After a couple of tough climbs over Sassafras and Justus mountains, we got to Woody Gap Shelter, and it was a zoo. Not a camping spot available. We hiked on and found a nice spot with an established fire ring just a bit beyond. Enjoyed dinner and a nip around campfire.
The next morning we all filtered out, made our way down to Gooch Gap for water and breakfast.
It was a relatively easy day. One tough climb, then a long, easy downhill run to our campsite. I felt like I found my legs, and stepped out.
It started to rain. I stopped, put on my rain gear, started hiking uphill, and started to sweat. I figured I'd rather be wet from rainwater than sweat, so I took it off and was perfectly comfortable hiking whilst soaking wet.
While watching for any shivering...
We stayed at Lance Creek, a campsite just outside a "temporary" area in which campers need bear vaults for their food. For that reason it was a popular stop. The weather cleared, and we enjoyed another campfire and watching each other hang bear bags. We calculated that we had completed 1% of the trail.
Woo hoo ...
It poured overnight, accompanied by thunder and lightning. We all got up, put on our wet clothes, packed our wet tents and set out to summit Blood Mountain in the rain.
And we liked it that way!
Seems everyone stopped at the infamous shelter at the top for lunch and to dry out a bit. We were looking for a nice downhill run to Neel's Gap, where cabins with hot showers and pizza awaited us. Instead, we picked our way across slippery rock fields and down steep rocky trails. Our knees were complaining as we made our way to Blood Mountain Cabins to dry out.
Four days from Springer, five from Amicalola. There were a few who did it in two. But we were generally moving with the majority, and seeing the same folks each night ... Slowly breaking ourselves in as planned.
And we all learned what was waterproof, and what was water-resistant...