Knob and it wasn't as bad as I thought it was 2 years ago. When I arrived at the shelter, I noticed a different vibe from 2 years ago with a fun family atmosphere vibe compared to an all-male environment vibe.
Thumper was still wondering where on earth did our bubble get too? And this would be our main topic of conversation until the end of our hike.
It was another very beautiful foggy day that gave the forest a sensational mystical beauty.
I am still sad that our fellowship broke up as I loved the medium group feeling compared to the solo feeling.
Dick Creek Shelter to Dick Creek Gap
16 March 2020
Yet another beautiful, foggy day.
We were able to stay at a Bed and Breakfast that even let us borrow a car!
Now it was time to get laundry done, clean ourselves up and dry our gear.
We had early supper at Kountry Kitchen which had an all you can eat buffet and it was simply amazing. I think I gobbled down 14 pieces of fried chicken and 3 large pops. All the tables were placed in a social distancing manner too.
This was the first time that we have noticed a change in the world because of the virus, while out on the trail.
Sadly we would have to return to the trail tomorrow.
We also chatted with some hikers staying at the budget inn and after those horror stories, my group was very happy with our choice to stay at the Bed and Breakfast.
During our supper at Kountry Kitchen, we celebrated completing the second section on the AT from Neel Gap to Hiawassee.