Day 2 woke us up with a beautiful sunrise. The air, cool and brisk, almost like a fall morning. I began breaking down camp while Zach made breakfast. I chose to skip the most important meal of the day. Don’t worry, my body was sure to remind me of that just a couple hours later.
We were aiming for Gooch Mountain shelter; the shelter being just about 7 miles up the trail. We tossed the idea around of making our 7 miler into a 12.5 mile day in order to make the third day shorter. Those 7 miles kicked our butts. We didn’t end up making it to the shelter until about 3 pm. Zach and I are two determined peeps so we decided to rest for a half hour at the shelter before heading out to attempt the next 5 miles.
Five hours later, after many ups and downs we made it to Woody Gap! We were blessed along the way with some trail magic from Mr. Ron. Never have we appreciated lollipops more!
Dinner that night was served with a side of Heather losing her guts. We probably pushed ourselves a little too much on day 2, but at least day 3 went from being a 16 mile day to a 11 mile day.
The next morning we woke up feeling much better than the night before. Our destination: Neel’s Gap. First, we had to conquer Blood Mountain.
The first 4 miles flew by us. Perhaps we were finally getting our trail legs?! We stopped by Lance Creek to refill our water bottles; later would we find out that the Norovirus was going around due to someone not adhering to a very important Leave No Trace principle…I’ll leave it at that. Thankfully, our filter came through and we were never affected by it.
We linked up with another couple and their two dobermans who we eventually dubbed as the dober-duo. The pups were brother and sister, and they acted like this trail was a piece of cake.
Then we started our ascent up Blood Mountain. Zach has this thing about saying, “We’re almost to the top,” when in fact we are NOT almost to the top. He does it to keep the mood up, or it may be because he’s over a foot taller than me and can actually see the top. When we did in fact make it to the top, we dropped our packs by the shelter and collapsed down beside it embracing the cold stone on our backs.
Everything that goes up, must come down. Let me say that coming down Blood Mountain was more difficult than the climb up. We were climbing down rocks, sitting and scooting down more rocks, and being thrown down the trail of… more rocks! Seeing the sign for Neel’s Gap felt like we were seeing the pearly gates.
We made it just in time to pick up our resupply box from the store as well as get a few treats with the gift card his mom gave us. We were happy to learn that the gift card would have been good for the hostel and showers, but the day we were there the hostel was closed due to the virus. So we embraced our stink and set up camp out back which ended up being a great night with a few thru-hikers. Just a tip, if you’re ever feeling down just grab a bottle of Body Glide and read the label (you won’t regret it lol).
It was this evening that Zach found out he PASSED the most important exam in his engineering career on his first time taking it! I’m so proud of him!!!
Our tent being set up on a slant we turned in for what would be an interesting night.
Zach & Heather