Neels Gap to Dick’s Creek

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This was the last section I needed to catch up with Frank. So I began spur of the moment on Friday at mountain crossings where I left last year. The weather portended beautiful skies for about 4 days. For memorial Day weekend I couldn’t have asked for a better temperatures.
I stopped at hostel around the bend and caught a shuttle to mountain crossings. Fortuitously I could spend $60 to get that 40 minute ride. At mountain crossings I began my Ascent up to Whitley Gap shelter. It was 7 miles but the shelter was 1.2 mi off trail. After getting set up I was met that night by AJ Sisson. AJ was en route to the Smokies and decided to join me for the evening. I welcome his company there in the spot that was filling.
We said our goodbyes the next morning and sent it back down the trail . I had 13 miles ahead of me.
as far as the Appalachian trail goes you won’t find any better section of cruisier miles than this. I did 13 that day and it just felt like seven. People warned me about the ups and downs of this section, but I didn’t find it that way. I pulled up at Blue mountain shelter and ran into some very fine folks. We prepared for what appeared to be a night of rain. And at 10:00 the rain did start and rain through until about 7:00 in the morning. It was a light rain so no big deal. It did serve to drop the temperatures for my next short day which was only 8 mi over to Tray mountain. This section was a bit more typical.
As you can see by the elevation profile. I made it a shorter day because there wasn’t really a place for me to pull up. There, at Tray mountain, I ran into my friend Toni from Blue mountain. She was slack packing up the hill with her friend. The view atop this ridge was breathtaking.
my new friend Adam did this with Peak finder.
we were in the shadow of Currahee. I kept wondering about that little hump on the horizon. The temperatures have dropped considerably as the wind picked up. I settled into a great tent spot on top of the hill away from the shelter. Having retired early I was awakened at 2:00 a.m. to the sound of rocks banging together. It was my neighbors down past the shelter who were trying to scare away a bear. I also heard the sound of a motorcycle coming up the trail in this remote section of wilderness. I’d seen a motorcycle down at the forest service road as I was ascending. I suppose he thought the middle of the night was a good time to poach a trail. I’m getting pretty tired of motorcycles ruining my wilderness experience. As an avid motorcyclist myself I resent the noise the Harleys and off-road bikes make. There is no excuse for this. Modified vehicle noise is so preventable but yet no one wants to enforce that. It’s getting to be that you can go nowhere in wilderness without hearing the sound of a Harley. But I digress.
I managed to hit the trail at 8:30 a.m. because I misfigured my mileage for the day. Looking to see if I had 11 mi back to my car at Dick’s Creek Gap or actually the hostel around the bend. Actually it turned out to be 13. It was so cool in the morning that I spooked a bear on the trail. Other than that I saw almost no wildlife. That is if you don’t count a snake and a salamander. Monday’s walk out was divine.
took lunch here at the shelter. It was 3/10 of a mile off trail but I had to go down there and get water. Water was so plentiful on this section that you needn’t worry about it at all. You can see the elevation profile here lots of ups and downs.

So I’m very pleased to be caught up with Frank and reaching the 700 mile marker on the Appalachian trail. This is such an enjoyable section it ranks up there as one of my favorite. I don’t think you’ll ever get a memorial Day weekend with cool temperatures down in Georgia like that. In total I completed 40 miles. My total is ascent was $11,840 ft, my total decent was 12,300 ft.

An excellent weekend.