Posted by: pjbarr | March 26, 2010

Everything Else is Gravy

Start: Neels Gap
Finish: Low Gap Shelter
Distance: 10.8 mi.
Trip Distance: 41.5 mi.
Side Trips: None
Side Trip Miles: 0.0 mi.
State: Georgia
Highlights: Blackberry Gravy Biscuits, Getting My Legs Back

“I quote others only to better express myself” -Michel de Montaigne, Renaissance Scholar

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Mountain Crossings

Perhaps to the delight of my beautiful transcriber, and maybe even those, if any who read this journal, this entry should be shorter in duration than the previous days.

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Blackberry Desert Gravy!?!

I departed Mountain Crossings late – about 9:30am – after staying for Miss Janet’s glorious breakfast of biscuits and gravy, pesto scrambled eggs, and the highlight of my day, dessert biscuits with purple blackberry gravy. It was fantastic! I hugged Miss Janet before leaving and she so thoughtfully reminded me to add her on Facebook and that she looks forward to getting a copy of my book.

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Another Neels Gap Plaque

I walked through the stone breezeway in under which the AT passes through the Walasiyi Inn. While the trail has been rerouted so many times elsewhere, through this particular hallway it has remained constant since 1937. Earl Shaffer and all others have walked through it and over the same laid stone. It was a special passage for me.

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Passing through the Walasi-Yi Inn

I got my trail legs back today. I walked through a cloud the whole day. The thick fog and mist was serene and eerie at the same time. It is this type of day I am chasing the ghost of former AT hikers and feel they are always just up the trail ahead of me.

While I was disappointed to miss the views from Cowrock Mountain, I am fortunate it is only the first I have missed. I was treated to luck with views from each Springer, Big Cedar, and Blood Mountain.

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Carlos Imitating the Hiker Sign Quite Well

Back to the return of my old hiking form. With no views and driven to beat the literal dozens of hikers all coming for Low Gap Shelter and seeking a lean-to spot for the night, I pushed myself. My legs and lungs responded. I hiked the nearly 11 miles in under 4.5 hours passing everyone minus one early departer. My friends began to think I was sandbagging them earlier in the week.

I reached the shelter at about 2:00pm. It was just above freezing and I huddled in my sleeping bag for a two hour nap. Lots of the usual suspects here tonight – our crew, including Carlos, 3Bears, Eric, Jack, Superman and Cope. Even The Professor and Max Factor pulled in late much to our delight.

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Carlos, 3Bears, Eric, & Me at Low Gap Shelter

I needed today. It let me know I still have it and all my years of hiking experience still count when I need them most. I am stronger than most hikers out here after all. I’ll need more strength tomorrow. I hope to make it 15 miles to Tray Mountain with two difficult off-trail side trips tomorrow.


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