Day 5: March 28, 2017
Mile 26.4 to 35.7
8:50am to 5:45pm
We made it up and over Blood Mountain today then down into Neel Gap. Most hikers cringe at this climb. It stands at 4457 feet elevation but isn't all that difficult to climb. When you are used to hiking in Maine this was a piece of cake but I will admit the decent was a little tough on the knees.
Neel Gap is the first milestone for northbound hikers. It's here that many decide trail life is not for them and they head home. Others seek the advice of the professionals at the Mountain Crossing Outfitter for a pack shakedown. They learn what gear is needed and what they can shed. Still others, like Shortcake and I merely stop for a rest and resupply by Batman who drove over to meet us then continue on.
We hung out on the outfitter grounds airy our soggy gear from the previous night's thunderstorm. We were not the only hikers taking advantage of the hot Georgia sun. The establishment was littered with hikers and gear basking in the warmth.
Two and a half hours later we followed the white blazes through the building and up the trail joined by Batman for awhile.